The best books about dinosaurs

Michael J. Benton Author Of Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World
By Michael J. Benton

The Books I Picked & Why

Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History

By David E. Fastovsky, David B. Weishampel, John Sibbick

Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History

Why this book?

This is the best textbook about dinosaurs. If you want to have all the latest information about the diversity of dinosaurs, how their bones are found and excavated, their history through time, all the key groups, how they are related to each other, and what we know about their life and times, this is the book. This is a tried and tested textbook, now in its fourth edition, but full of anecdotes, great text and great illustrations, many of them by the maestro, John Sibbick.


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The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of Their Lost World

By Steve Brusatte

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of Their Lost World

Why this book?

The best seller of all time, a lively romp through dinosaur research (and researchers). This is for all readers, and you’ll be hooked by the lively, pacy text by Steve, as he hurtles from continent to continent, digging up bones from China to Poland, working on Tyrannosaurus rex and other great beasts in the basements of the world’s museums, and sharing with readers what it’s like to be a working paleontologist. For aspiring young bone-diggers, this is an inspiration, although it’s not like this all the time: paleontologists also sometimes have to mark student essays and fight with university systems to get their field trip costs refunded!


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Locked in Time: Animal Behavior Unearthed in 50 Extraordinary Fossils

By Dean R. Lomax, Robert Nicholls

Locked in Time: Animal Behavior Unearthed in 50 Extraordinary Fossils

Why this book?

This is about dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts, but it’s unique and unusual. Author Dean Lomax has run to ground some of the most extraordinary fossils ever found, and artist Bob Nicholls turns them into stunning reconstructions. Here you can read about a beetle within a lizard within a snake, a giant beaver that made huge corkscrew burrows 3 meters deep, the mammal that ate dinosaurs, insects caught in the act of mating, and dinosaurs with cancer. What I like is that, weird and wonderful as each story may be, each is based strictly on the fossils and reasonable interpretations of those fossils. Dinosaurs may spark the imagination, but as scientists, it’s important to show people how we come to our conclusions, and that needs evidence and reason in a discussion.


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Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual Guide to Prehistoric Animals

By Dorling Kindersley

Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual Guide to Prehistoric Animals

Why this book?

We all love an illustrated book, and Dorling Kindersley has honed a special style over the years. They have produced many big dinosaur books, and this is the latest, with 440 large pages filled with close-up photographs of specimens, stunning restoration paintings, and even 3D imagery. As an author, I regret that DK specializes in books without authors, or written by anonymous collectives, but the end result is an amazing book, with more original photographs and images than any other.


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Dinosaurs a Children's Encyclopedia

By Dorling Kindersley

Dinosaurs a Children's Encyclopedia

Why this book?

The books so far are more for adults than children, although many children show remarkable powers of reading and learning with any dinosaur book. But this one is aimed at children, and it’s comprehensive and up to date. Dinosaur fans love lists and catalogues, and they want a book that has everything. This is probably the best such book, and it packs in a huge amount of material into its 300 pages.


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