Author Topic: HD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!  (Read 11059 times)

HD-man

  • Precambrian survivor
  • ******
  • Posts: 876
    • View Profile
Re: HD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!
« Reply #80 on: April 09, 2019, 06:20:04 AM »
My 56th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Alexander's A Child's Introduction to Natural History: The Story of Our Living Earth–From Amazing Animals and Plants to Fascinating Fossils and Gems. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

This shouldn't be anyone's intro ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R18JAUMD9S7UY5/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 1/5

Short version: If you want the best family-friendly intro to natural history that features non-bird dinos, get DK's Natural History (Smithsonian). It's everything that kind of book should be & MUCH more. Alexander's A Child's Introduction to Natural History: The Story of Our Living Earth–From Amazing Animals and Plants to Fascinating Fossils and Gems (henceforth AC) is the exact opposite of that in every way.

Long version: Read on.

As far as I know, there aren't many family-friendly intros to natural history that feature non-bird dinos. If you want the best 1, get DK's book. If DK's book is the Sonic Sat AM of its genre, then AC is The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog ( ). Yes, I already used that analogy in my Life review ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R21LUEX1AD0VBE/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ), but that's how bad AC is. There are 4 main reasons for why I think that is: 1) It's very poorly-illustrated; 2) It's very poorly-organized; 3) It's very non-authoritative; 4) It fails to cover many natural history-related subjects & those that are covered are done so in an insufficient manner (I.e. Sometimes, it simplifies things to the point of being meaningless; Other times, it's just plain wrong). In this review, I list what I think are the best examples of said reasons.

1) Unlike DK's book (which is "The Ultimate Visual Guide to Everything on Earth"), AC is illustrated with Hamilton's childish drawings & Shutterstock's cheap-looking stock photos.* Hamilton's naturalist & dino drawings are especially bad: For 1, her Charles Darwin/Steve Irwin/Jane Goodall look like a baby doll/female clown/male Whig, respectively ( https://www.chinasprout.com/store/media/BLC885L05.jpg ); For another, her Velociraptor & Deinonychus are shameless rip-offs of Terakoshi's Deinonychus (which she didn't even fully feather, which would've made it more accurate & less ripped off) & Martyniuk's Velociraptor (which she didn't even finish, hence the missing claws & facial features), respectively ( https://www.chinasprout.com/store/media/BLC885L07.jpg ).

2) Unlike DK's chapters & their contents (which, as indicated by the 1st DK quote, are insanely well-organized), AC's are scattered all over with no apparent rhyme or reason. This is especially apparent in the reptile & dino chapters: Not only is the former preceded & followed by the freshwater & desert chapters, respectively, but it's divided into snake/turtle & lizard/croc sections despite the fact that snake/lizard & turtle/croc sections would've made MUCH more sense for obvious reasons;** Not only is the latter divided into plant eater, meat eater, & non-dino sections without any other context, but it isn't even consistent (I.e. The plant eater & meat eater sections discuss meat eaters & plant eaters, respectively).

3) Unlike DK's book (which, as indicated by the 2nd DK quote, is insanely authoritative), AC is authored by a non-expert who isn't even a collaborator with experts. As indicated by my You review ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2PBFKZ4BOZCNN/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ), there's no excuse for that.

4A) In reference to "It fails", this is especially apparent in the invertebrate & dino chapters: For 1, using DK's book as a guide, AC covers every major vertebrate group, but only 3 major invertebrate groups, completely ignoring the other 4; For another, using Holtz's Dinosaurs as a guide, AC only covers 8 genera representing 7 major groups, while DK's book covers 21 genera representing 16 major groups.

4B) In reference to "Sometimes," this is especially apparent in the Ice Age chapter (E.g. See the Alexander quote).

4C) In reference to "Other times," this is especially apparent in the dino chapter. Even if you only read the bolded sentences, you'll see that there's at least 8 factual inaccuracies in those 3 pages. The worst ones are the claims that 1) "Paleontology is the study of dinosaurs", & 2) "No true dinosaur flew". Besides being blatantly false, they're contradicted by the earlier claims that 1) "fossils aren't only about dinosaurs", & 2) "some even flew."

*In reference to "childish drawings", they look like those of a kid learning to draw by copying photos badly.

**It's also worth mentioning that unlike DK's book (which has a 4-page "tree of life", showing how all living things are related), AC has no cladograms.

Quoting DK:
Quote
Natural History begins with a general introduction to life on Earth: the geological foundations of life, the evolution of life forms, and how organisms are classified. The next five chapters form an extensive and accessible catalog of species and specimens...from mineral to mammals...interspersed with fact-filled introductions to each group and in-depth feature profiles.

Quoting DK:
Quote
Featuring more than 5,000 illustrations of everything on Earth...from rocks to redwoods, microbes to mammals...this is the most spectacular survey of our planet's treasures ever made. Compiled by a team of professional wildlife experts working with the world-renowned Smithsonian Institution, NATURAL HISTORY is the ultimate celebration of the world's extraordinary diversity of life.

Quoting Alexander:
Quote
The ground sloth was an extra-large relative of a modern-day sloth. How large? Most were the size of an ox. Unlike today's sloths that spend their days up in the trees, some ground sloths stayed on the ground. They ate plants and stood on their hind legs to reach the tops of trees.
I'm also known as JD-man at deviantART: http://jd-man.deviantart.com/


HD-man

  • Precambrian survivor
  • ******
  • Posts: 876
    • View Profile
Re: HD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!
« Reply #81 on: September 01, 2019, 09:52:17 PM »
My 57th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Michard's The Reign of the Dinosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

A REALLY concise natural history ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1XKIJYJI2F8YU/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0810928086 ): 5/5

The best way I can describe Michard's The Reign of the Dinosaurs (henceforth Reign) is as a cross between the 1st edition of DK's Dinosaur (Eyewitness) & the 1st edition of Gardom/Milner's The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs. In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is.

1) Like Gardom/Milner's book, Reign is very well-organized. More specifically, both books have a day-in-the-life format (I.e. The 1st part introduces the dinos & their world; The 2nd part shows how the dinos lived & evolved in their world); This makes sense given that, according to Ernest Thompson Seton, day-in-the-life stories are the best way to write natural history (See "NOTE TO THE READER": http://www.gatewaytotheclassics.com/browse/display.php?author=seton&book=wild&story=_front ).

2) Like DK's book, Reign is very concise. This is especially apparent in Chapter 2 (I.e. "In search of an identity"), which is basically equivalent to the 1st 14 pages of Gardom/Milner's Chapter 8 (I.e. "Dinosaurs and people"), covering all of the same ground in ~1/2 as many pages (corrected for size).

3) Reign is very well-illustrated. Vincent's Reign review ( https://chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/2012/01/vintage-dinosaur-art-reign-of-dinosaurs.html ) sums up most everything you need to know about that. However, I'll add my own thoughts as well:
-I'm surprised that Vincent doesn't mention the great photos & drawings of fossils, especially the historical ones in Chapter 2.
-I'm also surprised that Vincent doesn't mention Hallett's "The River" (which I really like not only because it shows a good bird's-eye view of that environment, but also because it shows where the dinos lived in that environment: https://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium-large-5/dinosaur-national-monument-panorama-mark-hallett.jpg ).
-Like DK's book, Reign features a lot of "well-worn art". Reign puts some of it into historical context, but not all of it (E.g. Most of Burian's 1956 work). There are a few other weird bits of art & text throughout Reign.* Otherwise, Reign is great & I recommend reading it in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved).

*E.g. In reference to art, the Styracosaurus on page 80 is a shameless & abominable rip-off of Zallinger's Styracosaurus. In reference to text, it's claimed on page 33 that "the consensus among many specialists is that [T.rex] was probably more of a scavenger than a predator."
« Last Edit: November 23, 2019, 07:28:39 AM by HD-man »
I'm also known as JD-man at deviantART: http://jd-man.deviantart.com/

HD-man

  • Precambrian survivor
  • ******
  • Posts: 876
    • View Profile
Re: HD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!
« Reply #82 on: September 02, 2019, 01:50:04 AM »
My 58th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Creagh's Dinosaurs (Nature Company Discoveries Libraries). If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

Surprisingly bad ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RJC08JRY6J57L/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 2/5

For as long as there has been Dinosaur (DK Eyewitness Books) (henceforth DD), there have been wannabes. As much as I love DD, I understand why readers would want an alternative ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RZ0S3CGZFRCPL/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ). However, as far as I know, Abramson et al.'s Inside Dinosaurs is the only good alternative. Creagh's Dinosaurs (Nature Company Discoveries Libraries) (henceforth DN), while not the worst alternative, is still very bad (which is surprising given Milner's involvement). In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is, besides the confusingly-messy organization.*

1) DN is annoyingly redundant/vague in terms of writing: In reference to redundant, this is especially apparent in "Dinosaur Facts"; 8 of the 14 questions had already been answered earlier in DN; In reference to vague, this is especially apparent in "Why Did They Vanish?"; Notice that the Creagh quotes don't explain how dinos went extinct, but just list causes.

2) DN is hit-&-miss in terms of getting the facts straight. Again, this is especially apparent in "Dinosaur Facts": 1st, it's claimed that dinos "could not fly", contradicting the earlier claim that Archaeopteryx was "a small, flesh-eating dinosaur [that] could fly"; Then, it's claimed that "about 800 species...have been described", contradicting the earlier claim that "we know of at least 1,000".

3) Unlike DD's life reconstructions, DN's are mostly not-so-good: Those by Kirshner are as good as it gets (E.g. See the Baryonyx on the cover of Long's Dinosaurs (Little Guides)); The others are shameless rip-offs of more famous reconstructions (E.g. Many of them are shameless rip-offs of Sibbick's "Normanpedia" reconstructions), just plain outdated/abominable (E.g. See Eriksson's very dark & elephantine Styracosaurus on the cover), or some combination of both (E.g. Newman/Thornton's Maiasaura is a shameless rip-off of Crosby-Smith's Velociraptor with "a finely polished finish reminiscent of a 4x4 vehicle purchased by a money-crazed, wantonly aggressive businessperson").**

*At least DD has an Introduction. DN just begins with a section about pre-dinos & continues with no logical transitions or flow between the sections & chapters.

**Google "Vintage Dinosaur Art: A natural history of Dinosaurs – Part 1" & "Vintage Dinosaur Art: Dinosaurs! The 1987 Childcraft Annual - Part 1" for Crosby-Smith's Velociraptor & "a finely polished finish", respectively.

Quoting Creagh:
Quote
BIG BANG
According to one theory, several volcanic eruptions produced climatic changes that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Quoting Creagh:
Quote
METEORITE HITS
Perhaps a giant meteorite hit the Earth, causing dust clouds, acid rain, storms and huge waves.
I'm also known as JD-man at deviantART: http://jd-man.deviantart.com/

HD-man

  • Precambrian survivor
  • ******
  • Posts: 876
    • View Profile
Re: HD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!
« Reply #83 on: November 06, 2019, 08:34:44 PM »
My 59th review for this thread is a positive 1 for Brusatte's The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a very good book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

It's complicated ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1H5PAIZYRT2B/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 4/5

Short version: Is Brusatte's The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World (henceforth Rise) mostly good? Yes. Is it mostly good enough for me to recommend reading it on its own? No. That said, I do recommend reading it, but in conjunction with Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved.

Long version: Read on.

This review's title refers to the fact that, as indicated by the Brusatte quote, Rise is trying to be what are usually 2 different kinds of dino book: 1) A dino field journal (E.g. Novacek's Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs); 2) A natural history of dinos (E.g. Naish/Barrett's book). The most similar book I can think of is Sampson's Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life in which his short field stories are sprinkled throughout. Brusatte's field stories are MUCH longer. This works in some ways, but not in others. In this review, I list those ways.

The following things make Rise good:
-For what it is, Rise is very well-organized: After the Prologue, the chapters are arranged chronologically, beginning with the end-Permian extinction & ending the end-Cretaceous extinction; Furthermore, each chapter is like a mini-day-in-the-life story (I.e. The 1st part sets the scene/scenario/characters; The 2nd part describes how we know what we know about the scene/scenario/characters).
-For what it is, Rise is very well-illustrated: To quote Chris Kratt (See "Tazzy Chris"), "it's black and white, but sharp as a tack"; Furthermore, Marshall's Rise work is mostly accurate & very good-looking in a "gritty realism" kind of way, similar to Sibbick's 1985 work ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RJ6H99FGIW6CC/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ).

The following things keep Rise from being great:
-There are only 12 life reconstructions in Rise (9 dinos, 2 proto-dinos, & 1 mammal) & none of them are of the animal in its natural environment. This is especially problematic for a natural history (which, to quote Geils/Vogler, "is a description of one kind of organism in its natural environment"). Also, Marshall's life reconstructions are a bit shrink-wrapped. This is especially apparent in his new Velociraptor on the cover & his new Archaeopteryx in Chapter 8 ( https://twitter.com/john_pickrell/status/1052379238211317761 ): In reference to the former, compare it to his old Velociraptor ( https://www.livescience.com/23922-velociraptor-facts.html ); In reference to the latter, compare it to Nicholls' Archaeopteryx in Naish/Barrett's book ( https://twitter.com/Paleocreations/status/1009062611407732736 ).
-There are several weird bits of text & writing throughout Rise: In reference to text, the most infamous example is the claim that T.rex were similarly intelligent to chimps because both have a 2.0 EQ; However, reptile EQ & mammal EQ are measured on different scales; It'd be like claiming that 2 students did equally well on their tests because both scored 9 even though 1 is 9/10 & the other is 9/100;* In reference to writing, the most annoying-to-read example is the incorrectly pluralized dino names (E.g. "Triceratopses, Edmontosauruses, and other prey"); In reference to both, the best example is the equine size comparisons (I.e. ~1/3 of the animal size comparisons); While most of the other animal size comparisons work, most the equine ones don't, some because the comparison is WAY off (E.g. Ornithomimus is referred to as horse-sized even though it's max. weight estimate is 180 kg & horses mostly range from 454-907 kg), & others because the weight range is so broad that it's almost meaningless (E.g. Several dinos ranging from beaver-to-grizzly-sized are referred to as mule-sized; Technically correct, but still weird).

1 more thing of note: It's weird to see a popular Brusatte book with so many negative reviews, especially given how much better Rise is than its predecessors. Where were all these reviewers when Brusatte's terrible Pixel-shack books were published ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R3J1R5BYAZABGZ/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1847244173 ) ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1BHCV2E970BGY/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1849160066 )?

*Based on relative cerebrum size, T.rex were probably similarly intelligent to crocs ( https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256536375_Hurlburt_G_R_R_C_Ridgely_and_L_M_Witmer_In_press_Relative_size_of_brain_and_cerebrum_in_Tyrannosaurus_rex_an_analysis_using_brain-endocast_quantitative_relationships_in_extant_alligators_pp_134-154_in ).

Quoting Brusatte:
Quote
That is the tale I am going to tell in this book...the epic account of where dinosaurs came from, how they rose to dominance, how some of them became colossal and others developed feathers and wings and turned into birds, and then how the rest of them disappeared, ultimately paving the way for the modern world, and for us. In doing so, I want to convey how we’ve pieced together this story using the fossil clues that we have, and give some sense of what it’s like to be a paleontologist whose job it is to hunt for dinosaurs.
I'm also known as JD-man at deviantART: http://jd-man.deviantart.com/

HD-man

  • Precambrian survivor
  • ******
  • Posts: 876
    • View Profile
Re: HD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!
« Reply #84 on: November 07, 2019, 11:33:29 AM »
My 60th review for this thread is a negative 1 for Stewart/Brusatte's Pinocchio Rex and Other Tyrannosaurs. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

You know what, you just made the list! ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R33MKMXA6PR2MR/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 2/5

Like Stewart's other dino book ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RRMG7G6JUAPF7/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ), I really wanted to like Pinocchio Rex and Other Tyrannosaurs (henceforth Rex), especially given Csotonyi's paleoart. However, also like Stewart's other dino book, Rex is very bad (hence this review's title, which is what I thought when I 1st realized how bad Rex is).* In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why that is.

1) You'd think the tyrannosaurs would be arranged in order of when they lived or when they were discovered (More on that below), but nope. They're just scattered all over with no apparent rhyme or reason.

2) Not only does Rex avoid using the word "evolution", but it synonymizes "developed" with "evolved" ( https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/04/2/l_042_02.html ).

3) Rex fails to cover many tyrannosaur-related subjects & those that are covered are done so in an insufficient manner:** Sometimes, it simplifies things to the point of being meaningless (E.g. See the 1st Stewart quote, which describes ALL meat-eating dinos); Other times, it's just plain wrong (E.g. See the 2nd Stewart quote, the 1st half of which contradicts the 2nd half).

Rex could've been a good natural history of tyrannosaurs, similar to Bakker's The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs, or a good history of tyrannosaur research, similar to Naish's The Great Dinosaur Discoveries, for younger kids. Instead, Rex is basically just a well-illustrated pageant of tyrannosaurs, similar to "fossil exhibits...in the early days". To quote Ben ( https://extinctmonsters.net/2014/06/28/fossilexhibittypes/ ), "people could marvel at the great size of the animals, but there was very little to be learned besides the names of the species in question."

*If you don't get the reference, google "the list of Jericho".

**This is especially apparent in the Kileskus section. Based on Brusatte's The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World (which I reviewed: https://www.amazon.com/review/R1H5PAIZYRT2B/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ), A LOT more could've been said about how Kileskus lived &/or how it was discovered.

Quoting Stewart:
Quote
Tyrannosaurs...A group of meat-eating dinosaurs that walked on two legs.

Quoting Stewart:
Quote
Dinosaurs...A group of animals that lived mostly on land between 230 and 66 million years ago. They walked upright and had big arm muscles. The birds alive today developed from dinosaurs.
I'm also known as JD-man at deviantART: http://jd-man.deviantart.com/

HD-man

  • Precambrian survivor
  • ******
  • Posts: 876
    • View Profile
Re: HD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!
« Reply #85 on: January 04, 2020, 06:37:45 AM »
My 61st review for this thread is a positive 1 for White's Dinosaur Hunter: The Ultimate Guide to the Biggest Game. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's for a great book that deserves more attention. Many thanks in advance.

1 of the best dino field guides ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2DH2U4T7MNS0N/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1472812824 ): 5/5

Short version: As far as I know, most dino time travel books aren't meant to be educational. Of those that are, I recommend reading White's Dinosaur Hunter: The Ultimate Guide to the Biggest Game (henceforth DH) in conjunction with other, more educational books (E.g. Naish/Barrett's Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved).

Long version: Read on.

As far as I know, there are 2 kinds of dino field guide: 1) Those that are written like a traditional reference work (E.g. Holtz/Brett-Surman's Jurassic World Dinosaur Field Guide); 2) Those that are written like a speculative fiction book (E.g. Gee/Rey's A Field Guide to Dinosaurs: The Essential Handbook for Travelers in the Mesozoic). In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why DH is the best of the 2nd kind, besides the paleoart.*

1) The Introduction summarizes everything you need to do before going on Mesozoic safaris. My favorite parts are "SO, WHAT HAPPENS NOW?" & "IF I PASS THE TRAINING/ACCLIMATIZATION?" ( https://www.scribd.com/read/298022879/Dinosaur-Hunter-The-Ultimate-Guide-to-the-Biggest-Game# ): For 1, said parts emphasize the extreme danger of hunting in the Mesozoic, making it clear that it's only meant for true hunters like Theodore Roosevelt & not for "shooters" like Walter Palmer ( https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/27/theres-no-sport-in-that-trophy-hunters-and-the-masters-of-the-universe ); For another, said parts emphasize the extreme importance of altitude acclimatization & breathing equipment, making it clear that (to paraphrase Boromir) "one does not simply walk into [the Mesozoic]". This reminds me of the "Dinosaur Safari" part of the Introduction in GSPaul's The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs ( https://archive.org/details/ThePrincetonFieldGuideToDinosaurs/page/n53 ).

2) After the Introduction, DH consists of 5 chapters, each of which focuses on a different Mesozoic site (1 Late Triassic, 1 Late Jurassic, 3 Late Cretaceous). The 1st part of each chapter describes the site's natural history, beginning with "Conditions"/"Geography and environment", continuing with "Licensed targets" (I.e. Top predators), & ending with "Other fauna" (I.e. Mesopredators & prey). Thus, DH is similarly in-depth to Lessem's Dinosaur Worlds (See reason #3: https://www.amazon.com/review/R1SLNBX289TA4K/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1563975971 ). Also similarly to Lessem's book, DH is very complete: Using Holtz's Dinosaurs as a guide, the least speciose site in DH features representatives of 9 different dino groups; Compare that to the 6 different dino groups of the most speciose site in Gee/Rey's book.

3) The 2nd part of each chapter tells a day-in-the-life story of 2 previous hunters, 1 of whom gets killed or maimed. I originally wasn't expecting to like the stories as much as I did, mostly because I thought they'd all be the same. In actuality, each story depicts a different combination of personalities & circumstances. Also, each story is written in a way that reminds me of Elder/Finch's The Norton Book of Nature Writing. This is especially apparent in Chapter 4's story (I.e. "The Hide"; 1st, see the Nicci Holmes quote, which is from said story; Then, compare it to the Matthiessen quote, which is from Elder/Finch's book).

If I could, I'd give DH a 4.5/5. My only gripes are a few weird bits in the writing (E.g. "T-rexes") & a lack of maps/landscapes (which would've made it MUCH easier to understand the geographic/environmental info). However, for the purposes of this review, I'll round up to 5/5. 2 more things of note: 1) I'm not a fan of the Papo T.rex (which is a shameless rip-off of the Jurassic Park T.rex) on the cover; 2) As much as I like the Bahariya Formation (which reminds me of the Everglades), DH would've been even better if Chapter 3 focused on the Cedar Mountain Formation; For 1, none of the chapters focus on Early Cretaceous or dromaeosaur-dominated sites; For another, all but Chapter 3 focus on N.American sites; In other words, Chapter 3 could've both been uniquely interesting & helped tell a more complete/cohesive story.

*Remember what I said about Sibbick's When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth work ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RJ6H99FGIW6CC/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 )? The same goes for White's DH work, but even more so because of White's mostly-accurate comic book-style paleoart.

Quoting Nicci Holmes:
Quote
The colony now looked like the remains of a Napoleonic battlefield, covered in adult bodies that looked like blasted fortifications, skeletons like wheel spokes, and bodies everywhere, while overhead, scavenging birds circled remorselessly. Our first day at the hide, we'd worn the rebreathers. It helped with the smell. It was the stench not just of rotten flesh but of rotten vegetation and rotten eggs. We had sat thunderstruck while trying not to puke when the wind shifted and blew the fug into the hide. Through binoculars we watched raptors, so beautiful as they went about their ugly business, wrestling baby Ceratopsians almost as large as they were out of their nests. The cries of the baby would sometimes bring an adult charging in but as it was invariably not their own nest, once the raptors had scattered it would leave and the hunters would return and continue on. These calves died slowly, the raptors lacking the killing power to put an end to the suffering with any speed. And usually one became two became three became more. These were not packs but mobs.

Quoting Matthiessen:
Quote
A mile and a half east of the den, the pack cut off a herd of zebra and ran it in tight circles. There were foals in this herd, but the dogs had singled out a pregnant mare. When the herd scattered, they closed in, streaming along in the early light, and almost immediately she fell behind and then gave up, standing motionless as one dog seized her nose and others ripped at her pregnant belly and others piled up under her tail to get at her entrails at the anus, surging at her with such force that the flesh of her uplifted quarters quaked in the striped skin. Perhaps in shock, their quarry shares the detachment of the dogs, which attack it peaceably, ears forward, with no slightest sign of snapping or snarling. The mare seemed entirely docile, unafraid, as if she had run as she had been hunted, out of instinct, and without emotion: only rarely will a herd animal attempt to defend itself with the hooves and teeth used so effectively in battles with its own kind, though such resistance might well spare its life. The zebra still stood a full half-minute after her guts had been snatched out, then sagged down dead. Her unborn colt was dragged into the clear and snapped apart off to one side.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 01:05:38 PM by HD-man »
I'm also known as JD-man at deviantART: http://jd-man.deviantart.com/

HD-man

  • Precambrian survivor
  • ******
  • Posts: 876
    • View Profile
Re: HD-man's Serious Dino Books/Dino-Related Reviews!
« Reply #86 on: January 05, 2020, 10:32:51 PM »
My 62nd review for this thread is a negative 1 for Strauss' A Field Guide to the Dinosaurs of North America: and Prehistoric Megafauna. If you haven't already, I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Helpful" for said review in the bolded link below. Besides wanting to make sure said review gives a good idea of what to expect, it needs all the "Helpful" votes it can get because it's outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

Krasovskiy deserves better ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2J9L4TSUN4V1G/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ): 1/5

While not as terrible as Moody's Dinofile: Profiles of 120 Amazing, Terrifying and Bizarre Beasts (which I'd give 0/5 stars if I could: https://www.amazon.com/review/R11QFC0SN4L2PA/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8 ), Strauss' A Field Guide to the Dinosaurs of North America: and Prehistoric Megafauna (henceforth FG) is still pretty terrible. The FG reviews of RaptorRex ( http://raptorrexdinosauria.blogspot.com/2015/09/another-dinosaur-field-guide.html ) & Chronomorphosis ( https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2530364999?book_show_action=true ) sum up why. In this review, I point you to said reviews & add my own thoughts as well:
-In reference to seeing for yourselves "how much credibility [About.com] establishes Strauss", don't bother.* I've already seen it for myself & it's more-or-less the same info as on FG's back cover.
-If you want Krasovskiy's best work, get White's Dinosaur Art II (which even features his "Torvosaurus gurneyi" on the front cover). It's a bit shrink-wrapped, but otherwise very good to great. Unfortunately, FG only features his older work (which still looks good, but is outdated to varying degrees). You can see what I mean by comparing his older & newer work at his DeviantArt ( https://www.deviantart.com/atrox1 ).
-Speaking of DeviantArt, Krasovskiy's "featherless raptor with green scales" (I.e. "deinonychus (retro)") is there too. I'm surprised it isn't featured or linked to in RaptorRex's FG review.
-In reference to FG pointlessly featuring "a few random mammoths", I'm glad RaptorRex criticized it. It's an annoyingly-common problem in dino books, even good ones like DK's Where on Earth? Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Life.
-Speaking of annoyingly-common problems in dino books, I'm glad Chronomorphosis criticized Strauss' "constant insistence on the lack of intelligence of long-extinct animals". Non-maniraptoran dinos were at least as intelligent as living reptiles (which are MUCH more intelligent than people like Strauss give them credit for).** 2 more noteworthy examples of FG's annoyingly-repetitive writing & inaccurate text are 1) the phrase "The fact is that..." (which is used 6 times in the introductory sections alone), & 2) the claims that Albertosaurus & Stegosaurus lived together (as opposed to 78+ million years apart).
-As you may remember, there are 2 kinds of dino field guide ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2DH2U4T7MNS0N/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1472812824 ). FG can't decide which kind it is (E.g. Compare the Strauss quotes, which are from back-to-back sections). Either way, both Holtz/Brett-Surman 2015 & White 2015 are MUCH better books than FG (which is like reading Creepypastas: https://phelous.com/category/phelous/oldmanreads/ ).

*What used to be "About.com" is now "ThoughtCo.com".

**Don't take my word for it, though. Google "Reptile and Amphibian Intelligence: How Smart Are They?" & see for yourself. As for non-bird maniraptorans, they & Archaeopteryx were 1) similarly intelligent to each other ( https://www.academia.edu/1061233/Directions_in_Palaeoneurology ), & 2) similarly intelligent to chickens ( http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.583.8968&rep=rep1&type=pdf ). Furthermore, chickens 1) "probably fall about mid-range on the intelligence scale of birds" ( https://books.google.com/books?id=Ct4-qGkuC-kC&pg=PA34&dq=%22fall+about+mid-+range%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjw-cjpgOvOAhXKJx4KHS2lCx4Q6AEIKjAC#v=onepage&q=%22fall%20about%20mid-%20range%22&f=false ), & 2) "are intelligent animals, outperforming dogs and cats on many tests of advanced cognition" ( https://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/the-someone-project/chickens/ ).

Quoting Strauss:
Quote
Why have we gone into such excruciating detail about dinosaur eggs? Because there's a particular subculture of dinosaur-watchers...and you may know one yourself...who aren't much interested in watching a live pack of Coelophysis but can while away an entire afternoon happily humming to themselves as they arrange and rearrange the Anchisaurus eggs on their mantelpiece.

Quoting Strauss:
Quote
One problem with establishing the herd behavior of dinosaurs is that there can be multiple explanations for why multiple fossil specimens happen to be discovered in the same location.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2020, 10:59:24 PM by HD-man »
I'm also known as JD-man at deviantART: http://jd-man.deviantart.com/