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Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History


By: David E Fastovsky(Author), David B Weishampel(Author), John Sibbick(Illustrator)

477 pages, 366 colour & b/w photos and colour & b/w illustrations, 3 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jan 2017 | Edition: 3 | #227462 | ISBN-13: 9781316501153
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £44.99 $59/€51 approx
Hardback | Dec 2016 | Edition: 3 | #227461 | ISBN-13: 9781107135376
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £101.99 $133/€116 approx

About this book

The ideal textbook for non-science majors, this lively and engaging introduction encourages students to ask questions, assess data critically and think like a scientist. Building on the success of the previous editions, Dinosaurs has been reorganised and extensively rewritten in response to instructor and student feedback. It continues to make science accessible and relevant through its clear explanations and extensive illustrations. Updated to reflect recent fossil discoveries and to include new taxa, the text guides students through the dinosaur groups, emphasising scientific concepts rather than presenting endless facts. It is grounded in the common language of modern evolutionary biology – phylogenetic systematics – so that students examine dinosaurs as professional paleontologists do. The key emerging theme of feathered dinosaurs, and the many implications of feathers, have been integrated throughout Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History, highlighted by the inclusion of stunning new photographs in this beautifully illustrated text, now in full colour throughout.

"[...] the most comprehensive and useful text on dinosaurs on the market. It's both authoritative and whimsical, providing the student with a great background on dinosaurs and on the sciences needed to understand them. It's fun to read and [has] great illustrations too."
– Kevin Padian, Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley

"It's the best fit for my course of any book out there because it's focused less on the dinosaurs themselves and more on how dinosaurs illustrate important lessons in the history of life [...] I'm definitely going to adopt it for my course."
– J. Bret Bennington, Hofstra University

"Dinosaurs remain a 'hot' topic [...] To explore their past world, one needs to have a very good guide. With the publication of the book by Fastovsky and Weishampel, the latter is now available [...] demonstrates an outstanding degree of comprehensity [...] an outstanding synthesis of the modern knowledge on dinosaurs."
– Dmitry Ruban, The German Geological/Palaeontological Journal

"It is an admirable work, something unlike I have seen in other texts in the field. The 240 page lexicon is elegant and freshly instructive. I find this text compact, self-contained and interesting to read."
– Gibson Batch, Rheology Bulletin

"Overall I find Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History to be a welcome improvement over what in my opinion was already the best dinosaur textbook on the market."
– William Parker, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

"[...] Fastovsky and Weishampel have been at the forefront of this genre [...] One rather interesting section [...] deals with slightly more philosophical questions relating to the history of ideas as well as the major contributors to the study of dinosaurs [...] It is [...] concise as well as being accessible and highly informative on the topic of dinosaurs and the science that can be applied to understanding them. As a well-structured, thoughtful and helpful undergraduate teaching guide it is absolutely excellent."
– David Norman, The Geographical Journal

"[...] all the questions that everyone asks about [...] are treated in most up-to-date detail [...] this is an excellent book."
– Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society

Review of the first edition

"I am excited to see that the authors have selected not to overwhelm the student with detail."
– Mark Oiumette, Hardin-Simmons University

"Does an excellent job of explaining cladistics."
– Bill Zinsmeister, Purdue University

"Well written [...] the authors' sense of humor makes it enjoyable to read; it summarizes most of the important topics in dinosaur paleontology using current information."
– Carol Waddell-Sheets, Canisius College

"This is an outstanding contribution for anyone teaching a course involving dinosaurs [...] it is reasonably short and very much up to date."
– Sherwood Wise, Florida State University

"It's a nice length – subjects are discussed with the appropriate amount of depth and level of coverage. The writing style and tone is engaging and I like the incorporation of phylogeny."
– David Varricchio, Montana State University

"Very up-to-date information [...] superior illustration."
– John Taylor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania


Part I. Remembrance of Things Past
1. To catch a dinosaur
2. Dinosaur days
3. Who's related to whom - and how do we know?
4. Who are the dinosaurs?
5. Dinosaurs: in the beginning

Part II. Saurischia: Meat, Might and Magnitude
6. Theropoda I: nature red in tooth and claw
7. Theropoda II: meet the theropods
8. Theropoda III: the origin and early evolution of birds
9. Sauropodomorpha: the big, the bizarre, and the majestic

Part III. Ornithischia: Armored, Horned, and Duck-Billed Dinosaur
10. Thyreophorans: the armor-bearers
11. Marginocephalia: bumps, bosses, and beaks
12. Ornithopoda: mighty masticators of the Mesozoic

Part IV. Endothermy, Endemism, and Extinction
13. Dinosaur thermoregulation: some like it hot
14. The flowering of the Mesozoic
15. A history of paleontology through ideas
16. The Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction: the frill is gone

Index of subjects
Index of genera

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David Fastovsky is Professor of Geology at the University of Rhode Island and tutor at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. His interest in dinosaurs started as a child when he read about a 1920's fossil collector's adventures in the Gobi Desert. Dinosaurs won out years later when he had the tough decision of choosing between a career in music (he takes his viola on his many field trips) or paleontology, and he has had many of his own adventures in far-flung parts of the world. He's known as a dynamic teacher as well as a respected researcher with a focus on the environments in which dinosaurs roamed. When dinosaur fossils are found he's called on to reconstruct the place where they lived. He has made several television documentary appearances, and was presented with the Distinguished Service Award by the Geological Society of America in 2006.

David B. Weishampel is professor in the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution at The Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on dinosaur evolution and how dinosaurs function and he is particularly interested in herbivorous dinosaurs and the dinosaur record of Europe. Among his many publications he is senior editor of The Dinosauria, and has contributed to a number of popular publications including acting as consultant to Michael Crichton in the writing of The Lost World, the inspiration for Steven Spielberg's film Jurassic Park.

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