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Re: Reference Materials
> I am a science teacher at Erskine Academy in Maine, USA. I am
> currently trying to introduce a new class on dinosaurs. This class will be
> looking at the science (both correct and incorrect) in Jurassic Park. I do
> not have much of a base in this area and I am looking for a possible list of
> books that will introduce the basics of dinosaur biology, extinction,
> evolution, behavior, etc.
> Any sugestions of books, links, publications, etc. would be greatly
The worst thing about JURASSIC PARK's dinosaurs was that the whole
premise of cloning dinosaurs is probably impossible. A small book
called THE SCIENCE OF JURASSIC PARK AND THE LOST WORLD does an excellent
job of explaining why. Many of the other errors in the movie fall under
the heading of "artistic license," although there were a few genuine
boners as well.
For more general, not highly technical looks at dinosaur biology and
evolution, I can think of few better books than Jack Horner's DIGGING
DINOSAURS and DINOSAUR LIVES. Also look for THE HORNED DINOSAURS by
Peter Dodson and THE LITTLE DINOSAURS OF GHOST RANCH by Edwin Colbert.
Robert Bakker's THE DINOSAUR HERESIES is a good read and contains a lot
of useful information on dinosaur ecology, but it's 11 years old and
largely out of date, and it suffers from Bakker's tendency to offer
speculation as fact.
I'd also suggest you get something that can serve as a decent
semi-technical reference -- perhaps THE ULTIMATE DINOSAUR BOOK or THE
ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA OF DINOSAURS. They'll give you solid
information, but won't bury you in jargon. There are two or three
recent textbooks published as master overviews of the Dinosauria, such
as THE EVOLUTION AND EXTINCTION OF DINOSAURS by Fastovsky & Weishampel,
but those are _text_books for the undergrad-college level.