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 JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!

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Sickle_Claw
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 3 Icon_minitimeFri Dec 25, 2020 2:35 pm

Have you read/reviewed this one?

Gorgon: Paleontology, Obsession, and the Greatest Catastrophe in Earth's History by Peter Ward.

I got it as a gift for Christmas but am seeing mixed reviews, with some saying it's more of a 'road trip' book then going into the science. What do you think?

_______________
Read my Story Jurassic Park: Chaos Theory!
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSat Jan 02, 2021 7:10 am

@Sickle_Claw

Sorry, but I've never read that book.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSat Jan 02, 2021 7:10 am

My 71st review for this thread is a positive 1 for Dixon's The Big Book of Dinosaurs: A Natural History of the Prehistoric World. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

Dixon's best dino book ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2PUKOSQNJNGTF/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 5/5

Short version: Dixon's The Big Book of Dinosaurs: A Natural History of the Prehistoric World (henceforth BB) is definitely his best (& maybe only very-good-to-great) dino book. I recommend reading BB in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved).

Long version: Read on.

Based on what I've read, Dixon is a nice guy ( https://matthewbonnan.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/now-the-circle-is-complete-or-a-belated-dinosaur-christmas-gift/ ), but a bad source of dino info. In fact, to quote GSPaul ( http://gspauldino.com/Tertiary.pdf ), "Dixon has a superfi-cial understanding of dinosaur and pterosaur biology, and of their actual evolutionary patterns- i. e. he is not familiar with the technical literature, a necessity since the popular literature re-mains incomplete and sometimes obsolete...In addition, he wants to make archosaurs more mammalian than is appropriate". With that in mind, I was both worried & surprised by BB: Worried that it'd be terrible, that it'd give natural histories of dinos a bad name, & that I'd have to review it as such; Surprised that I didn't know about it sooner, that it's as great as it is, & that it's so underrated. In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think BB is as great as it is.

1) BB is very well-organized: Most natural histories of dinos have a chronological or day-in-the-life format; This makes sense given that they're the easiest & best ways to tell the story of dinos, respectively; However, as far as I know, BB is the only natural history of dinos with an ecological format; After the introductory chapters (which summarize how ecology works & how dinos evolved), BB consists of 12 chapters, each of which focuses on a different trophic group (high browsers, low browsers & grazers, big-game hunters, small-game hunters, egg-eaters, scavengers, fish-eaters, marine reptiles, flying reptiles, birds & mammals) plus unsolved mysteries & the reconstruction process. I especially like how BB's organization reminds me of some natural histories of modern animals (E.g. Attenborough's The Life of Mammals). With that in mind, you'd think it'd be a more common way to put dinos into an evolutionary & ecological context, but I digress.

2) BB was mostly accurate at the time of publication. This is especially apparent in its T.rex-related text: 1st, see the Dixon quote; Then, compare it to the T.rex-related text in "Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Age of Dinosaurs: A Photographic Record" & "Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaurs: Questions & Answers", which are reviews of Dixon dino books published shortly before & after BB, respectively; As you may remember, even some expert-authored books from around the same time got the same info wrong ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1XKIJYJI2F8YU/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ). I say "mostly" because there are a few weird bits in the text (E.g. Ankylosaurus =/= 35 ft), but that's still pretty impressive for a Dixon dino book.

3) BB is very well-illustrated. Remember what I said about Sibbick's When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth work compared to his later work (See reason #1: https://www.amazon.com/review/RJ6H99FGIW6CC/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 )? The same mostly goes for Kirk's BB work compared to his later work. However, Kirk's 1989 work was even more accurate for its time than Sibbick's 1985 work was for its time. Also, while I wouldn't describe the former as gritty, I would describe it as atmospheric, so much so that it reminds me of Douglas Henderson's paleoart. Kirk's Stenonychosaurus is an especially good example of that, partly because it's standing against a beautiful sunset, & partly because it has that look that birds have when they know they're being watched. Kirk's head-butting Pachycephalosaurus are another good example, partly because of how they're colored (I.e. Green & blue like Henderson's Saurolophus), & partly because of how they're wincing from the impact (as opposed to being wide-eyed like other, similar life reconstructions). You can see both dinos in Vincent's BB review ( https://chasmosaurs.com/tag/big-book-of-dinosaurs/ ). 1 more thing of note: As mentioned by Vincent, Kirk's life reconstructions are "nicely complimented by [David Nicholls'] pretty modern-looking" skeletal reconstructions.

Quoting Dixon:
Quote :
The accolade of the biggest and most ferocious hunter that ever lived has always been given to the enormous tyrannosaurid Tyrannosaurus. Some 40 feet...long it was, towering almost 20 feet...high and weighing 7 tons. The skull was 4 feet...long and bore teeth like steak knives. The bones of the skull were quite loosely articulated, so that the skull could flex and allow the animal to swallow huge chunks of meat. Yet in the 1960s some research was done that suggested that this beast could not have been as active and ferocious as it appeared. The shape of the hips seems to show that it could have taken only very short steps and must have moved at a speed of only about 3 miles...per hour. The teeth seem to have been more adapted to slashing up dead meat that to killing live animals. All this suggests that mighty Tyrannosaurus was actually a scavenger, not a hunter.
On the other hand, the eyes of Tyrannosaurus were positioned so that they could focus forward. Only hunting animals have eyes like this, since this arrangement gives a three-dimensional image and allows distances to be judged accurately. The skull and neck were very robust, suggesting that they were built to withstand the shock of delivering killing blows.
All in all, it looks as if Tyrannosaurus was a hunter after all. It may have hidden in undergrowth and ambushed duckbills, killing them with a blow of its wide-open mouth. However, an old Tyrannosaurus may have been too slow and heavy for this kind of action and lived as a scavenger, feeding on the corpses of animals that were already dead.
Tyrannosaurus had ridiculously small arms, with only two fingers. They could not possibly have been used in any killing or eating function. They were probably used to help the huge animal to get to its feet after resting on its belly. A massive foot on the end of the pubis bone in its hips and a set of extra ribs along the belly suggest that it spent much of its time lying on the ground. This may have been its customary eating position. When it rose to its feet it would have done so by straightening its huge hind legs. The little arms would have prevented it from sliding along onto its face while it did so.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSun Jan 03, 2021 7:42 am

My 72nd review for this thread is a negative 1 for Dixon's If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

Dixon's worst dino book ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2906RZLY2I88D/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 1/5

Dixon's If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today (henceforth ID) may be his worst dino book. The ID reviews of Vincent ( https://chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/2011/11/not-vintage-dinosaur-art-if-dinosaurs.html ) & Babbletrish ( http://babbletrish.blogspot.com/2012_05_01_archive.html ) sum up why. In this review, I point you to said reviews & add my own thoughts as well:
-Not only is ID full of "eye-bleedingly awful CGI and Photoshoppery", but also shameless rip-offs of more famous reconstructions. These include the Walking With Dinosaurs Plateosaurus, Seismosaurus (= Diplodocus), T.rex, Coelophysis, Liopleurodon, Cryptoclidus, & Quetzalcoatlus (which is quite coincidental, given that Benton consulted both WWD & ID).*
-Speaking of WWD's Liopleurodon, ID didn't just rip-off its appearance, but also its impossibly-large (25 m) size. To quote Martill/Naish (See Walking with Dinosaurs: The Evidence), "this size created much debate in palaeontological circles following the first airing of the programme, as no palaeontologist thinks Liopleurodon really got this big...Although several complete skeletons have been discovered, these are individuals of between 5 and 10 metres in length." Google "Liopleurodon - Plesiosaur Directory" for everything else we currently know about Liopleurodon.
-In reference to "the probably unintentional underlying theme of [ID]: modern day mammals are just better at everything", Dinosaurs! magazine did something similar, but at least then some thought went into the kind of environment & interspecies interactions ( https://chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/2012/01/vintage-dinosaur-art-yet-more-dinosaurs.html ). As far as I can tell, no such thought went into ID. This is especially apparent in the Archaeopteryx & Baryonyx sections: For 1, Archaeopteryx was a poor flier compared to most modern birds; It might as well be a flock of chickens mobbing that eagle; & don't get me started on that poorly-photoshopped lizard; For another, Baryonyx was subtropical, yet is depicted in a temperate zone; It'd be like finding coconuts in Mercia (See Monty Python and the Holy Grail).
-As expected for a Dixon dino book, ID is both textually & visually inaccurate. Even if you only read the fact files, you'll see that there's an average of at least 5 factual errors per page in ID, a 96-page book. This is especially apparent in the T.rex fact file.**
-As you may remember, I generally dislike the dino Q&A genre for 3 main reasons: 1) Redundant questions; 2) Vague answers; 3) Bad Q&As (I.e. Stupid or misleading questions & misleading or wrong answers). ID does all that & MUCH more (See "No. Unless You Count Birds." in Babbletrish's ID review).

*To quote Naish ( http://web.archive.org/web/20160917075952/http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/great-dinosaur-art-event-of-2012/ ), "There are good consultants, but there are downright useless consultants". There are MANY examples of Benton being "downright useless" as a consultant of popular dino books (E.g. Johnson's Dino Wars: https://www.amazon.com/review/R2FFY9S77ANRTK/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ), but ID may be the best example.

**It's claimed that "about 20 [T.rex] specimens have been found in total" (More like 45), that T.rex lived 74 MYA (It didn't), that the earliest tyrannosaurids lived "during the Jurassic period" (They didn't), & that the earliest tyrannosaurids were turkey-sized (More like horse-sized). It's also worth mentioning that, under "Fossil Finds", Dixon ignores Saskatchewan, Colorado, Utah, & New Mexico.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 3 Icon_minitimeThu Mar 04, 2021 6:20 am

My 73rd review for this thread is a positive 1 for Lessem's Ornithomimids: The Fastest Dinosaur. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

Precursors of awesomeness ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R3202MZFDBNRQL/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 5/5

Short version: If you want the best day-in-the-life dino books, get Bakker's "Step-into-Reading" books ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R16K64LXYBME69/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ) & read them in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's Dinosaurs). If you want the precursors of said books, get Lessem's Special Dinosaurs series, especially Ornithomimids: The Fastest Dinosaur (henceforth OT), & read it in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's book, especially Chapter 18).

Long version: Read on.

As you may remember, I reviewed the best of Lessem's pre-2000 work ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1SLNBX289TA4K/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ) & the worst of his post-2000 work ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R3VAJM4MMKUN2D/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ). I could review more of Lessem's post-2000 work (E.g. His Meet the Dinosaurs series, which is basically a poorly-organized & oversimplified version of his Special Dinosaurs series), but I'd rather review more of his pre-2000 work. More specifically, I'd rather review Lessem's Special Dinosaurs series in general & OT in particular, which remind me of Bakker's "Step-into-Reading" books.* In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why that is.

1) Like the 1st parts of Bakker's books, those of Lessem's are very well-written. The only major difference is that Lessem's stories are more moment-in-timey than day-in-the-lifey like Bakker's. Of the 3 I've read, OT's story is the longest & most fleshed out at 2 pages of text.

2) Like the 2nd parts of Bakker's books, those of Lessem's are very good at concentrating on the science behind the stories. The only major difference is that Lessem's explanations aren't divided into chapters like Bakker's. Of the 3 I've read, OT's explanations are the least weird in terms of text & writing.**

3) Like Bakker's books, Lessem's are very well-illustrated. I can't overstate how much I like looking at Braginetz's paleoart in general & her OT work in particular. My favorite examples are as follows:
-The Gallimimus on OT's cover, especially the 1 looking towards the reader. To paraphrase Vincent ( https://chasmosaurs.com/2020/08/04/vintage-dinosaur-art-dinosaurs-and-other-archosaurs-part-2/ ), "the suitably staring, glassy eye conveys a great deal of character – in fact, [Braginetz] does seem to be especially good at eyes, an oft-overlooked aspect in making an extinct creature really appear alive."
-The multi-species scene on page 6 (which illustrates OT's story: http://web.archive.org/web/20200830071845/https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/118518297_1570032616536680_3830359226894007046_o.jpg?_nc_cat=110&_nc_sid=8024bb&_nc_ohc=1orUmsDW3SUAX9tDWqB&_nc_ht=scontent-sea1-1.xx&oh=0aeb7722376483ea29eab276c35b4afe&oe=5F6F6758 ). To paraphrase Vincent (Google "Vintage Dinosaur Art: Album of Dinosaurs - Part 1"), it's "dominated by looming vegetation that dwarfs the tiny [mammal]...drawing attention to the animal while also giving the foliage plenty of space in which to show off. This is also a wonderful piece for presenting the animal as part of a much larger ecosystem".
-The ornithomimid family portrait on pages 18-19 ( https://assets.atlasobscura.com/article_images/800x/14272/image.jpg ). To paraphrase Naish ( http://web.archive.org/web/20150618001836/https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/great-dinosaur-art-event-of-2012/ ), "the astonishing details and thoughtful patterns and hues applied to the animals look great and pleasingly naturalistic. I especially like the [bovid]-inspired skin patterns on [her Struthiomimus.]"

*The other books in said series are Seismosaurus: The Longest Dinosaur, Troodon: The Smartest Dinosaur, & Utahraptor: The Deadliest Dinosaur. I picked OT partly because it's the best of the 3 I've read, & partly because ornithomimids don't get as much love as deinonychosaurs (which is reflected in the number of OT reviews vs. Troodon or Utahraptor reviews).

**1 weird bit in all 3 is the lack of evolution (I.e. They use the word "evolution" multiple times, but don't define it). Otherwise, OT's only weird bit is the concluding paragraph (See the Lessem quote, which contradicts what Lessem says throughout about ornithomimids only eating small animals & plants).

Quoting Lessem:
Quote :
We may never know how fast Ornithomimus and its close cousins were. But if you are somehow transported back to dinosaur times, you had better hope that Ornithomimus isn't on the scene. If the dinosaur is there, hope that it doesn't look at you as lunch. Because even if you were as fast as the fastest human in the world, chances are you could never outrun an ornithomimid, the fastest dinosaur of all.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSun Mar 07, 2021 4:23 am

My 74th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Blasing's Dinosaurs! My First Book About Carnivores. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

More of the same old Blasing ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R27SC99ROOM98I/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 1/5

Short version: Remember what I said about Dixon ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2PUKOSQNJNGTF/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 )? The same goes for Blasing. However, even Dixon's worst dino book (I.e. If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today) isn't as terrible as Blasing's Dinosaurs! My First Book About Carnivores (henceforth DM) & Dinosaurs! My First Book About Herbivores. If you want a good children's dino book with a lot of diversity & an emphasis on diet, get Bonner's Dining With Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching (which I reviewed: https://www.amazon.com/review/RP5K90YL2VODH/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ).

Long version: Read on.

Based on what I've read, Blasing is a nice guy ( http://empyricaltales.blogspot.com/2013/11/interview-with-dinosaur-george-blasing.html ), but a bad source of dino info. As you may remember, I reviewed Dinosaur George and the Paleonauts: Raptor Island ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1ANUT6L08H5CM/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ) &, before that, compared another terrible book to Jurassic Fight Club ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2FFY9S77ANRTK/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ). The Paleonauts series never went anywhere after 2013, so I thought Blasing gave up writing books. Unfortunately, he didn't. In this review, I list the 4 major problems with DM.

1) As expected for a Blasing book, DM's writing is annoyingly hyperbolic (E.g. See the Blasing quote) & repetitive (E.g. The fact that most tetanurans had 3 fingers/claws per hand &/or stiff tails is stated in 9 out of 25 tetanuran profiles). It's also annoyingly generic, partly because of the repetition, & partly because of the lack of diversity, especially among maniraptorans: All 4 are eudromaeosaurs &, despite "a fair degree of anatomical variation" ( http://markwitton-com.blogspot.com/2020/03/realistic-raptors-pop-culture.html ), mostly described as small, fast, bird-like pack-hunters with curved foot claws, stiff tails, & feathers; Microraptorians, unenlagines, halzskaraptorines, troodonts, oviraptorosaurs, & alvarezsaurs are completely ignored. The latter 2 writing problems could've been avoided with a good glossary or cladogram that clearly defines the major theropod groups.

2) As expected for a Blasing book, DM is very hit-&-miss in terms of getting the facts straight.* There's an average of at least 4 or 5 factual errors per page in DM, a 68-page book. This is especially apparent in the Deinonychus profile. More specifically, it's claimed that Deinonychus "used the deadly curved claws on its feet to slice open its prey" (It didn't, as indicated by Fowler et al. 2011), that "its jaws were not very strong, so it used its hands to tear off pieces of meat" (They were & it didn't, as indicated by Gignac et al. 2010 & Fowler et al. 2011), that "its tail was so stiff, it couldn't even wiggle it" (It wasn't, as indicated by Persons & Currie 2012), that it ate plant-eating dinos "of all sizes" (As a mid-size predator, it obviously didn't), & that it lived in Utah (It didn't as far as we currently know) while ignoring Montana, Oklahoma, & Wyoming.

3) As expected for a Blasing book, DM is very poorly-illustrated. I can't overstate how much I dislike looking at the Durantes' paleoart. It's 2003 Pixel-shack bad ( https://web.archive.org/web/20130521090221/http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2008/01/02/how-not-to-keep-dinosaurs/ ), which is especially apparent in the following ways:
-1st, see the Holtz quote. Then, compare the preview pics featuring T.rex, Eoraptor, Compsognathus, Cryolophosaurus, Gallimimus, & Baryonyx to Hartman's skeletals ( https://www.skeletaldrawing.com/skeletal-index ).
-The scaly-skinned Compsognathus & Gallimimus alone should disqualify DM from being recommended as an educational book. Put another way, to paraphrase Holtz, "depicting a [non-tyrannosaurid coelurosaur] without feathers...would simply be antiscientific."**
-To quote Witton ( http://markwitton-com.blogspot.com/2019/11/book-review-luis-v-reys-dinosaurs.html ), "Although other illustrators have copied Luis' once signature style of hyper-foreshortened dinosaurs, these imitators lack the flair and boldness of true Reyian foreshortening. Any artist can give you a faceful of gaping theropod, but only Luis will combine this with inflated air sacs, saturated colour schemes and some sort of crazy-complex integument." In this case, the Durantes are "these imitators". Don't take my word for it, though. Compare the front cover T.rex to any of Rey's foreshortened tyrannosaurids & see for yourself.
-The Durantes' aren't just bad at anatomy & foreshortening, but also coloring (I.e. See "Lightroom – Vibrance VS Saturation", which might as well be titled, "Rey's colors VS the Durantes' colors": http://www.jonsnyderphoto.com/lightroom-vibrance-vs-saturation/ ).
-It's also worth mentioning that at least some of the Durantes' dinos are shameless rip-offs of more famous reconstructions (E.g. Raul Martin's Concavenator).

4) Despite Blasing's many claims to the contrary, including on page 64 & the back cover of DM, he is NOT a paleontologist ( https://svpow.com/2010/11/12/tutorial-10-how-to-become-a-palaeontologist/ ). To quote Jura ( https://reptilis.net/2008/09/14/jfc-lockjaw/ ), "qualifications are not what bug me about Mr. Blasing. It’s the fact that he presents himself as being equivalent to the scientists he interviews...So when Mr. Blasing spouts off something patently wrong like “dromaeosaurs could breathe through their bones,” or “megalodon was the size of a jumbo jet,” the audience at home will come away accepting that as a fact...he is impersonating a professional in the field, and in the process, he is misleading the public when he talks so matter of factly about some of his subjects." In other words, DM is authored by a non-expert who, in this case, neither collaborated with experts nor did enough up-to-date personal research. As indicated by my You review ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2PBFKZ4BOZCNN/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ), there's no excuse for that.

*Thank goodness for Molina-Pérez/Larramendi's Dinosaur Facts and Figures: The Theropods and Other Dinosauriformes. You'd think it had been made specifically for fact-checking DM. 1 of my only non-editing gripes is that not every species comes with specific info about when they lived (E.g. Some come with "lower Maastrichtian, ca. 72.1–69 Ma", while others from the same time only come with "lUC" [late Upper Cretaceous]).

**I brought this up twice when questioning/commenting on Jurassic Jabber's DM recommendation, only for it to be ignored ( https://www.deviantart.com/jd-man/journal/SD-Why-I-can-t-take-Jurassic-Jabber-seriously-869779717 ).

Quoting Blasing:
Quote :
Ceratosaurus and Allosaurus were two deadly giant carnivores. Ceratosaurus had a blade on its nose, a horn over each eye, and long, thin upper teeth that were perfect for slicing into prey.

Quoting Holtz ( https://www.deviantart.com/jd-man/journal/SD-Holtz-s-A-Dinosaur-Lover-s-Bookshelf-374321353 ):
Quote :
Paleoart is, admittedly, a difficult enterprise: after all, its subject matter is long dead, and science can never expect to know very much about the creaturers' external surfaces or, for that matter, any of their other perishable features. Nevertheless, there is one inviolate rule of dinosaur restoration: if the known fossil skeleton conflicts with the shape of the reconstruction, the reconstruction must be wrong. That rule gives the casual reader at least a fighting chance of separating the wheat from the chaff: distinguishing books that depict restorations consistent with fossil specimens from books that have more in common with medieval bestiaries, conjured from rumor and imagination alone. One reliable clue that a book belongs to the former group is the inclusion of drawings or photographs of the fossil skeletons on which the restorations are based.
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PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 3 Icon_minitimeSun May 02, 2021 6:54 am

My 75th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Davidson et al.'s World Atlas of Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

Best atLASS! Best atLASS! Thank Naish almighty...the best atLASS! ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2DMUWYZ8ZXSD6/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 5/5

Short version: Davidson et al.'s World Atlas of Dinosaurs (henceforth AD) does for dino atlases what Holtz's Dinosaurs does for dino encyclopedias. I recommend reading AD in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's book).

Long version: Read on.

For as long as I can remember, I've never liked dino atlases as they've always seemed like novelty books (as opposed to real actual reference works). Then, I found out about DK's Where on Earth? Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Life (which is co-authored by Naish) & decided to give dino atlases another chance. I'm glad I did because it led me to AD (which is co-consulted by Naish). In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think AD is the best dino atlas (hence the title of this review).*

1) AD is very complete & in-depth. This is especially apparent in the introductory & concluding chapters. Not only do said chapters cover much of the same background info as the introductory & concluding chapters in Holtz's book (E.g. There's a "Dinosaur guide", which is similar to Holtz's "Dinosaur Genus List"), but also go well beyond (E.g. There's a "Dinosaur quiz"; I wish more dino books tested my knowledge like that). Furthermore, almost every 2-page spread from pages 6-115 (excluding the title pages) contains a description of a website "where you can find out more about [dinos] and the places where they have been found." All of the links are at the Usborne Quicklinks Website (which is similar to Holtz's "Supplementary Information for Holtz's Dinosaurs").

2) AD is very well-organized: Like most other dino atlases, each of the middle chapters (I.e. "Dinosaurs by continent") focuses on a different continent; Unlike most other dino atlases, said chapters are actually arranged in a particular order, beginning with more Triassic/Jurassic sites & ending with more Cretaceous sites.

3) AD is very well-illustrated. This is thanks to Luis Rey & Todd Marshall. I especially like Rey's multi-species scenes on pages 32-37 (I.e. "Triassic/Jurassic/Cretaceous world": http://seeinside.usborne.com/default.asp?id=3053&site=4 ) & Marshall's color schemes: In reference to the former, they're MUCH less crowded & more atmospheric than other, similar life reconstructions; In reference to the latter, they're a nice compromise between the more gaudy & the more subdued color schemes of other paleoartists; Marshall's "Shunosaurus and Yangchuanosaurus" on page 80 is an especially good example (See pages 80-81 in the above link); The theropod’s warm colors help it "blend into the lower branches and leaf litter at the forest edges" ( https://www.lazoo.org/explore-your-zoo/our-animals/reptiles/green-tree-python/ ) & the sauropod's warning colors help it stand out.

If I could, I'd give AD a 4.5/5. My only gripes are that 1) some of the paleoart (I.e. That of Barry Croucher, Glen Bird, & Ian Jackson) is not-so-good (including shameless & abominable rip-offs of Rey's dinos on pages 8-9: http://seeinside.usborne.com/default.asp?id=4804&site=12 ), & 2) some of the writing is simplified to the point of being meaningless (E.g. See the Davidson et al. quotes; 1 of them is not like the others). Fortunately, they only make up ~1 third of the paleoart & writing in AD, respectively.

*If you don't get the reference, google "Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis for June 15, 2008".

Quoting Davidson et al.:
Quote :
adaptation The way a plant or animal species develops over time to suit its environment.

Quoting Davidson et al.:
Quote :
evolution The development of a species over time as it adapts to its environment. The development takes place very gradually through a series of small changes.

Quoting Davidson et al.:
Quote :
species A type of plant, animal or other living thing.
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JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 3 Empty
PostSubject: Re: JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!   JD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews! - Page 3 Icon_minitimeTue May 04, 2021 7:10 am

My 76th review for this thread is a positive 1 for DK's Where on Earth? Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Life. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a very good book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

Mostly good, part 3 ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R235XQVGYIP0I3/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 4/5

Short version: Is DK's Where on Earth? Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Life (henceforth Earth) mostly good? Yes. Is it mostly good enough for me to recommend reading it on its own? No. That said, I do recommend reading it, but in conjunction with Molina-Pérez/Larramendi's Dinosaur Facts and Figures series.

Long version: Read on.

Earth is mostly good, especially when it comes to having good bird's-eye views of where each species lived in its natural environment. I say that because, unlike most of my positive reviews, this 1 is mostly about the not-so-good aspects of Earth.

1) The introductory & concluding chapters (I.e. "Rise of the dinosaurs" & "After the dinosaurs", respectively):
-While the middle chapters are mostly well-written & accurate, "Rise of the dinosaurs" has a surprisingly large amount of weird writing (E.g. See the Barker/Naish quote, which uses the word "structure" in 2 very different ways with no explanation) & contradictory text (E.g. On page 9, it's claimed that "the first forms of life evolve[d]" in the Archean Eon; Also on page 9 as well as page 10, it's claimed that they evolved in the Hadean Eon).
-As you may remember, it's annoyingly common for dino books to pointlessly feature "a few random mammoths" ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2J9L4TSUN4V1G/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ). This is especially apparent in "After the dinosaurs". I get what Earth is trying to do, but there are better ways of doing it (E.g. 3 2-page spreads titled "Paleogene/Neogene/Quaternary world", similar to "Triassic/Jurassic/Cretaceous world" in "Rise of the dinosaurs", which would make space for more dinos to flesh out "the stories about them").*

2) The organization: Like most other dino atlases, each of the middle chapters focuses on a different continent; Also like most other dino atlases, said chapters are arranged in no particular order.

3) The paleoart, which is mostly that of Kuether & Pixel-shack:
-The main problem with Kuether's paleoart is that it looks too video gamey. Heck, the actual video game Saurian looks more like actual paleoart than most of Kuether's paleoart. Put another way, to quote Babbletrish (in reference to Clash of the Dinosaurs), the latter looks like it was made with "Sub-Playstation-1 CGI". This is especially apparent in his better-lit &/or more action-packed work, including all of his Earth work: "Better-lit" because, like the Jurassic World dinos, Kuether's look better in darker settings; "More action-packed" because his action poses look more like those of stiff action figures than those of real animals. That said, you can tell that he's at least trying to make his dinos look like real animals. I can't say the same about Pixel-shack's dinos.
-Remember what I said about Pixel-shack's DD work (See reason #3: https://www.amazon.com/review/R1D8TOUY7AACOJ/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 )? The same goes for Pixel-shack's Earth work. This is especially apparent in the large, front-facing nightmare image of Pixel-shack's Psittacosaurus on page 108 ( https://archive.org/details/where-on-earth-dinosaurs-and-other-prehistoric-life-dk-2019/page/108/ ) & the small, down-facing image of their Ankylosaurus on pages 5/9/19/38: Not only is the former a shameless rip-off of Bob Nicholls' model, but its abominable smile looks like Mitch McConnell's; Not only does the latter have too many digits & claws, but it's also inconsistently armored & jawed compared to the large, up-facing image on page 39 (See pages 38-39: https://archive.org/details/where-on-earth-dinosaurs-and-other-prehistoric-life-dk-2019/page/38 ); Compare that to PNSO's Sede, a more accurate Ankylosaurus from around the same time ( https://www.amazon.com/PNSO-Prehistoric-Animal-Models-Ankylosaurus/dp/B07RDW8KZL ).
-2 more things of note: 1) Both Kuether & Pixel-shack are really bad at feathers; In fact, to paraphrase Zuko, their feathered dinos "look like a boarcupine! [Feathers are] not that spiky!"; 2) The skeletal reconstructions in "Fossil finds" look more based on wooden skeleton puzzles than actual skeletons.

*Speaking of stories, the African ones are the least fleshed out: Only 2 of the 4 profiles are for dinos, the Late Jurassic Giraffatitan & the Late Cretaceous Spinosaurus; In other words, Africa's many Triassic & Early Jurassic dinos are almost completely ignored.

Quoting Barker/Naish:
Quote :
Dinosaurs evolved from small reptiles about 235 million years ago. Based on the shape and structure of bones in the skull, neck, arm, hip, and ankle, this family tree shows the dinosaur groups. However, with exciting discoveries continually being made, this structure may change over time.
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