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Re: "Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs" versus "Dinosaurs: The Encyclopedia"



SOMEONE (I really can't tell who anymore...) wrote:
>You should have 5 references:
>
>The Complete Dinosaur
>Dinosaurs: The Encyclopedia
>Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs
>The Dinosauria
>Mesozoic Meanderings

        I have to insist that Gregory Paul's _Predatory Dinosaurs of the
World_ be included on this list. While it is somewhat narrower in scope than
the other volumes, it fills the same role of summarizing vast ammounts of
knowledge in a systematized and readable format.
        Although it is the oldest of these works, it still has value in the
structure it erects through which the neophyte may approach the Theropoda
armed with a good understanding of "the basics". As has been demonstrated
recently on the list, some of the ideas presented in _PDW_, specifically the
taxonomic scheme and some of the phylogenetic theories, have not withstood
the test of time (indeed, few ever do). Anyone wishing to pursue these
concepts really should look into the subject critically, and in a bit more
depth before formulating their own hypotheses. As with all scientific
theories, _caveat emptor_.
        My understanding of this list of books is that it is a way to both
bring everyone up to a common level of understanding and provide some
structure to their future explorations into dinosaur literature. As such,
_PDW_ is a invaluable resource. If nothing else, Paul's "lumper" approach
simplifies the taxonomy to the point where one can appreciate the overall
diversity of the Theropoda without being swamped by nomina nuda, nomina
dubia, and "nomina redundada". You won't put down this book still wondering
what a "_Jenzhishkahn bataar_" is. ;)
        It is also written in a highly readable style, with many
illustrations which translate complex anatomical relationships for the lay
person without resorting to "cartoon" diagrams. Indeed, the many truly
excellent illustrations in the book are probably justification for owning
the book in and of themselves.

NOTE: I am *not* trying to start a big long discussion of which book is
better than what, or which books are spiffy or whatever. Neither do I intend
to get bogged down in a discussion of the relative merits of _PDW_ or
Gregory Paul. It is your right to do so on your own, but I've got work to
do... :) 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock, TX 79409-1053
              "I'm being nibbled to death by cats" - L. Molari