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Re: Dino Book
On Thu, 18 Jul 1996, Janet Benoit wrote:
> The book Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs by David E. Fastovsky
> and David B Weishampel. Are the theories given in this book generally
> accepted? Does anyone know of the credential of the authors? Being new
> at this I would like generally accepted information instead of off the
> wall theories. TIA. 8-)
> Janet Benoit
Dr. Tom Holtz, at a conference in Baltimore, called this the best
textbook on dinosaurs and the first written by a dinosaur paleontologist.
That was recommendation enough for me to buy a copy. Dr. David Fastovsky
teaches at the University of Rhode Island and has done field work in
North America and Asia. Dr. David Weishampel is at Johns Hopkins. He has
appeared numerous times on TV specials (he's the one who
demonstrates what a honking Parasaurolophus would sound like).
What convinced me of the book's value was its approach to explaining
cladistics. The authors use examples of how derived characteristics can
be applied not only to the animal kingdom but to any group, and they use
motor vehicles as an example. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles are all motor
vehicles, but cars and trucks have some characteristics (four wheels; a
chassis that pretty much surrounds the operator) that motorcycles don't have.
It is intended as a college text, with a much higher ratio of words to
pictures than "popular" books on dinosaurs. The illustrations are
primarily black and white. although there is a section of color plate
restorations, all by Brian Regal.
Prior to the publication of this book, the best college text available
was Spencer Lucas's. Curiously, a couple of years ago on the dinosaur
list, there was a big discussion about the merits of Lucas's book (a text
book) compared to _The Dinosauria_ (Weishampel, Dodson and Osmolska, editors)
which is more a collection of essays for the professional than a text for
introducing dinosaurs on a college level. There has, surprisingly, not
been much discussion about the Fastovsky/Weishampel text. Maybe your
question will start a thread.
And while we're on the subject of books... there's a new series of trade
books coming out with Dr. David Norman as the consultant. The series
title is "The New Dinosaur Collection" from Gareth Stevens. I had a good
luck at one called _Looking at Oviraptor--a Dinosaur from the Cretaceous
Period_. Text is by Tamara Green with illustrations by Tony Gibbons. The
text even discusses the latest findings that Oviraptor may not have been
an egg stealer after all. The illustrations are full-color and the best
of any dinosaur series. Aimed at the elementary school level.
I remember, too, that another company is supposed to be coming out with
some new books for children with Donna Braginetz as one of the
illustrators. I think that series will be devoted to dinosaur groups
rather than individual dinosaurs. It was reported in _The Dino Times_ a
few issues back. Does anyone have any information about that series?
----- Amado Narvaez