I just received my copies of Dinosaurs Life Size, a children’s book published by Barron’s Educational in the USA and by New Burlington Books in the UK (Naish 2010). You can get it from amazon here (here from amazon.co.uk). You might wonder why I’m advertising a children’s book when I could be publishing articles on gekkotans, amebelodontid proboscideans or solitaire hands (all of which are due to appear here very soon). Well, hey, it’s my blog right?
Dinosaurs Life Size is large-format and includes spreads on a diversity of dinosaurs as well as pterosaurs and Mesozoic marine reptiles. Some of the spreads fold out as large gatefolds. CG models feature throughout: they were created by Raul Lunia and are pretty impressive [the Deinonychus spread is shown below; using kids for scale was a great touch]. And I’ll happily admit that the use of a giant reptilian eye on the cover is clichéd and all too familiar*: thanks to David Krentz for bringing this to my attention.
* Ten Tet Zoo dollars to anyone who can say what the eye is really from. Dead easy.
Raul is good at putting rows of dorsal spines and filaments on dinosaurs, and even his small ornithischians (Lesothosaurus is included) seem to have a fuzzy integument (as well they might, given the data on Tianyulong and Psittacosaurus). Having mentioned ornithischians and integument… does anyone yet know anything definitive about the Black Hills Triceratops specimen rumoured to preserve evidence for integumentary spines (or filaments)? It was previously mentioned in the comments appended to the Udanoceratops article… some online reconstructions that incorporated the spines/filaments have been removed since I looked at them last, but there’s still this. Anyway…
Getting the creatures life-sized means that we sometimes only feature a bit of the head, a hand, foot, or horn or whatever. For Sauroposeidon, we have nothing but an eye [shown here]. While, naturally, the familiar creatures are included (Diplodocus, Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and so on), I tried as usual to include stuff that doesn’t get discussed in prehistoric animal books that often: the possibility of inflatable nasal sacs in big horned dinosaurs, the deinonychosaur-like demeanour of Archaeopteryx, feather distribution in maniraptorans…. and the terrestrial stalking lifestyle of Quetzalcoatlus.
There are a few things that you might consider errors: the skeleton that masquerades as Plesiosaurus isn’t Plesiosaurus at all (but ‘Plesiosaurus‘ macrocephalus, a non-plesiosaurid* that needs a new generic name), and what we call Cetiosaurus isn’t modelled on C. oxoniensis (the only animal that should really be associated with this name: Upchurch et al. (2009)) but on something else. And a few deliberate errors are included for eagle-eyed readers to find (actually, I’m not gonna take responsibility for those). But, yeah, did I mention it’s a kid’s book [Raul's Liopleurodon shown below].
* Yes, I said plesiosaurid. Ketchum & Benson (2010) recovered a Plesiosauridae that comprises Plesiosaurus dolichodeirus, Hydrorion brachypterygius, Microcleidus homalospondylus, Occitanosaurus tournemirensis and Seeleyosaurus guilelmiimperatoris.
Anyway, it’s a nice little book and I hope people like it. It’s the first of three or four books I have coming out this year (some of which are co-authored with many others).
Refs – -
Ketchum, H. F. & Benson, R. B. J. 2010. Global interrelationships of Plesiosauria (Reptilia, Sauropterygia) and the pivotal role of taxon sampling in determining the outcome of phylogenetic analyses. Biological Reviews 85, 361-392.
Naish, D. 2010. Dinosaurs Life Size. Barron’s Educational Series, New York.
Upchurch, P., Martin, J. & Taylor, M. P. 2009. Case 372: Cetiosaurus Owen, 1841 (Dinosauria, Sauropoda): proposed conservation of usage by designation of Cetiosaurus oxoniensis Phillips, 1871 as the type species. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 66, 51-55.