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Re: The Last Dinosaur Book



In a message dated 4/28/99 11:47:00 PM EST, wjtm@midway.uchicago.edu writes:

<< I'm delighted, first of all, that
 dinophiles and dinoscientists are reading "The Last Dinosaur Book."  I can
 understand very well why some people are irritated by it.  I have come into
 the field of dinosaur research as an outsider, and I freely admit that I
 have no credentials as a dinosaur scientist. >>
 
I've read some of the book but haven't had the time to finish it. It is 
surely fun to read, but I haven't yet been able to determine whether what I 
am reading is worthwhile or nonsense. Perhaps I'll have a clearer picture 
once I finish the book, whenever that may be. (At least, I actually bought 
the book(!) and thereby contributed a bit to the author's royalty, instead of 
borrowing it from the public library.)

Meanwhile, I'm just a bit dismayed that little, nitpicky factual errors are 
fairly abundant. E.g., on p. 19: "..._Seismosaurus_, the biggest dinosaur in 
the world, of which only a few tail bones have been found..." and 
"...California...displays [dinosaurs] 'in response to public demand' at the 
La Brea tar pits...". Actually, quite a bit of the skeleton of _Seismosaurus_ 
has been found and was described both in the formal description and in the 
Gillettes' popular books on the dinosaur; the tail bones are just the first 
few bones of the animal that were put on public display in Albuquerque, when 
paleontologists first determined that this was one big dinosaur. And as far 
as I know, there are no dinosaurs on display at the La Brea tar 
pits--certainly nothing dinosaurian of significance (not counting birds, of 
course). Rather, the Page Museum at the La Brea tar pits is a storehouse of 
Pleistocene mammal fossils, representing the kinds of animals that the tar 
pits trapped.