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Don Glut's Encyclopedia



I got home from military duty Saturday night to find a nice
surprise, Don Glut's DINOSAURS: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA.
It was a double surprise because last I heard it was
coming out in September and secondly because it was a
free review copy. (I vaguely remember starting DINOSAUR
DISCOVERIES newsletter to scarf up on free books.)

THE GOOD PARTS: This is, in many ways, the book to replace
"The Dinosauria" (which is sadly out of date). There are scads
of beautiful illustrations, and the information is vastly
more detailed than the DINOSAUR SOCIETY DINOSAUR ENCYCLOPEDIA.
While the price ($145) means this won't get into the hands
of very many non-professionals (who will find the colorful $30
encyclopedias more readable and more attractive if half the size)
it is in many ways the book all of you pros have been looking for.

THE UGLY PARTS: This criticisms apply to most dinosaur books,
some of them to most recent science books of any type.
1. The wide outside margins are just plain dumb, wasting
space and making the book more expensive. If publishers insist
on this silliness then put the wide margin on the INSIDE
edge (at the binding) so you can read the book more easily.
2. He covers only dinosaurs. It wouldn't have taking much
work to cover 100 or so genera of marine reptiles and pterosaurs.
3. He arbitrarily excluded Archaeopteryx and Mononykus as "birds"
but then went on to note that "birds are dinosaurs".

THE BAD PARTS: Some of this stuff is really out of date.
Dravidosaurus got me roasted over the coals a year ago when I
mentioned this pygmy Indian late-cretaceous stegosaur and got
told it had been found to be a plesiosaur, but Dravidosaurus is
now a stegosaur again. Shuvosaurus is pretty much accepted as not
just a dinosaur but an ornithomimid; the contrary view gets one
sentence and I could not find the word "raurisuchian" in the article.
There is no color, not even a small section of color plates.
Worst complaint: The "diagnosis" parts are VERY thick paleontological
science, virtually unreadable to anyone without a bachelors in
paleontology or biology. This book could have been a nice present
to a favorite niece or nephew, but not the way the diagnoses were
written. He could have done what DINOSAUR DISCOVERIES does and
put the ENGLISH version of the technical terms in square brackets
after the secret code phrases, but chose not to.

BOTTOM LINE: For professional scientists this is the best book available,
even if parts of it started out obsolete. For general readers, this
book is a lot less than it could have been.

AND I WON'T EVEN MENTION that if it had been done loose leaf
(or with the stupid wide margins on the inside edges so I could
have made it loose leaf myself) it would have been vastly superior
to any book ever done as it could be updated.