If you know me, you know how big dinosaurs are in my life. If you don’t know me, sit down. Let me take you for a walk.
I was that kid. The dinosaur kid. I knew every name, how big, how heavy, where they roamed, what they ate. Every weekend, I begged to go to the Academy of Natural Sciences because that was the dinosaur museum.
Then, in 1993, Jurassic Park happened. Yes, train wrecks. 16 year old me got to see Jeff Goldblum in all his black leather glory on the big screen. But that’s a subject for another day. Because of the movie, my favorite museum had a Jurassic Park exhibit. And they needed volunteers.
SIGN ME UP!
That’s the short version of my obsession with dinosaurs. I never outgrew it. And it seems my son has inherited this obsession. His name is T-Rex. Yeah. I’m that person.
And while I’m a big fan of fictional dinosaurs books (but what is the deal with dino erotica? I’m so confused, but do you, boo.) I like learning more things about dinosaurs. So many new discoveries have come up since Michael Crichton wrote Jurassic Park, since the movie came out, and since I worked at the museum. So, I’m sharing a list of nonfiction books all about dinosaurs.
THE LAST DAYS OF THE DINOSAURS: AN ASTEROID, EXTINCTION, AND THE BEGINNING OF OUR WORLD
BY RILEY BLACK
An asteroid that hit the Earth near Chicxulub Puerto, Yucatan, 66 million years ago brought an end to life as non-avian dinosaurs knew it. This event is known as the End of the Cretaceous Period. The extinction of more than half of the world’s known species happened in what seemed like the blink of an eye. It is a good thing that it did because, if it hadn’t, humanity could still be the puny inhabitants of Purgatorius, huddled in the branches of trees and doing their level best to keep out of the way of the enormous reptiles that controlled the planet. Riley Black digs further into this event, which is one of the worst extinction catastrophes that we are aware of, and lays out exactly what took place as well as how it opened up chances for any species that managed to survive.
DINOSAURS AND INDIANS: PALEONTOLOGY RESOURCE DISPOSSESSION FROM SIOUX LANDS
BY LAWRENCE W. BRADLEY
I’ll be the first to confess that this one is a touch more on the intellectual side. But it’s crucial. In the same vein as a number of other scientific disciplines in the United States, paleontology in the United States has not had the best past with regards to indigenous people. Trespassing on the territory of indigenous peoples, namely the Sioux, led to the discovery of a significant number of fossils in the Great Plains during the “golden era” of paleontology. At other occasions, the fossils were taken from the hands of the indigenous people themselves. This is how a significant number of the fossils at the Peabody Museum at Yale were acquired. From the perspective of Indigenous people, this book recounts the events surrounding the theft of fossils. It is difficult to understand the past without taking into account everything that occurred.
DINOSAURS AND OTHER PREHISTORIC LIFE
BY ANUSUYA CHINSAMY-TURAN
If you introduced your child to dinosaurs by showing them the documentary Prehistoric Planet (and why wouldn’t you? ), which sparked their interest in learning more about these creatures, then this is the book you need to read. The book presents ninety distinct fossils, ranging from ferns to mammoths, along with the myths and tales that are associated with each one. The graphics and photos contained inside the book are really stunning. You will even get knowledge regarding our early hominid ancestors and the world in which they lived, in addition to the plants that have always coexisted with them in that planet. It will take up permanent residence on your child’s shelf.
THE DINOSAUR REDISCOVERED: THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION OF PALEONTOLOGY
BY MICHEAL J. BENTON
Have you ever given serious thought to the question of how paleontology is actually conducted? Especially in light of the current state of things in terms of technology? This book provides the answers to those concerns, taking you step-by-step through the process of how skeletal remains are discovered and excavated, as well as how precisely we learn from them. What hue were they, exactly, and how can we tell? If they had feathers or fur, which would it be? Or do they have scales on their skin as non-avian reptiles do today? How did they develop into adults throughout time? This is about as hands-on as it is possible to go with a book; it takes famous fossil finds and guides you through the process of how each discovery was made and how it was analyzed.
Are you a dinosaur fan? What do you think about these books? Let me know.