The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries

Amazing Fossils and the People Who Found Them

Donald R. Prothero

Columbia University Press

The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries

Pub Date: July 2019

ISBN: 9780231186025

488 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $35.00£30.00

Pub Date: July 2019

ISBN: 9780231546461

488 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $34.99£30.00

The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries

Amazing Fossils and the People Who Found Them

Donald R. Prothero

Columbia University Press

Today, any kid can rattle off the names of dozens of dinosaurs. But it took centuries of scientific effort—and a lot of luck—to discover and establish the diversity of dinosaur species we now know. How did we learn that Triceratops had three horns? Why don’t many paleontologists consider Brontosaurus a valid species? What convinced scientists that modern birds are relatives of ancient Velociraptor?

In The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries, Donald R. Prothero tells the fascinating stories behind the most important fossil finds and the intrepid researchers who unearthed them. In twenty-five vivid vignettes, he weaves together dramatic tales of dinosaur discoveries with what modern science now knows about the species to which they belong. Prothero takes us from eighteenth-century sightings of colossal bones taken for biblical giants through recent discoveries of enormous predators even larger than Tyrannosaurus. He recounts the escapades of the larger-than-life personalities who made modern paleontology, including scientific rivalries like the nineteenth-century “Bone Wars.” Prothero also details how to draw the boundaries between species and explores debates such as whether dinosaurs had feathers, explaining the findings that settled them or keep them going. Throughout, he offers a clear and rigorous look at what paleontologists consider sound interpretation of evidence. An essential read for any dinosaur lover, this book teaches us to see an ancient world ruled by giant majestic creatures anew.
Solid proof that dinosaurs through scientific eyes are no less fascinating than they are in the movies. Kirkus Reviews
[Prothero] delivers another winning popular science book...dinosaur buffs will be delighted, fascinated, and entertained. Publishers Weekly
Excellent summer reading! Greg Laden Blog
Another entertaining trip through the history of science, this time focusing on paleontology. Physics Today
A grand tour of dinosaurs, from one of our most prolific natural history writers. I've been reading Donald Prothero's books since I began studying geology in college, and here he delivers again, with a romping chronicle of some of the most charismatic dinosaurs and the equally fascinating people who have studied them. Steve Brusatte, University of Edinburgh paleontologist and New York Times best-selling author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
This is a highly readable and compelling historical tour of our discovery of dinosaurs, and it focuses on many fascinating stories. It provides equal balance on both human history and the lives and adventures of the people behind the relevant dinosaurs, and scientific thinking on the dinosaurs themselves and adjacent areas of controversy. Darren Naish, author of Dinosaurs: How They Lived and Evolved
This book is excellent. Rather than simply a profile of twenty-five dinosaurs, it puts each of these in context of its discovery and significance in terms of the science of paleontology, as well as comparisons with close relations. Thus, it covers hundreds of dinosaurs, not just twenty-five. Thomas R. Holtz Jr., University of Maryland
Preface
Acknowledgments
Part I. In the Beginning
1. Megalosaurus: The “Great Lizard,” the “Scrotum Humanum”, and the First Named Dinosaur
2. Iguanodon: Gideon Mantell, Louis Dollo, and the First Dinosaur Fauna
3. Cetiosaurus: The “Whale Lizard,” Richard Owen, and the First Known Sauropod
4. Hadrosaurus: Joseph Leidy and the First American Dinosaur
5. Eoraptor: The First Dinosaurs
Part II. The Long-Necked Giants
6. Plateosaurus: Ancestors of the Giants
7. Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus: Marsh, Cope, and the Bone Wars
8. Diplodocus: The Real “Jurassic Park” and Carnegie’s Gift
9. Giraffatitan: The Tallest of the Tall, and the Tendaguru
10. Patagotitan: Who’s the Biggest of Them All?
Part III. Red in Tooth and Claw: The Theropods
11. Coelophysis: The Little Dinosaur of Ghost Ranch
12. Cryolophosaurus: Denizen of the Polar Darkness
13. Spinosaurus: Lost Giants of Egypt
14. Tyrannosaurus: King of the Tyrant Reptiles
15. Giganotosaurus: Biggest Predator of All?
16. Deinocheirus: “Terrible Hands” Lead to Big Surprises
17. Velociraptor: “Terrible Claws” and the Dinosaur Renaissance
18. Sinosauropteryx: Feathered Dinosaurs and the Origin of Birds
Part IV. Horns and Spikes and Armor and Duck Beaks: The Ornithischians
19. Heterodontosaurus: The Origin of Ornithischians
20. Stegosaurus: The “Roofed Lizard” and the Thagomizer
21. Ankylosaurus: Armored Dinosaurs and “Mr. Bones”
22. Corythosaurus: Duckbills with Headgear
23. Stegoceras: The “Unicorn Dinosaur” and the Boneheads
24. Protoceratops: The Griffin Legend and the Origin of Horned Dinosaurs
25. Triceratops: The “Dinosaurian Bison” and the Last of the Dinosaurs
Index

About the Author

Donald R. Prothero is a paleontology and geology researcher, teacher, and author. He is adjunct professor of geological sciences at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and research associate in vertebrate paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. His Columbia University Press books include The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the Wonders of Evolution (2015) and The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks: Tales of Important Geological Puzzles and the People Who Solved Them (2018).