Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dinosaur Lives

Dinosaur Lives: Unearthing an Evolutionary Saga
© 1998 John Horner
256 pages

   I picked up John Horner’s Dinosaur Lives  out of idle curiosity, not having read anything about dinosaurs since childhood. They remain of interest, of course, but it’s not an interest I’ve particularly pursued. Horner’s approach is that of a detailed log of his teams’ excavations in the late 1980s and early 1990s that he uses to communicate to the reader how archaeologists work  in piecing together not only skeletons, but theories of understanding based on limited information.  Horner places stronger emphasis on dinosaurs as being apart from reptiles, giving particular consideration to their unique behaviors that carry on today in the form of birds -- the tendency of some species to gather in large colonies during the egg-laying season, and the possibility that some dinosaurs tended to their young just as birds to, instead of abandoning them to instincts alone.

        Fascinating in parts and slightly tedious in others, I enjoyed the book overall and found the update on current trends in paleontology useful. 

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