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new dinosaur textbook
I received this new textbook about a week ago, but since nobody reported it
to the DML, I'd like to give some comments on;
Introduction to the Study of Dinosaurs
by Anthony J. Martin
published July 2001
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Definition of a Dinosaur
Overview of Scientific Methods
Paleontology and Geology as Sciences
Importance of Knowing the History of Dinosaur Studies
Dinosaur Bones: Their Formation, Name and Features
Basic Concepts in Dinosaur Taphonomy
Basic Information about Dinosaur Tracks
Basic Information about Dinosaur Eggs and Nests
Dinosaur Feeding Habits
Introduction to Dinosaur Evolution
Overview of the Clade Theropoda
Overview of the Clade Sauropodomorpha
Overview of the Clade Ornithopoda
Overview of the Clade Thyreophora
Overview of the Clade Marginocephalia
Dinosaurs, Birds and Extinctions
more information can be found at
The website even gives you free access to 3 sample chapters (Definition of a
Dinosaur, Basic Concepts in Dinosaur Taphonomy, Dinosaurs Birds and
Extinctions) and a useful glossary (pdf format) for a total 100 free pages !
Dozens of images (jpg format) are also available !
The webpage "for the instructor" lists interesting links that include the
excellent "Dinosaurs: A Natural History" by Thomas Holtz.
Textbooks on the subject of dinosaurs are quite rare, this new publication
is comparable to the popular;
Dinosaurs: The Textbook
by Spencer G. Lucas
Paperback - 304 pages 3rd edition (July 23, 1999)
McGraw-Hill Higher Education; ISBN 0073036420
my impression of "Introduction to the Study of Dinosaurs";
1. Although the complete array of anatomical terms (for all bones found in
dinosaur skeletons) is listed, there are too few illustrations that
visualise these terms.
2. Great to see inclusion of the chapters on tracks and eggs, they provide
an excellent short overview of these unusual fossils and their importance
(although I've already discovered an error; the oogenus Prismatoolithus is
NOT referable to ornithopods, but instead to theropods; this is probably
still based on the initial evaluation of Prismatoolithus levis belonging to
Orodromeus, we now know it belongs to troodontids).
3. The author links the study of dinosaurs to a historical perspective and
other areas of scientific research (incl. geology, evolution, taphonomy,
mathematics, physics ...) which is very clever.
4. As with most other textbooks, the number of photographs included is
limited, but there are some pictures of rare mounted skeletons
(Giganotosaurus, Utahraptor, juvenile Stegosaurus ...).
5. The author clearly supports the use of cladistics and phylogenetic
classification, but the chapter on Theropoda unfortunately doesn't give much
details on the diverse clades of this group of dinosaurs, there is little
information on the different clades within Coelurosauria.
To summarize, this is serious competition for other dinosaur textbooks. I
think that S.G. Lucas' textbook still remains the favourite for classroom
use, but A.J. Martin's book is better suited for the growing number of
people who learn about dinosaurs through self-study.
Gunter Van Acker