100 books like The Riddle of the Dinosaur

By John Noble Wilford,

Here are 100 books that The Riddle of the Dinosaur fans have personally recommended if you like The Riddle of the Dinosaur. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Palaeoartist's Handbook: Recreating Prehistoric Animals in Art

Dougal Dixon Author Of After Man: A Zoology of the Future

From my list on popular depiction of evolution.

Who am I?

Dougal Dixon graduated from the University of St. Andrews with two degrees in geology. But although his education was entirely scientific his background was deeply artistic – a potentially unemployable combination back in the ‘70s. And so he ended up in publishing, as the Earth Science editor for an illustrated encyclopedia publisher. Since then he has become a full-time writer, specializing in geological articles for encyclopedias, handbooks on fossil collecting, and principally children’s books on dinosaurs. As well as that he has done a number of books on speculative evolution – exploring the principles of biology in novel ways.

Dougal's book list on popular depiction of evolution

Dougal Dixon Why did Dougal love this book?

So often we find popular level dinosaur books with the most ridiculous and inaccurate illustrations. Usually, the fault lies with the middle-man – the children’s writer or the artist. In this book, we have an instance that is, luckily, becoming more common – the academic who has the skills to communicate directly with the general audience. Dr. Witton has the experience of studying fossil animals (pterosaurs are his specialty) and in his book demonstrates how the various aspects of his work command an accurate approach to his artwork (he is a superb artist). Any speculation in his book is based on his sound observations – who would have guessed that the keratinous covering of the horns of Triceratops continued to grow throughout life and so the horny sheaths would have produced weird curly structures like those of elderly sheep?

By Mark Witton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Palaeoartist's Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Extinct worlds live again in palaeoart: artworks of fossil animals, plants and environments carefully reconstructed from palaeontological and geological data. Such artworks are widespread in popular culture, appearing in documentaries, museums, books and magazines, and inspiring depictions of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals in cinema. This book outlines how fossil animals and environments can be reconstructed from their fossils, explaining how palaeoartists overcome gaps in fossil data and predict 'soft-tissue' anatomies no longer present around fossil bones. It goes on to show how science and art can meet to produce compelling, interesting takes on ancient worlds, and it explores the…


Book cover of All Yesterdays: Unique and Speculative Views of Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals

Dougal Dixon Author Of After Man: A Zoology of the Future

From my list on popular depiction of evolution.

Who am I?

Dougal Dixon graduated from the University of St. Andrews with two degrees in geology. But although his education was entirely scientific his background was deeply artistic – a potentially unemployable combination back in the ‘70s. And so he ended up in publishing, as the Earth Science editor for an illustrated encyclopedia publisher. Since then he has become a full-time writer, specializing in geological articles for encyclopedias, handbooks on fossil collecting, and principally children’s books on dinosaurs. As well as that he has done a number of books on speculative evolution – exploring the principles of biology in novel ways.

Dougal's book list on popular depiction of evolution

Dougal Dixon Why did Dougal love this book?

The reason that many dinosaur restorations are inaccurate is mostly because the artists base them only on the bones and skeletons. In an interesting exercise the authors and artists here have taken modern animals and imagined how future palaeontologists would illustrate them on the same basis. An elephant has no trunk (the soft musclular material would not have fossilized). A humming bird is a vampire (its long narrow beak looks so much like a hypodermic needle). A manatee is a pig-like animal grazing on upland meadows (or so we would surmise if we only knew of its skull). As a contrast they take the traditional view of fossil animals and make perfectly reasonable predictions of their behaviour based on modern animal lifestyles. Hypsilophodon eats millipedes (although it was definitely a vegetarian - but most modern vegetarian animals eat the occasional meaty snack). Protoceratops climbs trees (although its feet show it…

By John Conway,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Yesterdays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

All Yesterdays is a book about the way we see dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. Lavishly illustrated with over sixty original artworks, All Yesterdays aims to challenge our notions of how prehistoric animals looked and behaved. As a critical exploration of palaeontological art, All Yesterdays asks questions about what is probable, what is possible, and what is commonly ignored. Written by palaeozoologist Darren Naish, and palaeontological artists John Conway and C.M. Kosemen, All Yesterdays is scientifically rigorous and artistically imaginative in its approach to fossils of the past - and those of the future.


Book cover of The Unfeathered Bird

Dougal Dixon Author Of After Man: A Zoology of the Future

From my list on popular depiction of evolution.

Who am I?

Dougal Dixon graduated from the University of St. Andrews with two degrees in geology. But although his education was entirely scientific his background was deeply artistic – a potentially unemployable combination back in the ‘70s. And so he ended up in publishing, as the Earth Science editor for an illustrated encyclopedia publisher. Since then he has become a full-time writer, specializing in geological articles for encyclopedias, handbooks on fossil collecting, and principally children’s books on dinosaurs. As well as that he has done a number of books on speculative evolution – exploring the principles of biology in novel ways.

Dougal's book list on popular depiction of evolution

Dougal Dixon Why did Dougal love this book?

So you want to paint dinosaurs? An artist depicting a modern animal works from life, or works from photographs. Neither option is open to the dinosaur artist. But now that we know that dinosaurs are evolved from birds we have modern examples that can give us a start – at least we can see the layout of muscles and how they bulk out the body around the skeleton. This book is a wonderful atlas of bird parts and can provide a perfect guide to how bones are articulated and how the muscles are built up. It is the nearest that a dinosaur artist will get to a direct visual reference! And it is so beautifully done that it works as a coffee table book – something to be just looked at and admired.

By Katerina van Grouw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Unfeathered Bird as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There is more to a bird than simply feathers. And just because birds evolved from a single flying ancestor doesn't mean they are structurally all the same. With over 385 stunning drawings depicting 200 species, The Unfeathered Bird is a richly illustrated book on bird anatomy that offers refreshingly original insights into what goes on beneath the feathered surface. Each exquisite drawing is made from an actual specimen and reproduced in sumptuous large format. The birds are shown in lifelike positions and engaged in behavior typical of the species: an underwater view of the skeleton of a swimming loon, the…


Book cover of Dinosaurs Ever Evolving: The Changing Face of Prehistoric Animals in Popular Culture

Dougal Dixon Author Of After Man: A Zoology of the Future

From my list on popular depiction of evolution.

Who am I?

Dougal Dixon graduated from the University of St. Andrews with two degrees in geology. But although his education was entirely scientific his background was deeply artistic – a potentially unemployable combination back in the ‘70s. And so he ended up in publishing, as the Earth Science editor for an illustrated encyclopedia publisher. Since then he has become a full-time writer, specializing in geological articles for encyclopedias, handbooks on fossil collecting, and principally children’s books on dinosaurs. As well as that he has done a number of books on speculative evolution – exploring the principles of biology in novel ways.

Dougal's book list on popular depiction of evolution

Dougal Dixon Why did Dougal love this book?

Like Wilford’s book, this one goes through the history of palaeontology, but puts it in the context of society at the time. For example the general appreciation of the dinosaur in the last 150 years has gone from an amazing curiosity, through a symbol of something that was too clumsy to survive, through a metaphor for our own vulnerability to climate change or pollution or nuclear annihilation, to the venerable ancestor of our lovely birds . . . It can be a bit nerdy at times – overly detailed plot lines of particular films or comic books – and can be somewhat repetitive – the same examples cropping up again and again. The sweep of the work references other writers in the field – including Septhen Jay Gould, Donald F. Glut and the above John Noble Wilford – giving a great coverage of the subject

By Allen A. Debus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dinosaurs Ever Evolving as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From their discovery in the 19th century to the dawn of the Nuclear Age, dinosaurs were seen in popular culture as ambassadors of the geological past and as icons of the ""life through time"" narrative of evolution. They took on a more foreboding character during the Cold War, serving as a warning to mankind with the advent of the hydrogen bomb. As fears of human extinction escalated during the ecological movement of the 1970s, dinosaurs communicated their metaphorical message of extinction, urging us from our destructive path. Using an eclectic variety of examples, this book outlines the three-fold ""evolution"" of…


Book cover of Locked in Time: Animal Behavior Unearthed in 50 Extraordinary Fossils

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

From my list on dinosaurs from a palaeontologist.

Who am I?

I’ve been mad about dinosaurs and ancient life since I was seven. I have been amazingly lucky to be able to develop a career as a professional palaeontologist and to be able to research and talk about the subject. We were first to show the original colours of dinosaur feathers, and this discovery provides a perfect way to open the discussion about how palaeontologists know what they say they know. In my books, I seek to amaze, amuse and inform. I have written many books, including pop science, textbooks, technical-scientific works, and books for children, and every year brings new discoveries to be transmitted to the world.

Michael's book list on dinosaurs from a palaeontologist

Michael J. Benton Why did Michael love 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.

By Dean R. Lomax, Robert Nicholls,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Locked in Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fossils allow us to picture the forms of life that inhabited the earth eons ago. But we long to know more: how did these animals actually behave? We are fascinated by the daily lives of our fellow creatures-how they reproduce and raise their young, how they hunt their prey or elude their predators, and more. What would it be like to see prehistoric animals as they lived and breathed?

From dinosaurs fighting to their deaths to elephant-sized burrowing ground sloths, this book takes readers on a global journey deep into the earth's past. Locked in Time showcases fifty of the…


Book cover of Tyrannosaurus Sue: The Extraordinary Saga of the Largest, Most Fought Over T. Rex Ever Found

Simon J. Knell Author Of The Great Fossil Enigma: The Search for the Conodont Animal

From my list on extinct animals.

Who am I?

I write about those people (geologists, art historians, historians, and curators), places (museums, universities, and societies), and things (fossils, paintings, and historical artifacts) that shape our understanding of the world. I am not so much interested in the history of ideas as in the very nature of art, geology, history, and the museum. And like my recommended authors, the approach I take to my subjects is, I hope, always rather novel. In The Great Fossil Enigma, for example, I felt that the tiny, suggestive, but ultimately ambiguous, nature of the fossils permitted me to see into the scientific mind. This tends to be where extinct animals live after their demise. 

Simon's book list on extinct animals

Simon J. Knell Why did Simon love this book?

Fiffer describes himself as a lawyer, journalist, and author. For the story he tells, these turn out to be perfect qualifications because he is not so much interested in telling the reader about the animal as in the scandal and intrigue that surrounded the discovery of this now-famous museum specimen. A fast-paced tale of unexpected twists and turns, when the FBI appears you start to wonder if you haven’t slipped into the pages of a David Baldacci thriller. It's a great true story and one likely to raise your eyebrows.

By Steve Fiffer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tyrannosaurus Sue as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1990, the skeleton of a battle-scarred Tyrannosaurus rex matriarch was found, virtually complete, in what many call the most spectacular dinosaur fossil discovery to date. Not just another dinosaur book, Tyrannosaurus Sue is a fascinating introduction to the centuries-old history of commercial fossil hunting, a legal thriller and a provocative look at academic versus commercial science and the chase for the money that fuels both. - Steve Fiffer, an attorney who has followed the story for the past seven years, has captured the whole range of characters and issues embroiled in the fight for Sue. Fiffer communicates both the…


Book cover of Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up

Steven Clark Cunningham Author Of Dinosaur Name Poems/Poemas de Nombres de Dinosaurios

From my list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and paleontology.

Who am I?

I am, like so many other young people (yes, I still think of myself as young!), fascinated with dinosaurs and prehistory, and have been for as long as I can remember. What I really find interesting and engaging is the combination of the fact that they do not exist anymore and therefore are otherworldly with the fact that they are real and actually of this world!

Steven's book list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and paleontology

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven love this book?

While there are of course other books with more and better textual content, this book is an impressive work of pop-up art. I particularly like pop-up of the perennially favorite T. Rex, which quite literally jumps out of the book at you as you turn the page. Very well done.

By Robert Sabuda, Matthew Reinhart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

From renowned pop-up masters Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart comes an awe-inspiring tribute to the world's most beloved extinct animals and their 180-million-year reign on our planet.

Open this book and a massive T. REX springs out, flashing a startling jawful of jagged teeth. Turn the next spread and a ravishing raptor unfurls and appears to fly off the edge of the page. Inside the amazing ENCYCLOPEDIA PREHISTORICA: DINOSAURS are "shield bearers" in full-body armor, creatures with frilly headgear, and weighty, long-necked giants. There are even amusing tidbits on the history of paleontology itself — like a pop-up version of…


Book cover of Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages

Steven Clark Cunningham Author Of Dinosaur Name Poems/Poemas de Nombres de Dinosaurios

From my list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and paleontology.

Who am I?

I am, like so many other young people (yes, I still think of myself as young!), fascinated with dinosaurs and prehistory, and have been for as long as I can remember. What I really find interesting and engaging is the combination of the fact that they do not exist anymore and therefore are otherworldly with the fact that they are real and actually of this world!

Steven's book list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and paleontology

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven love this book?

Published in association with the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, this >400-page tome is beautifully and thoughtfully illustrated in color with amply detailed text so that it appeals to broad ages of readers, with younger readers relying more on the illustrations or an older co-reader. Written by a team of paleontologists, it is helpfully organized in 42 bite-sized chapters ranging from overview topics in the beginning to more specific ones toward the end.

By Thomas R. Holtz Jr., Luis V. Rey (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dinosaurs as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

An award-winning encyclopdia written for young people—dubbed the "Dinosaur Bible" by enthusiasts!

Written by one of the world’s foremost experts on dinosaurs, this award-winning title—honored by the NSTA and the AAAS—is an essential addition to any dinophile’s library, regardless of age! Using casual language aimed at young people and non-scientists, it's a guide to all aspects of dinosaur science: how we figure out what dinosaurs looked like, how they lived, how they evolved, how they continue to live among us as birds, and much, much more. 

It also includes brief entries on all 800+ "named" species of Mesozoic dinosaurs, as…


Book cover of Dinosaurs a Children's Encyclopedia

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

From my list on dinosaurs from a palaeontologist.

Who am I?

I’ve been mad about dinosaurs and ancient life since I was seven. I have been amazingly lucky to be able to develop a career as a professional palaeontologist and to be able to research and talk about the subject. We were first to show the original colours of dinosaur feathers, and this discovery provides a perfect way to open the discussion about how palaeontologists know what they say they know. In my books, I seek to amaze, amuse and inform. I have written many books, including pop science, textbooks, technical-scientific works, and books for children, and every year brings new discoveries to be transmitted to the world.

Michael's book list on dinosaurs from a palaeontologist

Michael J. Benton Why did Michael love 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.

By Dorling Kindersley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dinosaurs a Children's Encyclopedia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Travel back in time to learn about every kind of dinosaur with this comprehensive dinosaur book for children.

With nearly 400,000 copies sold Dinosaurs: A Children's Encyclopedia is a global best-seller. It includes detailed fact files and colour illustrations of more than 320 species.

Discover the biggest, the scariest, and the strangest animals ever to inhabit our world, from Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus to horse-eating prehistoric birds and giant millipedes the size of crocodiles. Find out exactly where and when each animal lived, how large it grew, and how it captured prey or fought off enemies. Expert-verified reconstructions reveal what each…


Book cover of The Illustrated Dinosaur Dictionary

Steven Clark Cunningham Author Of Dinosaur Name Poems/Poemas de Nombres de Dinosaurios

From my list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and paleontology.

Who am I?

I am, like so many other young people (yes, I still think of myself as young!), fascinated with dinosaurs and prehistory, and have been for as long as I can remember. What I really find interesting and engaging is the combination of the fact that they do not exist anymore and therefore are otherworldly with the fact that they are real and actually of this world!

Steven's book list on dinosaurs with poetry, pop-up, and paleontology

Steven Clark Cunningham Why did Steven love this book?

This book is great for those who want a more exhaustive reference book. This is one of several good dictionaries of dinosaurs and related terms. It is illustrated in black and white, but the text predominates, and as such it serves as a reliable reference for facts about dinosaurs, including many that are not found in mass-produced gift books. I also like that it includes the etymology of entries. It’s a little old (1983), but was awarded several honors, including being a Golden Kite Honor Book, and ALA Notable Book, and a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book.

By Helen Roney Sattler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Illustrated Dinosaur Dictionary as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A dictionary with entries for all known dinosaurs, about 300 at last count, and other animals of the Mesozoic Era, as well as general topics relating to dinosaurs, from Acanthopholis to Zigongosaurus.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dinosaurs, paleontology, and evolution?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dinosaurs, paleontology, and evolution.

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