Monday, February 19, 2018

My 22nd Pair of Reviews

As an Art Evolved member, I post a pair of my reviews here every so often, the 1st being positive & the 2nd being negative. I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said reviews in the bolded links below. Besides wanting to make sure said reviews give a good idea of what to expect, they need all the "Yes" votes they can get because 1) the 1st is for a great book that deserves more attention, & 2) the 2nd is outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

P.S. For my previous reviews, see the following posts:
-My 1st-10th Pairs of Reviews: http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/06/my-10th-pair-of-reviews.html
-My 11th-20th Pairs of Reviews: http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2017/09/my-20th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 21st Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2017/11/my-21st-pair-of-reviews.html

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How to REALLY build a dino ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R3PD2BYTU5ANKB/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

Short version: Cooley/Wilson's "Make-a-saurus: My Life with Raptors and Other Dinosaurs" (henceforth Life) may be the best children's dino book when it comes to showing kids how to build a dino. I recommend reading Life in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Naish/Barrett's "Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved" in general & Chapter 3 in particular).

Long version: Read on.

This review's title is a reference to Horner/Gorman's "How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn't Have to Be Forever" (which, to paraphrase Kosemen, should've been called "[How to build a] sort of dinosaur look-alike retarded monstrosity").* Point is, to quote Willoughby ( https://emilywilloughby.com/about ), "paleontology is unique in that there is no equivalent method of using film to capture the reality of its natural subjects...we must paint, sculpt and draw to bring these animals to life." Life may be the best children's dino book when it comes to showing kids how to do that. In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is.

1) As you may remember, Life was 1 of the books that got me into feathered dinos, along with Sloan's "Feathered Dinosaurs". Cooley's life-like models of feathered dinos are 1 of the main reasons why that is (See reason #1: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1UO9MSFJ9W37N/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0792272196&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=283155&store=books ).

2) Life provides a lot of background info. This is especially apparent in the introductory section: 1st, Currie explains why art is important to his science (See the Currie quote); Then, Cooley explains why science is important to his art (See the Cooley quote); Last, "The World of Sinornithosaurus" tells a day-in-the-life story of the Sinornithosaurus specimen Cooley's model is based on; More specifically, it tells a story of how said specimen lived, died, & became fossilized.

3) Similarly to Gardom/Milner's "The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs", Life uses a "popular approach [that] not only accurately mirrors the methods used by [paleoartists in creating] dinosaurs, but also satisfies the overwhelming curiosity of people to know what dinosaurs were like when alive" ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-History-Museum-Book-Dinosaurs/dp/184442183X ). This is especially apparent in the main sections: 1st, Cooley explains the paleoartistic process without dumbing down; Then, Cooley shows readers how they can adapt said process using tools & materials around their house (E.g. Instead of beginning "with a welded steel armature," they can make an armature using "rolled-up newspaper, wire, foam and tape, even balloons"); Last, Cooley shows readers how they can go 1 step beyond & create dino environments (I.e. Dioramas, which are the best dino exhibits).

If I could, I'd give Life a 4.5/5. My only gripes are a few weird bits in the text (E.g. Dino scales, which are non-overlapping, are compared to lizard scales, which are mostly overlapping) & writing (E.g. Liaoning is misspelled as Laioning). However, for the purposes of this review, I'll round up to 5/5.

*Google "Is it Possible to Re-Create a Dinosaur from a Chicken?"
Quoting Currie: "Even with all my training and experience, I still learn a lot when Brian asks me how the bones of a skeleton actually go together. Often we end up pulling bones out of the Museum's collections so we can consider how they fit together and how the muscles were attached. Most people can learn more by building models than by just looking at museum displays and books." 
Quoting Cooley: "Life takes us in marvelous directions and, as luck would have it, the first job I found upon graduating from art school was sculpting a volcano for the Calgary Zoo's new Prehistoric Park. That led to making a dinosaur for a company in Vancouver. My wife, artist Mary Ann Wilson, worked on that dinosaur with me, and since then we have completed many dinosaurs together. While doing research for that project, Mary Ann and I met Dr. Philip J. Currie, who was soon to become one of the world's most prominent paleontologists. It was Dr. Currie whose enthusiasm and riveting stories about new discoveries and theories rekindled my passion for dinosaurs. Twenty years since that meeting, I'm still making dinosaurs". 
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Bad dino doc + bad dino movie ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1ANUT6L08H5CM/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

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" in conjunction with other, more educational books (E.g. Naish/Barrett's "Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved"). Miller/Blasing's "Dinosaur George and the Paleonauts: Raptor Island" (henceforth DG) fails at being either a decent educational book or a decent science fiction book.

Long version: Read on.

As you may remember, I said that "Jurassic Fight Club" is 1 of the worst dino docs ( http://www.amazon.com/review/R2FFY9S77ANRTK/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0810957981&nodeID=283155&store=books ). Despite this, I originally thought that DG was going to be better than JFC given that dino books are usually better than dino docs. Boy, was I wrong about DG! Not only is DG as bad as JFC in some ways, but also as bad as the movie "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" (henceforth JP2) in other ways. In this review, I list the 4 main reasons why I think that is, besides the annoyingly-repetitive writing.*

1) In DG, George is the only well-defined/developed character, & not in a good way: He's basically an 18-year-old male version of Sarah Harding from JP2 (I.e. A "naive, impulsive paleontologist...whose dumb decisions constantly put the team in greater danger");** This is especially apparent when he presumes that Saichania have poor eyesight & compares them to rhinos, & then decides to make a sudden move; Similarly, in JP2, Sarah explains "the dangers of the bull rex tracking the group with its powerful olfactory sense, but brings the jacket coated in the infant's blood with her as they flee."** The other Paleonauts are just character archetypes. More specifically, Vince Witmer is "The Lancer", Lloyd Lance is "The Big Guy", Parker Holtz is "The Smart Guy", & Sonya Currie is "The Chick".** There's also Professor Stone & Dr. Morgan, but they're only in Chapter 1.

2) In some ways, DG's dromaeosaurs are better than JFC's (E.g. They're more fully feathered, though not entirely). In other ways, DG's dromaeosaurs are worse than JFC's (E.g. They have whip-like tails). In still other ways, they're about the same (E.g. They're "super persistent" predators of "impossibly large prey").** This is especially apparent in Chapter 8, when a pack of 30 flightless, blue jay-sized "mini-raptors" attack George over & over again despite being blasted with a surge gun & attacked by a 20-ft constrictor, among other things. Put another way, Chapter 8 is basically an extreme version of JP2's "Compy Attack" scene.

3) I have 2 major problems with DG's story: 1) It's dependent on the reader caring about the characters; See reason #1 above for why that's a major problem; 2) As indicated by its sub-title, DG mostly takes place on/around Raptor Island in Southern Asia, presumably the Gobi region given that that's where all the dinos are from; The problem is that that's ALL the way inland, & it's not like Asia ever had an inland sea like the Western Interior Seaway of North America; In other words, DG's story is dependent on a setting that couldn't have ever existed.

4) DG's text is hit-&-miss in terms of getting the facts straight. This is especially apparent in "PaleoFacts" because the misses stick out more with less text.*** However, the main text misses may be worse in degree: Like JFC's misses, some of DG's are due to being very outdated (E.g. Compare the Miller/Blasing quote to the Naish/Barrett quote; It's also worth mentioning that Sauropoda is a suborder or infraorder, not a family); Also like JFC's misses, some of DG's are due to being very nonsensical (E.g. "A creature, about the size of an owl, suddenly swooped down from its perch above and grabbed the lizard in midair. At first, George thought it must have been some sort of bird, but when it landed on the ground it quickly ran into the woods on only its back legs. It was no bird. It was a flying dinosaur!").

*E.g. The fact that George dislikes guns is stated 4 times in the span of 1 chapter, including twice in the same paragraph.

**Google "The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Film) - TV Tropes" & "Raptor Attack - TV Tropes" for reasons #1 & #2, respectively.

***In "PaleoFacts" alone, it's claimed that Nemegtosaurus was 7 m tall & 15.2 m long (More like 2.46 m tall & 12 m long), Saichania was 2.4 m tall (More like 1.3 m tall), Plesiosaurus was 7 m long & 3 tons (More like 3-5 m long & 150 kg), Plesiosaurus lived during the Late Cretaceous (It didn't), Bactrosaurus means "Bactrian lizard" (It doesn't), & Tylosaurus was 20 tons (More like 4.5 tons), among other things.
Quoting Miller/Blasing: "George knew this species. His uncle taught him a lot growing up. Because of that, he knew by the end of the Jurassic Period nearly all members of the Sauropod family had become extinct. A few species managed to survive all the way to the end of the late Cretaceous Period when they, along with all other non-avian dinosaurs, became extinct. The majority of the long necks that survived into late Cretaceous were from the Titanosaurus family. Although not as large as their earlier cousins, they were still massive dinosaurs and among the largest living things on earth by the end of the Cretaceous Period." 
Quoting Naish/Barrett (See "Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved"): "As recently as the 1990s it was thought that sauropods were a mostly Jurassic event and that they had largely disappeared by the Cretaceous. We now know that this view was completely inaccurate, and that sauropods were a major presence on many continents throughout much of the Cretaceous. And, rather than being stagnant or static in evolutionary terms, they were constantly evolving new anatomical features and new ways of cropping plants."

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Raptor-related donations and edits


1stly, Scott Madsen needs help raising funds for "The Utahraptor Project" ( https://www.gofundme.com/utahraptor ). I'm spreading the word & giving Scott some money for 2 main reasons: 1) "Among the predators, at least six Utahraptors have been tentatively identified...two adults, each 5 to 6 meters in length; three juveniles about the size of turkeys; “and one that’s tiny, a little bitty baby with all the teeth in it — beautiful”" ( http://westerndigs.org/dinosaur-death-trap-found-in-utah-may-contain-raptor-family-horse-dragons-cannibalized-baby/ ); This is probably evidence of hawk-like gregariousness in Utahraptor (See "DevLog #24": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-saurian-dakotaraptor-could-be-better.html ); 2) "The exposed bones also suggest that Utahraptor looked quite different from previous projections. While the juveniles are long and lanky in the classic raptor mold, the adult appears to have packed on mass to deal with bigger prey. “The front end of the jaw is unlike any other meat-eating dinosaur I’ve ever seen...It’s not just a blown-up Velociraptor. This thing is built like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Or a Sherman tank”" ( https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/science/utah-paleontologists-turn-to-crowdfunding-for-raptor-project.html?mwrsm=Email ); This is especially apparent in Hartman's "new Utahraptor skeletal" ( http://www.skeletaldrawing.com/home/at-long-last-utahraptor ).


2ndly, my dino-building friend & fellow Facebooker, Chris Kastner ( https://www.facebook.com/ChrisKastner1982 ), needs help raising funds for his "Velociraptor Enclosure Rebuild" ( https://www.gofundme.com/velociraptor-enclosure-rebuild ). I'm spreading the word & giving Chris some money for 2 main reasons, besides the fact that he's a friend in need: 1) Chris provides a very important service (See "My name is Chris Kastner": http://prehistoricbeastoftheweek.blogspot.com/2013/10/chris-kastner-backyard-terrors-and.html ); 2) Chris is 1 of the best at providing said service (See "Question 10": http://prehistoricbeastoftheweek.blogspot.com/2015/10/return-to-backyard-terrors-and-dinosaur.html ).


3rdly, I recently edited "My 1st dino-related career activity!" ( http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/08/my-1st-dino-related-career-activity.html ) & "The Saurian Dakotaraptor could be better" ( http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-saurian-dakotaraptor-could-be-better.html ), the original versions of which didn't say enough about their raptor-related awesomeness.

This post is partly in honor of National Bird Day (which was on 1/5/17: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_Day#National_Bird_Day_(United_States) ), & partly in honor of Ostrom's 90th birthday (which is on 2/18/18: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ostrom ). Here's hoping everyone reading this post spreads the word & gives Scott & Chris some money too.

Monday, November 20, 2017

My 21st Pair of Reviews

As an Art Evolved member, I post a pair of my reviews here every so often, the 1st being positive & the 2nd being negative. I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said reviews in the bolded links below. Besides wanting to make sure said reviews give a good idea of what to expect, they need all the "Yes" votes they can get because 1) the 1st is for a great book that deserves more attention, & 2) the 2nd is outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

P.S. For my previous reviews, see the following posts:
-My 1st-10th Pairs of Reviews: http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/06/my-10th-pair-of-reviews.html
-My 11th-20th Pairs of Reviews: http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2017/09/my-20th-pair-of-reviews.html

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Dino ecology yay! ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RP5K90YL2VODH/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

Bonner's "Dining With Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching" (henceforth Guide) is basically a cross between Chapter 5 of Sampson's "Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life" (I.e. "Solar Eating") & the "Dinosaur Block Party" episode of "Dinosaur Train", but better. In this review, I list the 2 main reasons why I think that is.

1) Like "Solar Eating", Guide examines the different trophic levels of Mesozoic ecosystems, beginning with "mega carnivores" (E.g. T.rex) & ending with "trashivores" (I.e. Detritivores & decomposers). Also like "Solar Eating", Guide explains how food webs & photosynthesis work. In fact, Guide does the latter even better: For 1, instead of using a trophic pyramid to explain food webs, Guide uses a trophic layer cake (To paraphrase Gaffigan, "[Pyramids] can't compete with cake"); For another, instead of explaining photosynthesis in a paragraph of text, Guide explains it in a recipe with step-by-step directions & pictures showing how to create "SUGAR FROM SUNSHINE".

2) Like "Dinosaur Block Party", Guide is hosted by a human & a dino (I.e. Bonner & "her Microraptor pal"), who compare the features of different organisms in each trophic level. Also like "Dinosaur Block Party", Guide reconstructs entire Mesozoic ecosystems (E.g. That of the Jehol Group) & interviews experts about the science behind said reconstructions (I.e. "Ask a Scientist"). In fact, Guide does the latter even better: For 1, Guide's reconstructions are similarly cartoony, but MUCH more accurate; "The insectivores" is an especially good example of that ( https://hannahbonnerblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/featured-slider-dinning-2.jpg?w=768 ); For another, Guide's interviews don't just tell about said science, but also show it; "Mini carnivores and omnivores" is an especially good example of that ( https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-SgRrZOyjLms/WBFpnyKYTwI/AAAAAAAAHLg/lrNewyoVoT0Pt5drkbOWZk3GJZoq_c_TQCLcB/s1600/dining%2Bwith%2Bdinosaurs%2BDSC01790.JPG ).

My only nit-picks with Guide are the paleoart (which, while still good, is sketchier & less defined than Bonner's previous work) & the lack of explanatory/identifying text in some parts (which, while few & far between, is still weird for a book both by Bonner & for older kids).* With that in mind, I recommend reading Guide as 1) an introduction to dino ecology for younger kids, & 2) a transition to other, more adult books (E.g. Naish/Barrett's "Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved" in general & Chapter 4 in particular) for older kids.

*In reference to the paleoart, don't take my word for it. Compare the cover of Guide to that of Bonner's "When Fish Got Feet, When Bugs Were Big, and When Dinos Dawned: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life on Earth". In reference to the lack of explanatory/identifying text, I'm specifically referring to "The raptors: midsize predators" & "Who ate who"/"Who eats who today?": The former makes a "Raptor Prey Restraint" reference ("The raptors couldn't fly, but feathered arms may have been used...for keeping their balance during an attack"), but doesn't explain it; The latter are meant to draw parallels between Mesozoic & modern ecosystems, yet only "Who ate who" identifies the different organisms in its ecosystem.

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Where's the substance? ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2D7VXPQ8H787T/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 2/5

If you want a substantial children's dino book about what we do & don't know, get Kudlinski's "Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!" (henceforth Boy) & read it in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's "Dinosaurs"). It helps that Kudlinkski & Schindler are 1) very well-read, as indicated by the bibliography, & 2) collaborators with experts (I.e. Brinkman, Butler, & Norell). I can't say the same about Hort & O'Brien. As far as I know, Hort's "Did Dinosaurs Eat Pizza?: Mysteries Science Hasn't Solved" (henceforth Pizza) has neither a bibliography nor any expert collaboration & it shows in the lack of substance. In this review, I list the 3 main indications of that lack of substance.

1) Unlike Boy (which has a roughly chronological format, beginning with the discovery of Iguanodon & ending with the discovery of the Chinese feathered dinos), Pizza consists of a bunch of so-called "Mysteries Science Hasn't Solved" scattered all over with no apparent rhyme or reason. Each mystery is illustrated with dinos doing things we know they didn't do, so maybe Pizza's title was supposed to tie all the mysteries together. However, since Pizza's content has nothing to do with eating pizza, it's just a confusing mess.

2) Unlike Boy (which is illustrated with mostly-good cartoon dinos & page-by-page comparisons of what people used to think vs. what we think now), Pizza is illustrated with mostly-bad cartoon dinos (E.g. O'Brien's T.rex is basically a cartoon version of Solonevich's Antrodemus: https://chasmosaurs.blogspot.com/2013/08/vintage-dinosaur-art-dinosaurs-and-more.html ). Not only are the dinos themselves bad, but they make a lot of the text misleading: It's claimed that "different scientists can disagree by as much as [20 or 30] tons in estimating weights"; While this is technically true when it comes to sauropods, it's illustrated with a Styracosaurus (which weighed between 1 & 4 tons) outweighing an entire family farm.

3) Unlike Boy (which has mostly-accurate text that uses multiple lines of evidence to show why we think what we think), Pizza has a lot of misleading/wrong text, partly because of the aforementioned illustrations, & partly because it refers to many non-mysteries as mysteries (hence the "so-called" in indication #1 above). This is especially apparent in the text about T.rex & birds (E.g. See the Hort quotes, which fail on many levels).*

*They fail to get the facts straight (E.g. Giganotosaurus & Spinosaurus were larger; To quote Hendrickson, "I feel very sure, as do 99 percent of all dinosaur paleontologists, that T. rex was a predator"); They fail to understand how ecology works (To quote GSPaul, "The idea that animals as big as most theropods were true scavengers is ecologically unfeasible"); They fail to understand how evolution works (If "birds evolved from dinosaurs," then they ARE "considered dinosaurs"); They fail to understand that, "scientifically, traditions are an idiot thing" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7HmltUWXgs ); They fail to understand that, traditionally, "the word dinosaur" refers to non-bird dinos, not "extinct dinosaur species of the Mesozoic Era" (which include many bird species).
Quoting Hort: "Tyrannosaurus rex may have been the largest meat eater ever. But the jury is still out on whether T. rex mostly hunted for its food or mostly scavenged to find dinner that was already dead." 
Quoting Hort: "Most scientists now agree that birds evolved from dinosaurs, and a convincing case can be made that, as long as birds survive, dinosaurs aren't really extinct. Since there is still some disagreement on whether birds should be considered dinosaurs, I have followed tradition in using the word dinosaur to refer only to extinct dinosaur species of the Mesozoic Era."

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Saurian Dakotaraptor could be better

In terms of ecology/behavior, the "Dinosaurs in the Wild" Dakotaraptor is better. More on that below: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DOBTMBOWAAALedR.jpg

Long story short, I disagreed w/the ecological/behavioral depiction of the Saurian Dakotaraptor & provided contradictory evidence (which I think is more in line w/the generally agreed-upon hypothesis that "Dromaeosaurs Are Terrestrial Hawks": https://qilong.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/dromaeosaurs-are-terrestrial-hawks/ ) in my Saurian DevLog comments. I originally wasn't planning on posting modified versions of said comments here. However, since the Saurian team never got back to me, I figured this post might be a good way to 1) find out more from readers about Saurian's reasoning, & 2) remind readers to always think critically about what they're reading.

P.S. In terms of ecology/behavior, the "Dinosaurs in the Wild" Dakotaraptor is better. More specifically, it "has an extensive plumage, nests in colonies, and behaves like a big, flightless hawk" ( https://twitter.com/TetZoo/status/927831813791379457 ). This is especially apparent in the hatchery ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-mFh0xjJp0&t=6s ).

DevLog #22

Sorry for commenting on DevLog #19 here, but it took me a while to get all my thoughts together in writing. I wasn't even sure if I should comment at all: For 1, I get that it's probably too late to make changes at this stage of the Saurian-making process; For another, I get that you guys probably have valid reasons for the ecological/behavioral depictions in Saurian. However, I decided that, just like when reviewing books, contradictory evidence should always be made known whether or not it changes anything. At the very least, maybe it'll help for future reference.

"but parents will not bond to their children or partners. This means that Dakotaraptor hatchlings will generally try to follow one of their parents while simultaneously searching for food and water, while their parents will mostly ignore them and go about their business. Players can rely on the presence of their parents to help defend from some certain threats, but the parents won’t hesitate to abandon them if they are threatened. At a certain age, the hatchlings will start to see their parents as threats, and their parents will see them as food, so they will part ways" ( https://sauriangame.squarespace.com/blog/1633 ).

1stly, in reference to parent-parent bonding, see the Varricchio et al., Zelenitsky/Therrien, & Mike quotes. They discuss evidence suggesting that at least some deinonychosaurs, including a probable dromaeosaurid, formed cooperative mated pairs that worked together to build nests &, presumably, raise young.

2ndly, in reference to parent-child bonding, see the Horner quote AWA the page 10 abstract in this link. They discuss evidence suggesting that at least some small to medium-sized tetanurines, including a deinonychosaur, had semi-precocial young: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/upload/Fossil_Conference7_Full_Report_Lowres.pdf

There are other quotes discussing related evidence, but this comment is running long. If you want to see said quotes, let me know & I'll include them in another comment.
Quoting Varricchio et al. ( http://www.academia.edu/12248015/Nest_and_egg_clutches_of_the_dinosaur_Troodon_formosus_and_the_evolution_of_avian_reproductive_traits ): "The longer time required by coelurosaurians to generate a clutch with monoautochronic ovulation  and brooding may have necessitated a longer pair-bond between mates and greater parental investment in coelurosaurians like Troodon in comparison with typical crocodilians." 
Quoting Zelenitsky/Therrien ( http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-4983.2008.00815.x/full ): "Montanoolithus strongorum is only the second type of maniraptoran clutch known from North America, after that of Troodon formosus (Horner and Weishampel 1996; Varricchio et al. 1997, 1999). Our cladistic analysis reveals that TMP 2007.4.1 belongs to a maniraptoran theropod that is phylogenetically bracketed by Citipati (Oviraptoridae) and Troodon (Troodontidae) + Numida (Aves); the basal position of Deinonychus in this analysis may be due to missing data (50%) for this taxon. The phylogenetic position of Montanoolithus within Maniraptora indicates that this taxon is more derived than Oviraptoridae but less derived than Troodontidae. The only maniraptorans (besides Troodon) known from the Two Medicine and Oldman formations of North America are caenagnathids and dromaeosaurids (Weishampel et al. 2004), which represent the most probable egg-layers of Montanoolithus. However, the crownwards position of Montanoolithus relative to oviraptorids may support a dromaeosaurid affinity." 
Quoting Mike ( http://blog.everythingdinosaur.co.uk/blog/_archives/2008/11/15/3977934.html ): "By studying the fossil the scientists have been able to determine that this dinosaur dug its nest in freshly deposited, loose sand, possibly along the shore of a river. An analysis of the substrate under the actual fossil indicates that the dinosaur disrupted the rock underneath, indicating that there was a substantial amount of effort put into the digging when excavating the nest. Perhaps this indicates that the mated pair worked together". 
Quoting Horner ( https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268506001_Evidence_of_dinosaur_social_behavior ): "Data from Egg Mountain and Egg Island now provide extensive evidence to hypothesize the nesting behaviors of Troodon and the paleoecology of its nesting ground. The animals nested in colonies, used the nesting ground on at least three different occasions, constructed nests with rimmed borders, arranged their eggs in neat, circular clutches, brooded their eggs by direct body contact, and, apparently brought the carcasses of Orodromeus to the nesting area for their hatchlings to feed on. The hatchlings left their respective nests, but may have stayed in the nesting area for a short period of time before following the adults out of the nesting ground."
DevLog #24 (For whatever reason, the original version of this comment isn't visible)

Sorry for repeating this comment from DevLog #23, but for whatever reason, it never got officially approved there (which is especially weird given that 5 troll comments by Garrus got approved here). Anyway, to add to my DevLog #22 comment ("There are other quotes discussing related evidence, but this comment is running long. If you want to see said quotes, let me know & I’ll include them in another comment": https://sauriangame.squarespace.com/blog/1691 ):
-The Britt et al. quotes discuss evidence of hawk-like gregariousness in Utahraptor ("Through observation in New Mexico over a period of years, Dr. Bednarz has determined that hawk families -- generally two primary breeders, some younger adults and some immature yearlings -- form hunting parties each morning": http://www.nytimes.com/1993/01/19/science/rabbits-beware-some-birds-of-prey-hunt-in-packs.html?pagewanted=all ).
-The Bakker quote discusses evidence of hawk-like "family values" in allosaurs that also applies to velociraptorines ("Juvenile teeth display the same features as those of adults, but on a smaller scale": https://www.academia.edu/1974330/SWEETMAN_S._C._2004._The_first_record_of_velociraptorine_dinosaurs_Saurischia_Theropoda_from_the_Wealden_Early_Cretaceous_Barremian_of_southern_England._Cretaceous_Research_25_353-364 ).
Quoting Britt et al. (See "4.2.2. Dinosaurs", page 5: http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0031018209002132/1-s2.0-S0031018209002132-main.pdf?_tid=e6f32422-4966-11e7-a204-00000aacb35e&acdnat=1496609376_b1e828585f4e80840ee76ec6ac5534cb ): "The number of identifiable specimens, NISP, of dinosaurs in our collection is 2069 (excluding 590 ankylosaur osteoderms) and the MNI is 67. These numbers are the basis for the comparisons presented here. Theropods are unusually abundant at DW (NISP= 227; MNI= 13), comprising 11% of the dinosaurian NISP and 19% of the dinosaurian MNI. The dromaeosaurid theropod, Utahraptor, dominates the theropod assemblage, and is represented by 62 teeth and 146 bones pertaining to at least nine individuals (based on hind limb elements), including 2 adults, 3 subadults, and 4 juveniles." 
Quoting Britt et al. (See "5.5. Historical taphonomic history of the Dalton Wells bone beds", page 14: http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0031018209002132/1-s2.0-S0031018209002132-main.pdf?_tid=e6f32422-4966-11e7-a204-00000aacb35e&acdnat=1496609376_b1e828585f4e80840ee76ec6ac5534cb ): "The presence of clusters of partial carcasses of Gastonia, Venenosaurus, and the iguanodontid, suggest that groups of these taxa died and were introduced enmasse to the thanatocoenose. Accordingly, we speculate that these, and possibly other well-represented taxa at DW (basal macronarian, Utahraptor, other sauropods) were gregarious." 
Quoting Bakker (See Wolberg's "Dinofest International: Proceedings of a Symposium Sponsored By Arizona State University", page 62): "A striking difference exists in modern communities between cold-blooded predators and hot-blooded predators. Most bird and mammal species feed their young until the youngsters are almost full size; then and only then do the young set out to hunt on their own. Consequently, the very young mammals and birds do not chose food items independently of the parents. Young lions and eagles feed on parts of carcasses from relatively large prey killed by the parents. Most snakes, lizards, and turtles do not feed the young after birth, and the new-born reptiles must find prey suitably diminutive to fit the size of the baby reptilian jaws and teeth. A single individual lizard during its lifetime usually feeds over a much wider size range of prey than a single individual weasel or hawk, because the lizard begins its life hunting independently.
Therefore, a predatory guild of three lizard species with adult weights 10g, 100g and 1000g would require a much wider range of prey size than a guild of three mammal predator species with the same adult weights. If allosaurs had a lizard-like parental behavior, then each individual allosaur would require a wide size range in prey as it grew up. The evidence of the Como lair sites strongly suggests that the dinosaur predatory guild was constructed more like that of hot-blooded carnivores than that of lizards or snakes.
This theory receives support from the shape of the baby allosaur teeth. In many cold-blooded reptilian predators today, the crown shape in the very young is quite different from the adult crown shape. For example, hatchling alligators have the same number of tooth sockets in each jaw as do the adults, but the hatchling crowns are very much sharper and more delicate. In the hatchling all the teeth are nearly the same shape, and the young gators have less differentiation of crown size and shape along the tooth row; the hatchlings lack the massive, projecting canine teeth and the very broad, acorn-shaped posterior crowns of the adults. Young gators feed extensively on water insects, and the sharp crowns are designed for such insectivorous habits. Adult gator species use their canine teeth for killing large prey, such as deer, and employ the acorn crowns to crush large water snails and turtles (Chabreck, 1971; Delaney and Abercrombie, 1986; McNease and Joanen, 1977; Web et al, 1987).
If allosaur hatchlings fed independent of adults, I would not expect the hatchling tooth crowns to be the same over-all shape as that of the adult. However, the over-all tooth crown shape in the tiniest allosaur IS identical to that of the adult (figs. 3,4). Thus it appears that hatchlings were feeding on prey tissue of the same general texture and consistency as that fed upon by adults."

Monday, September 18, 2017

My 20th Pair of Reviews

As an Art Evolved member, I post a pair of my reviews here every so often, the 1st being positive & the 2nd being negative. I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said reviews in the bolded links below. Besides wanting to make sure said reviews give a good idea of what to expect, they need all the "Yes" votes they can get because 1) the 1st is for a great book that deserves more attention, & 2) the 2nd is outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

P.S. For my previous reviews, see the following posts:
-My 1st-10th Pairs of Reviews: http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/06/my-10th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 11th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-11th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 12th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/11/my-12th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 13th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/01/my-13th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 14th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/04/my-14th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 15th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/08/my-15th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 16th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/11/my-16th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 17th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2017/01/my-17th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 18th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2017/04/my-18th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 19th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2017/06/my-19th-pair-of-reviews.html

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Gg5kN-drL._SX378_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

My NEW favorite serious dino book ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R3VQ7TMT8EFOC7/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

As you may remember, Gardom/Milner's "The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs" WAS my favorite serious dino book ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R2URWS93D4PO4C/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=184442183X ). However, Naish/Barrett's "Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved" (henceforth DH) is my NEW favorite. Thus, DH is now my go-to natural history of dinos. There are 2 main reasons for why that is: 1) DH is very comprehensive; This is especially apparent in Chapters 5-6 (which not only cover "the origin of birds" like Chapter 10 of Gardom/Milner's book, but also birds "beyond the Cretaceous"); 2) DH is very well-illustrated; In addition to Sibbick (who illustrated Gardom/Milner's book), DH is illustrated by Bonadonna, Conway, Csotonyi, Kn├╝ppe, Nicholls, Willoughby, & Witton. My only nit-picks are the cover art (which, while not the worst, neither reflects the interior art nor compares to the cover art of Gardom/Milner's book) & the lack of focus on the museum website (although the museum logo should be enough to show readers where to go for more info). Otherwise, these 2 books are very similar (E.g. Compare the quotes at the end of this review). 2 more things of note: 1) Contra what Publishers Weekly says, the "chapter on dinosaur cladistics" is 1 of the highlights of DH; Each section reads like a mini-story of how that sub-group evolved; 2) For whatever reason, Amazon doesn't do Listmania! anymore; If it did, DH would be right under Pickrell's "Flying Dinosaurs: How Fearsome Reptiles Became Birds" on "My Serious Dino Books" ( http://www.amazon.com/lm/R2H4F8H299AK8M/ref=cm_pdp_lm_title_1 ).
"For 160 million years, dinosaurs were the most successful and diverse creatures to dominate the Earth. This book is based on the world-famous fossil collections and permanent “Dinosaurs” exhibition at London’s Natural History Museum. Written by two experts from one of the world’s leading Paleontology departments, this book features hundreds of color photos and illustrations that reveal the astonishing variety of life that proliferated in the Mesozoic Era—the Age of Dinosaurs. Tim Gardom has researched several major exhibitions, including The Natural History Museum’s acclaimed “Dinosaurs.” Angela Milner is Head of Fossil Vertebrates at The Natural History Museum" ( https://www.amazon.com/Natural-History-Museum-Book-Dinosaurs/dp/184442183X ). 
"From the Victorian golden age of dinosaur discovery to the cutting edge of twenty-first century fossil forensics 'Dinosaurs' unravels the mysteries of the most spectacular group of animals our planet has ever seen. Despite facing drastic climatic conditions including violent volcanic activity, searing temperatures and rising and plunging sea levels, the dinosaurs formed an evolutionary dynasty that ruled the Earth for more than 150 million years.Darren Naish and Paul Barrett reveal the latest scientific findings about dinosaur anatomy, behaviour, and evolution. They also demonstrate how dinosaurs survived the great extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period and continued to evolve and thrive alongside us, existing today as an incredibly diverse array of birds that are the direct descendants of theropods. 'Dinosaurs' is lavishly illustrated with specimens from the Natural History Museum's own collections, along with explanatory diagrams and charts and full-colour artistic reconstructions of dinosaur behaviour" ( https://www.amazon.com/Dinosaurs-They-Lived-Evolved-2016/dp/0565093118 ).
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The worst dino museum in book form ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1EIPWIOLMYAWT/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

Short version: If you want the best dino museum book for older kids, get Abramson et al.'s "Inside Dinosaurs". If you want the best dino museum books for younger kids, get Aliki's dino books & read them in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's "Dinosaurs").* Green's "The Dinosaur Museum: An Unforgettable, Interactive Virtual Tour Through Dinosaur History" (henceforth Museum #2) may be the worst children's dino museum book I've ever read.

Long version: Read on.

TripAdvisor Reviewers say that The Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester (henceforth Museum #1) is "the worst dinosaur museum", & based on their reviews & photos, I'm inclined to agree ( https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g186263-d268146-r137214416-The_Dinosaur_Museum-Dorchester_Dorset_England.html ). In this review, I list the 4 main reasons why Museum #2 is similarly bad or worse while using "The Meat-Eaters" as the main example (See the back cover).

1) Like Museum #1, Museum #2 is lacking in real fossils & full of bad reconstructions: In reference to fossils, each chapter has 1 or 2 at most & only some of them are real (E.g. "The Meat-Eaters" has a replica Velociraptor claw & a real T.rex tooth); In reference to reconstructions, each chapter has at least 3 or 4 & they're shameless rip-offs of more famous reconstructions (E.g. The Iguanodon on the front cover is a shameless rip-off of the "Walking With Dinosaurs" Iguanodon), just plain outdated/abominable (E.g. The T.rex has pronated hands; Both of the Giganotosaurus are unrecognizable as such), or some combination of both (E.g. The Velociraptor is a shameless rip-off of the "Jurassic Park" Velociraptor with pronated hands & feathers that look more like yellow grass).

2) Like Museum #1's text, Museum #2's is hit-&-miss in terms of getting the facts straight. In "The Meat-Eaters", it's claimed that Velociraptor "charged after prey at up to 40 miles...per hour" (More like 24 mph), T.rex's "tiny front limbs may have helped it to stand up after lying down" (They didn't), "T.rex teeth had serrated...edges that could cut through flesh like steak knives" (They couldn't), & Giganotosaurus was 3 m high (More like 4 m high).

3) Like Museum #1's writing, Museum #2's is annoyingly vague. In fact, Museum #2's is even worse in that it's also annoyingly hyperbolic (E.g. See the Green quote for both vagueness & hyperbole) & repetitive (E.g. The word "terrify" is used 3 times in "The Meat-Eaters" alone).

4) Like Museum #1, Museum #2 is poorly-organized. Not only are the dino chapters scattered all over with no apparent rhyme or reason, but so are the dinos within each chapter. This is especially apparent in "The Meat-Eaters" (which features Velociraptor, Giganotosaurus, & T.rex) & "Small but Deadly" (which features Oviraptor, Troodon, Deinonychus, Coelophysis, & Compsognathus). Not only are the theropod chapters separated by ornithischian & sauropod chapters, but the theropods within each chapter are almost completely random. In other words, nothing in Museum #2 makes any chronological/phylogenetic/ecological/etc sense.**

*In reference to "Aliki's dino books", google "paleoaerie.org/tag/aliki/".

**In reference to "chronological/phylogenetic/ecological/etc sense", google "DINOSOURS! on tumblr. - Framing Fossil Exhibits - Framing".
Quoting Green: "Giganotosaurus
Monster-size Giganotosaurus was probably even larger than T.rex. Its enormous jaws opened more than wide-enough to swallow you! Most likely it lunged at victims and took great bites of flesh with its sharp teeth. One twist of its sturdy neck could have ripped its victim limb from limb."

Monday, August 7, 2017

Natural Histories of Dinos

As far as I know, this is the most recent NHD book as of 8/7/17: https://target.scene7.com/is/image/Target/51637647?wid=520&hei=520&fmt=pjpeg

When I think of what natural history means, I think of the Geils/Vogler quote below. A Natural History of Dinos (henceforth NHD) is the best kind of non-encyclopedic dino book. There are 2 main reasons for why I think that is: 1) It's "designed to be read from start to finish as the developing story of a remarkable group of animals...[in a] direct, clear written style" ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Natural-History-Museum-Book-Dinosaurs/dp/184442183X ); See Weimberg's "What's the Best Way to Talk about Science?" ( https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/whats-the-best-way-to-talk-about-science/ ) for why it's important that popular dino books are designed that way; 2) It puts dinos into an evolutionary & ecological context; See "Item Mentality and Dinosaurs in Popular Science" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpJjOwKh6RY ) & "Alternatives to the Item Mentality in Dinosaur Books and Art" ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkAXXUCjYHs ) for why it's important that popular dino books do that. Yes, I have a Bachelor of Science in "Natural History and Interpretation" ( http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2013/03/introducing-hadiazmy-1st-listmania-list.html ) & thus am very biased. That said, NHD books are mostly very good to great & I wanna know about all of them, hence this post. All the NHD books I know about are listed below. If there are any books you think should be listed, please let me know. Many thanks in advance. 2 more things of note: 1) No children's WWD books, only adult WWD books; 2) When trying to identify NHD books, look for a combination of the following or similar phrases:
-"a [adjective] look at"
-"a safari through time"
-"a trip to the Mesozoic"
-"as living animals"
-"dinosaur history"
-"evolution and ecology"
-"how they lived"
-"in a [adjective] context"
-"in the context of"
-"places them in"
-"the dinosaur story"
-"their evolution and extinction"
-"their history"
-"their natural habitat"
-"their natural environment"
-"their rise and fall"
-"their story"
-"their world"
-"time and space"
-"who they were"
Quoting Geils/Vogler (See "A Natural History Perspective": https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_p063/rmrs_p063_210_217.pdf ): "The term history in natural history derives from the Greek for inquiry or knowing. A natural history is a description of one kind of organism in its natural environment. It is a narrative on the development, behavior, relationships, evolution, and significance of a subject organism. We are inspired by Charles Darwin and E. O. Wilson. Their work demonstrates that natural history is not just for charismatic species, but also for ‘lowly’ barnacles and ants. Natural history unites biology and philosophy. What we perceive depends on how we observe and integrate that observation into an operational model of reality (see Hawking and Mlodinow 2010). What we perceive determines what we accept as true, beautiful, and right—therefore, what motivates our action."
Colbert's "The Dinosaur Book: The Ruling Reptiles and Their Relatives" ( https://archive.org/details/dinosauruli13colb )

Watson's "Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Reptiles" ( https://paleoaerie.org/2013/11/26/its-big-its-golden-and-its-dinosaurs/ )

Halstead's "The Evolution and Ecology of the Dinosaurs"

Moody's "A Natural History of Dinosaurs"

Tweedie's "The World of Dinosaurs" (See "Key Features" under "About this product": https://www.ebay.co.uk/p/The-World-of-Dinosaurs-by-Michael-W-F-Tweedie-Hardback-1977/89888062?iid=352124426006 )

Charig's "A New Look at the Dinosaurs" ( https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/tetrapod-zoology/naish-and-barretts-dinosaurs-how-they-lived-and-evolved/ )

McLoughlin's "Archosauria: A New Look at the Old Dinosaur" ( https://marswillsendnomore.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/archosauria-a-new-look-at-the-old-dinosaur/ )

Sattler's "Dinosaurs of North America" ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2267190.Dinosaurs_of_North_America )

Colbert's "Dinosaurs: An Illustrated History" (See the back cover: http://www.3dfx.ch/gallery/d/49916-1/Main+Dino+Books+rear.jpg )

Waldrop/Loomis' "Ranger Rick's Dinosaur Book" ("A magazine published ten times a year containing stories, photographs, riddles, games, and crossword puzzles relating to natural history": https://books.google.com/books/about/Ranger_Rick_s_Nature_Magazine.html?id=xvNJAAAAYAAJ )

Norman's "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth" (See "About this Item": https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=676254730 )

Wexo's "Zoobooks - Dinosaurs" ("Zoobooks...both natural history and the environment": https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&hl=en&q=%22Zoobooks+and+Dolphin%22 )

Zallinger's "Dinosaurs and Other Archosaurs" (See "Overview": https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dinosaurs-and-other-archosaurs-peter-zallinger/1000158456 )

Wallace's "The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaur"

Elting's "The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs" ("Part of the Golden Book series dealing with natural history for young people": https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&hl=en&q=%22Elting%2C+Mary%2C+1988%2C%22 )

Man's "The Natural History of the Dinosaur"/"The Day of the Dinosaur"

Kricher's "Peterson First Guide to Dinosaurs" ("A Guide to Field Guides: Identifying the Natural History of North America": https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&hl=en&q=%22to+Dinosaurs%2C+723%22 )

Gaffney's "Dinosaurs" ("A Guide to Field Guides: Identifying the Natural History of North America": https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&hl=en&q=%22715.+Gaffney%2C+Eugene%22 )

Czerkas/Czerkas' "Dinosaurs: A Global View" ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dinosaurs-Global-Sylvia-J-Czerkas/dp/1850280509 )

Norman's "Dinosaur!" ("The book was based on the television series of the same name, and examines the natural history of the dinosaurs, what they ate, where they lived and why they died": https://www.biblio.com/book/dinosaur-norman-david/d/431441993 )

Michard's "Reign of the Dinosaurs" (See "Key Features" under "About this product": https://www.ebay.com/p/Reign-of-the-Dinosaurs-by-Jean-Guy-Michard-I-Mark-Paris-Paperback-1992/89717900 )

Wallace's "Familiar Dinosaurs" ("A Guide to Field Guides: Identifying the Natural History of North America": https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&hl=en&q=%22Familiar+Dinosaurs%2C+731%22 )

Lessem's "Dinosaur Worlds" ( http://westnoblemiddle.mysurpass.net/websafari.exe/detail?sid=E7BC76EF-2CAF-4370-A100-3F5527DE3A2F&database=westnoblemiddle&list=R&rec=5&marc=11377 )

Haines' "Walking with Dinosaurs: A Natural History"

Martill/Naish's "Walking with Dinosaurs: The Evidence - How Did They Know That?"

Benton's "Walking With Dinosaurs: Fascinating Facts"

Colagrande/Felder's "In the Presence of Dinosaurs" (See "About this book": http://www.nhbs.com/title/109299/in-the-presence-of-dinosaurs )

Stout's "The New Dinosaurs"/"The Dinosaurs: A Fantastic New View of a Lost Era" (See the back cover: http://www.3dfx.ch/gallery/d/49916-1/Main+Dino+Books+rear.jpg )

Barrett's "Dinosaurs: A Natural History"/"National Geographic Dinosaurs"

Gee/Rey's "A Field Guide to Dinosaurs: The Essential Handbook for Travelers in the Mesozoic" ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC261880/ )

Gardom/Milner's "The Natural History Museum Book of Dinosaurs"

Brusatte/Benton's "Dinosaurs" (See "Key Features" under "About this product": http://www.ebay.com/p/Dinosaurs-by-Michael-Benton-Steve-Brusatte-Hardback-2008/95523642?_trksid=p2047675.m4099.l9056#ProductDetails )

Brusatte's "Field Guide to Dinosaurs" (To quote Reed J. Richmond, "This is a slimmed down version of the huge coffee table book that Brusatte did earlier (titled "Dinosaurs")")

Sampson's "Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life" ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7048639-dinosaur-odyssey )

Scott's "Planet Dinosaur" ( https://www.amazon.co.uk/Planet-Dinosaur-Natural-History-BBC-x/dp/1849900930 )

Bakker's "The Big Golden Book of Dinosaurs" ( https://paleoaerie.org/2013/11/26/its-big-its-golden-and-its-dinosaurs/ )

DeCourten's "Dinosaurs Of Utah" ( https://muse.jhu.edu/book/41386 )

White's "Dinosaur Hunter: The Ultimate Guide to the Biggest Game" (See "My thoughts": https://prehistoricpulp.com/2017/08/05/dinosaur-hunter-by-steve-white-2015/ )

Naish/Barrett's "Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved"

Paul's "The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs"/"Dinosaurs: A Field Guide" ( https://press.princeton.edu/birds/w2field.html )

Fastovsky/Weishampel's "Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History"/"The Evolution and Extinction of the Dinosaurs"

Brusatte's "The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: The Untold Story of a Lost World"/"The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World"

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My 19th Pair of Reviews

As an Art Evolved member, I post a pair of my reviews here every so often, the 1st being positive & the 2nd being negative. I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said reviews in the bolded links below. Besides wanting to make sure said reviews give a good idea of what to expect, they need all the "Yes" votes they can get because 1) the 1st is for a very good book that deserves more attention, & 2) the 2nd is outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

P.S. For my previous reviews, see the following posts:
-My 1st-10th Pairs of Reviews: http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/06/my-10th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 11th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-11th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 12th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/11/my-12th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 13th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/01/my-13th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 14th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/04/my-14th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 15th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/08/my-15th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 16th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/11/my-16th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 17th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2017/01/my-17th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 18th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2017/04/my-18th-pair-of-reviews.html

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Why didn't anyone tell me about this book? ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R39WS997IOS6UW/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 4/5

If you're anything like me (I.e. A life-long dino fan born in the 1980s), you probably grew up with Lauber's work in general & "The News About Dinosaurs" in particular, the latter of which introduced me to Henderson. It's amazing then that I didn't know about Lauber's "How Dinosaurs Came to Be" (henceforth HD) until adulthood. & it's doubly amazing how good HD is for a children's book about a very important yet under-appreciated subject:* For 1, it's very well-illustrated (I.e. Henderson's pastels are especially easy on the eyes; See the cover for what I mean); For another, it's very well-organized (I.e. Not only does it have a chronological format, but each chapter begins with a day-in-the-life story & ends with a lead-in to the next chapter); For yet another, it's very complete & in-depth.**

At this point, you may be wondering why only 4/5 stars? For 1, there are several technical problems throughout HD (I.e. Dinos with too many claws & non-pastels with hard-to-make-out details). For another, HD avoids using the word "evolution" (E.g. "By studying the fossil record, paleontologists can see when and how new kinds of life developed"). Even still, I recommend reading HD in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's "Dinosaurs" in general & Chapter 39 in particular).

*Google "Triassic Officially Loses Status! - General Fossil Discussion" for what I mean by "very important yet under-appreciated".

**After Chapter 1 (which summarizes "the world of the early dinosaurs" & how "we know about these ancient times"), HD consists of 4 chapters, each of which focuses on a different period or epoch (Permian, Early Triassic, Middle Triassic, Late Triassic). Not only does each chapter describe the dominant land animals, but also key scientific concepts related to their dominance (E.g. Chapter 2 describes the pelycosaurs that dominated the Permian landscape as well as the continental drift that led to their dominance).

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The REAL worst dino field guide ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R11QFC0SN4L2PA/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

If you want the best dino field guide for casual readers, get Holtz/Brett-Surman's "Jurassic World Dinosaur Field Guide". As you may remember, I referred to Brusatte's "Field Guide to Dinosaurs" as "the worst dino field guide" ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1BHCV2E970BGY/ref=cm_cr_srp_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1849160066 ). However, that was before I read Moody's "Dinofile: Profiles of 120 Amazing, Terrifying and Bizarre Beasts" (henceforth Dinofile). Brusatte's book is at least well-organized & authoritative. Dinofile isn't even that. In this review, I list the other, more major problems (which, ironically, are listed as highlights on the back cover) while using the Microraptor profile as the main example ( http://palaeofail.tumblr.com/post/71902141271/happy-new-year-from-palaeofail ).

1) To say that Dinofile is annoying in terms of writing would be a major understatement. This is especially apparent in the so-called "in-depth profiles".* Even if you only read the "at-a-glance information", you'll see that the animal names are annoyingly misspelled (E.g. Maniraptora is misspelled as Manuraptora) & inconsistent (E.g. Some of the dromaeosaurs are grouped as maniraptorans, while others are grouped as eumaniraptorans).

2) To say that Dinofile is hit-&-miss in terms getting the facts straight would be a major understatement. Again, this is especially apparent in the so-called "in-depth profiles". Even if you only read the "at-a-glance information", you'll see that there's an average of at least 3 factual errors per page in Dinofile, a 64 page book (E.g. Microraptor =/= 50 cm & 128-126 MYA).

3) Pixel-shack's "stunning and accurate computer artworks" are actually anything but. The scaly-skinned, bunny-handed Microraptor is bad, but not as bad as it gets in Dinofile (E.g. The Thecodontosaurus has a green iguana's feet, the Falcarius has a Velociraptor's head, & the Pachyrhinosaurus is a cyclops). It's also worth mentioning that many of the dinos drool a lot.

4) Many of the "silhouettes showing size comparison to humans" are ridiculously oversized. This is especially apparent in the dromaeosaur profiles: The Microraptor silhouette is Velociraptor-sized compared to humans, while the Velociraptor silhouette is Deinonychus-sized compared to humans; See FredtheDinosaurman's "Dromaeosauridae size chart for Wikipedia" for how said dromaeosaurs actually compare in size: https://fredthedinosaurman.deviantart.com/art/Dromaeosauridae-size-chart-for-Wikipedia-708931961

*So-called because they're annoyingly vague (E.g. See the Microraptor profile; Notice that it doesn't explain what it means by "bird-like dinosaurs" nor why Microraptor & Troodon don't count).

Sunday, April 16, 2017

My 18th Pair of Reviews

As an Art Evolved member, I post a pair of my reviews here every so often, the 1st being positive & the 2nd being negative. I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said reviews in the bolded links below. Besides wanting to make sure said reviews give a good idea of what to expect, they need all the "Yes" votes they can get because 1) the 1st is for a very good book that deserves more attention, & 2) the 2nd is outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

P.S. For my previous reviews, see the following posts:
-My 1st-10th Pairs of Reviews: http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/06/my-10th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 11th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-11th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 12th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/11/my-12th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 13th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/01/my-13th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 14th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/04/my-14th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 15th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/08/my-15th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 16th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/11/my-16th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 17th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2017/01/my-17th-pair-of-reviews.html

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Could be better, but still good ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R1Z11U1ZI7TALW/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 4/5

As you may remember, I've always wanted a sequel issue to Wexo's "Zoobooks - Dinosaurs" (henceforth ZD: https://www.amazon.com/review/RAVE9K9147YWQ/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ). Now, thanks to "Bring Dinosaurs Back to Life: New Zoobooks Dinos for Kids", there's a whole series of sequel issues. "Zoobooks Zoodinos Tyrannosaurus Rex" (henceforth ZZ) is the 1st sequel issue. In this review, I list the 3 major differences between ZZ & ZD that seem bad, but are actually good.

1) ZZ is for younger kids than ZD (6-12 vs. 9 & up, respectively): This seems bad because it implies that ZZ doesn't do as much as ZD; This seems to be the case when you compare "Meet the Theropods!" ( https://sayeridiary.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/theropod.png?resize=760%2C463 ) to the theropod part of "Zoobooks: Dinosaurs - Poster" ( https://www.flickr.com/photos/babbletrish/5747604441 ); However, this is actually good because, to paraphrase the Nostalgia Critic ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL4vRihNk4s ), ZZ "had to find new avenues that people wouldn't think of if they had the luxury of" a higher age range; In this case, ZZ has less text, but uses more of it to discuss theropods & what they have in common; Also, ZZ has fewer theropod genera, but does more with them by showing the most extreme examples of theropod diversity doing their thing in their natural environment (as opposed to running around in a vacuum like ZD).

2) ZZ is mostly illustrated by Wilson (as opposed to Hallett like ZD): This seems bad because 1) nostalgia is a powerful thing, & 2) Hallett is "one of the most influential masters of modern dinosaur imagery" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Hallett_%28artist%29 ); However, this is actually good because 1) variety is the spice of life, & 2) while Hallett's paleoart is better overall, Wilson's is easier on the eyes & thus better for younger kids (Google Books search "Aesthetics A classroom is" for why); Also, while Wilson's ZZ work isn't the best, it's still good & MUCH better than his previous work (E.g. Compare ZZ's cover to that of Brown's "The Day the Dinosaurs Died").

3) 1 definitely-good difference is the organization of ZZ. More specifically, ZZ is a reverse day-in-the-life dino book & thus MUCH better organized than ZD. I like how the science builds up to a day-in-the-life story of "Hungry Tara" that ties all the science together. My only problem with the story is Harren's paleoart (which is better looking but less accurate than Wilson's).*

*E.g. Harren's T.rex is a shameless rip-off of the "Jurassic Park" T.rex.

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The odd life of a young sparkleraptor ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R2BSHHZ5GWKWZJ/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 1/5

If you want the best day-in-the-life dromaeosaur book, get Bakker's "Raptor Pack" & read it in conjunction with other, more recent books (E.g. Holtz's "Dinosaurs" in general & Chapter 20 in particular). As far as I know, Bakker's book gives the best idea of 1) what dromaeosaurs were like when alive, & 2) how we know what we know. I can't say the same about Henry's "RAPTOR: The Life of a Young Deinonychus" (henceforth Life). In this review, I list the 3 main reasons why I think that is.

1) The 1st part of a day-in-the-life dino book usually tells a day-in-the-life story of a dino. 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that their stories are poorly-written. The same goes for Life: Being complete & in-depth is especially important to a day-in-the-life story that covers more than a day ( http://prehistoricpulp.blogspot.com/2007/07/raptor-red-by-robert-t-bakker-1995.html ); The problem is that Life is anything but, skipping & glossing over many important things in Deinonychus's life (E.g. Everything related to reproduction).

2) 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that their stories are poorly-illustrated. The same goes for Life: If you think Rey's Deinonychus is ugly, then you'll hate Penney's; The former is at least plausible; The latter isn't even that (E.g. Pronated hands, feathers that look more like bush viper scales, etc); Worse still, the latter is a "Sparkleraptor" ( http://babbletrish.deviantart.com/art/PSA-Addendum-177783393 ); Not only is that misleading, but also hypocritical (Quoting Penney: "Painting dinosaurs in bright colors…makes more sense than thinking that all dinosaurs were either gray or brown, which is how they were painted during the first half of the twentieth century").

3) The 2nd part of a day-in-the-life dino book usually explains the science behind the story. 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that they concentrate on the story with only limited emphasis on the science (which doesn't make sense to me given how much science there is behind a given story). The same doesn't go for Life, but only because there's almost no emphasis on the science: There's a map (See the Henry quote) & an artist's note; That's about it. In other words, not only do the dinos not act like dinos, but there's no scientific justification given for how they acted.*

*At best, Life's Deinonychus is more croc-like than dino-like. At worst, Life's Deinonychus is unlike any real animal. In reference to "At best", it's stated that "Deinonychus's mate sits on a buried clutch of eggs", presumably based on croc nest-guarding (Quoting GSPaul: "A female drapes part of her body in irregular poses atop a nest within which her eggs are deeply buried"). In actuality, pennaraptorans in general & Deinonychus in particular brooded their eggs ( http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/e06-033 ). In reference to "At worst", it's implied that animal packs are competition-based hierarchies, presumably based on "the notions of "alpha wolf" and "alpha dog"" ( http://io9.gizmodo.com/why-everything-you-know-about-wolf-packs-is-wrong-502754629 ). In actuality, wolf packs are families. The same goes for dino packs (Quoting Orellana/Rojas: "Cooperative hunting is executed by pairs, family groups, or sibling groups, and is generally related to cooperative breeding").
Quoting Henry: "The Cretaceous Period lasted from 146 million years ago until 65 million years ago. This map shows how the landmasses of the planet looked at the time of our story, 100 million years ago. The white outlines denote the modern shapes of the continents as we know them today.
Our story takes place in North America, in the great forest that existed beyond the western shore of the great inland sea called the Niobrara. The fossil remains of several different kinds of dinosaurian raptors...including Deinonychus...have been discovered here."

Sunday, January 22, 2017

My 17th Pair of Reviews

As an Art Evolved member, I post a pair of my reviews here every so often, the 1st being positive & the 2nd being negative. I'd greatly appreciate you reading & voting "Yes" for said reviews in the bolded links below. Besides wanting to make sure said reviews give a good idea of what to expect, they need all the "Yes" votes they can get because 1) the 1st is for a great book that deserves more attention, & 2) the 2nd is outnumbered by opposing reviews (which don't give a good idea of what to expect). Many thanks in advance.

P.S. For my previous reviews, see the following posts:
-My 1st-10th Pairs of Reviews: http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/06/my-10th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 11th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-11th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 12th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2015/11/my-12th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 13th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/01/my-13th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 14th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/04/my-14th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 15th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/08/my-15th-pair-of-reviews.html
-"My 16th Pair of Reviews": http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2016/11/my-16th-pair-of-reviews.html

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1 of a kind ( https://www.amazon.com/review/R385LV9OEXYSG8/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 5/5

Short version: If you want the only popular adult book about dino traces, get Martin's "Dinosaurs Without Bones: Dinosaur Lives Revealed by their Trace Fossils" (henceforth Bones). If you want the best adult day-in-the-life dino book, get Bones. If you want the most 1 of a kind adult dino book, get Bones.

Long version: Read on.

As you may have noticed, I usually review non-fiction dino books that either don't get enough praise for being good or don't get enough criticism for being bad. What's interesting about Bones is that it got a lot of praise for covering so much ground on dino traces, but little-to-no praise for how it covers said ground (which is what really makes it 1 of a kind). Not only is Bones the only popular adult book about dino traces, but also the best adult day-in-the-life dino book. In this review, I list the 2 main reasons why I think that is.

1) The 1st part of a day-in-the-life dino book usually tells a day-in-the-life story of a dino. 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that their stories are poorly-written. Thanks to Martin, Bones doesn't have that problem. In fact, Bones is basically a dino-centric version of Aardema's "Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale" written in the style of Bakker's "Raptor Red", but better: For 1, Chapter 1 tells a day-in-the-life story of a "big male Triceratops" & how its "aggressive movement...triggered overt and subtle changes in the behaviors of nearly every dinosaur nearby"; This is like Aardema's book ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO1K4wXy2CI ), but better because it's more realistic; For another, to paraphrase DoubleW ( http://prehistoricpulp.blogspot.com/2007/07/raptor-red-by-robert-t-bakker-1995.html ), Chapter 1 "serves as a vehicle for [Martin] to give science lessons in a user-friendly format"; This is like Bakker's book, but better because "most [of the dinos in Chapter 1] are from near the end of the Cretaceous Period (about 70 million years ago) and in an area defined approximately by Montana and Alberta, Canada."* This is especially apparent in the Martin quote.

2) The 2nd part of a day-in-the-life dino book usually explains the science behind the story. 1 of the major problems I have with many day-in-the-life dino books is that they concentrate on the story with only limited emphasis on the science (which doesn't make sense to me given how much science there is behind a given story). It'd be like "The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy: Extended Edition — Blu-ray" having 26 hours of film & only 11 hours of bonus material ( http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/movies/dvd/2011-06-30-lord-of-the-rings-dvd-extra_n.htm ). Thanks to Martin, Bones doesn't have that problem. In fact, Bones is the closest thing we have to an adult day-in-the-life dino book done right, LOTR style: Not only do Chapters 2-11 cover all of the dino traces in Chapter 1, but also all related dino traces (E.g. See the Martin quote; Not only does Chapter 8 cover dino "scat", but also dino stomach & intestinal contents, vomit, & urine); It helps that, like LOTR DVD extras, Chapters 2-11 are very well-organized, beginning with Triceratops tracks (in reference to the big male's "aggressive movement") in Chapter 2 & ending with sauropod trails (which made "the sunlit valley" itself possible) in Chapter 11.

If I could, I'd give Bones a 4.5/5. My only problem is the lack of paleoart (There's a series of color plates; That's about it): On the 1 hand, Bones is a "TRANSITION TO THE TECHNICAL" & thus doesn't have "lots of different dinosaurs fully restored" ( http://blogevolved.blogspot.com/2013/05/holtzs-dinosaur-lovers-bookshelf-article.html ); On the other hand, similar books do have "high quality pictures and graphs that break up the text" ( https://paleoaerie.org/2014/06/02/best-introduction-to-evolution-textbook/ ); At the very least, Chapter 1 should've been illustrated for obvious reasons. However, for the purposes of this review, I'll round up to 5/5.

*To quote Holtz ( http://dml.cmnh.org/1995Sep/msg00258.html ), "The fauna Bakker portrays is a very artificial one, combining genera from two different parts of the Early Cretaceous."
Quoting Martin: "In between the two Triceratops, a group of small feathered theropod dinosaurs with stubby forearms—similar to the Asian alvarezsaur Mononykus—and a nearby bunch of slightly larger ornithopod dinosaurs (Thescelosaurus) looked on warily. Each of these groups of dinosaurs had been striding unhurriedly across the floodplain, tolerating one another's presence, spurred on by intriguing scents wafting down the sunlit valley. Nevertheless, a charging Triceratops provided a good reason to temporarily abandon their longterm goals and deal with this more immediate problem.
In unison, they all looked up at the advancing Triceratops, its profile and rapidly increasing pace causing it to appear ever larger as it neared. Next to them, a mixed flock of toothed birds and pterosaurs all turned and aligned themselves with the wind at their backs. They began hopping while flapping their wings, and then were aloft, chattering loudly. This was all the motivation one of the more skittish theropods needed to start running, and the rest of his group followed suit. The ornithopods only hesitated a second or two before doing the same. First, though, more than a few of both species lightened the load before taking off, involuntarily voiding their bowels and leaving variably colored and sized scat, peppered with seeds, on top of their distinctive footprints. In her haste, one Thescelosaurus slipped on a muddy patch and fell on her side. She quickly righted herself and bolted to catch up with the others, leaving a long, smeared body impression on the sand among the tracks."

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The paleoart is the only good part ( https://www.amazon.com/review/RRMG7G6JUAPF7/ref=pe_1098610_137716200_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv ): 2/5

If you want the best digital paleoart, get Csotonyi's "The Paleoart of Julius Csotonyi". If you can't afford Csotonyi's book, get Stewart's "Why Did T. rex Have Short Arms?: And Other Questions about Dinosaurs" (henceforth Arms). Arms is some of Csotonyi's best work next to his Oxford University Museum of Natural History labels ( https://morethanadodo.com/2015/08/07/bringing-dinosaurs-to-life/ ). In terms of paleoart, Csotonyi is basically "Peter Zallinger, Doug Henderson and Greg Paul" combined into 1 awesome being ( https://www.amazon.com/Paleoart-Julius-Csotonyi/dp/1781169128 ). Unfortunately, the paleoart is the only good part of Arms.

As you may remember, I generally dislike the dino Q&A genre for 3 main reasons: 1) Redundant questions; 2) Vague answers; 3) Bad Q&As (I.e. Stupid or misleading questions & misleading or wrong answers). Arms, while not the worst Children's dino Q&A book, is still very bad:
-Redundant questions? Uncheck (There are only 16 questions), but Arms more than makes up for this in the following ways.
-Vague answers? Check times infinity! The 1st Stewart quote is the worst because it answers 1 of the biggest questions in science with a vague "just so" story (See the penultimate paragraph).
-Bad Q&As? Check times infinity! The 1st Stewart quote is the worst because it fails on many levels: It contradicts itself from a previous Q&A (See the 2nd Stewart quote; If "birds are a group of dinosaurs", then people did, & still do, "live at the same time as dinosaurs"); It avoids using the word "evolution" (as does the rest of Arms); It fails to understand that "developed" =/= "evolved" ( http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/04/2/l_042_02.html ); It fails to get the facts straight (E.g. To quote Witmer, Archaeopteryx looked like "just another feathered predatory dinosaur"; Each wing had 3 LONG fingers); It fails to explain what it means by "dino-bird". & if that's not bad enough, it isn't even illustrated with Csotonyi's Archaeopteryx, but with a stock photo of a shameless rip-off of Sibbick's Archaeopteryx with a scaly dragon face & "Wings...but with hands!" ( http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/illustration/illustration-of-archaeopteryx-preys-on-a-dragonfly-in-stock-graphic/82828488 ).*

To sum up, I recommend getting Arms ONLY for the paleoart. If you want to know "Why Did T. rex Have Short Arms", google "Wyrex’s fancy footwork and tender hands: Get to know this tyrannosaur’s softer side".

*Google "Vintage Dinosaur Art: The Age of Dinosaurs" for "Wings...but with hands!"
Quoting Stewart: "Are there any dinosaurs alive today?
Believe it or not, birds are the modern relatives of dinosaurs. In fact, T.rex is more closely related to a blue jay than to an alligator.
Most paleontologists think that birds are a group of dinosaurs that developed around 150 million years ago. Archaeopteryx...may be the earliest true bird discovered so far. It lived in central Europe about 150 million years ago.
Archaeopteryx looked like a cross between a lizard and a bird. Like a lizard, it had sharp teeth and a long tail. Its body was covered in feathers, and it had wings. But each wing had three small fingers with claws on the ends.
Scientists think that feathers first developed to help dinosaurs stay warm. Over time, feathers became larger and dino-bird bodies became more equipped to fly. At some point, feathered dinosaurs got a split-second of extra "lift" when they pounced on prey. This gave them an advantage over other small dinosaurs and helped them survive. As their bodies continued to change, dino-birds learned to glide. Eventually, they took flight.
By the time an asteroid struck Earth 65 million years ago, many kinds of dino-birds lived all over the world. Some of them survived the disaster and developed into the birds we see today." 
Quoting Stewart: "Did people live at the same time as dinosaurs?
No way! The earliest humans walked the earth around 2.3 million years ago. By then, dinosaurs had been dead and gone for more than 60 million years.
Our ancient relatives shared the world with large herbivores such as woolly mammoths and giant ground sloths. They worried about being attacked by cave bears and saber-tooth cats. None of these larger mammals are alive today. They are extinct. Scientists are still trying to figure out why they disappeared."