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Re: dinosaur textbook

>>At this time I am not able to make any criticisms about this fine
>>introductory text. Others may of course disagree.
>And indeed do disagree :-)

Thanks for your warning. I have to admit I did not take the time to go over
the book with a fine toothed comb, just areas that related to the dinosaur
digs I run each summer (Morrison stuff). I will be looking forward to your

>I was hoping to stay of of this a bit, since I have an "official" review of
>this textbook (in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology) which should be
>coming out soon.  Nevertheless, I can briefly describe my conclusions:
>The book IS well-structured, and written at an introductory level.  It does
>present (in most cases) both sides of the arguments.   It is fairly
>What it is not, is accurate.  This textbook was in serious need of critical
>fact checking.  It is loaded with incorrect (Ornithomimosauridae, instead
>of Ornithomimosauria or Ornithomimidae) 

>or contraversial (Rioarribasaurus
>for Coelophysis,

so has anything yet been settle with Coelophysis or is it still controversial?

> Ceratopsinae and Pachyrhinosaurinae for Chasmosaurinae and
>Centrosaurinae) names. 

Now that I look I see that he did that. Are these new names or did he just
go of on a tangent with these???

> The maps are inconsistant and inaccurate: on the
>first major map in the book, alledgedly showing the major dinosaur sites of
>the world, there is not a single dot on continental Eurasia! 

That is the one thing I had noticed but forgot about it since I wasn't
working currently in such areas. But that is a big blooper!

> The dinosaur
>bones and skeletons are often inaccurate, traced by an artist apparently
>unfamiliar with dinosaur anatomy.  In one case, the Smithsonian
>Ceratosaurus mount is traced over, the horn erased, and passed off as
>Allosaurus (for those who don't know, Ceratosaurus and Allosaurus are VERY
>differnt theropods).  

Yes now that you mention it and I take some time to look at that drawing it
is indeed a Ceratosaurus when you start to look at it. Does he do that with
any others that I may have missed. I admit I only gave the book a quick
read over and thought it a well-organized book (like you say) and
recommended it as an introductory text.  I liked alot of the general
illustrations for terminology which I felt was the best set of general
illustrations I have seen for indroducing my field course participants to
dinosaur bone terminology. I have not found a better book yet that
illustrates in a moderate level of detail the various major bone names. I
don't always like the illustrations in Dinosauria for example, some are
great, some are pretty sketcky. The ones in this new book at least are good
in that section even if he did make mistakes in the chapters on the various

>It is suggested that the larger of the two morphs of
>theropod species is the male, whereas almost everyone agrees that it is
>probably the female (incidentally, Lucas works mostly on mammals, so that
>might explain this mistake).
>It's not like all of us don't make mistakes.  In fact, I just got a
>manuscript back where I have misplaced some site localities, just as in
>Dinosaurs: The Textbook.  However, I am going to listen to the reviewers
>advice and correct these.  It appears either that this book was not
>critically reviewed, or that revisions were not made after reviews got
>back.  The art is very inconsistant, and its a shame that the book company
>did not get one of the many excellent dino artists who are out there for
>this project.
>So, my recommendations: either buy this book, but take the specifics with a
>grain of salt, or don't buy it, and instead wait for the other couple of
>dino textbooks that are coming out.  

So when and what are the other textbooks comming out. Are they going to be
better to use for introductory courses? I want something that can be
utilized by my field participants to quickly familiarize themselves with
dinosaurs and anotomical terms. Dinosauria might be a good technical
reference but for most of them this is not what they need.

>In point of fact, I do use this book
>as the primary text for my dinosaur course at U Maryland, but I am very
>familiar with the original material.  For those who do not have as much
>exposure to the original sources, this book might propogate some

Thanks for your word of warning, I will have to look this one over
carefully before I consider using it.

  Russ Jacobson                     INTERNET:jacobson@fred.isgs.uiuc.edu
  207 NRB, 615 E Peabody            217-244-2426   Home Phone: 217-384-6983
  Illinois Geological Survey         DINOSAUR RUSS: who lives, eats,
  Champaign, IL 61820                breathes and smells dinosaurs!!!
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