Friday, April 28, 2017

Flying Dinosaurs – Book Review

Flying Dinosaurs: How Fearsome Reptiles Became Birds
by John Pickrell

Birds are dinosaurs. Yeah, you read it correctly. Birds are dinosaurs! Nearly 10,000 species of birds living in the world today are dinosaurs – these include the minuscule bee hummingbird, the huge ostrich, and the modest chicken! (To know some of the implications, click here.) To quench my thirst for knowledge of this, I embarked on a journey to finding a great resource book. And... I found this book! Honestly, it was quite costly (around 420,000 IDR or 31.50 USD) for a book this 'thin'; however, it was absolutely well worth it. I would definitely recommend anyone who wants to dig deeper into the dinosaur-bird notion to grab this book as soon as possible. (Please be aware that there is a lot of paleontological and dinosaurian terminology in this book. Although it contains a glossary that can help you with it, I still think you should already be familiar with the jargon and it might not be suitable for newbies.)

First of all, I would really like to commend the author, John Pickrell, for his eloquence and magnificence in writing the book. Personally I fell head over heels in love with his writing style! Your attention will be completely drawn to this book and you will feel the indescribable beauty of it as John tells the dino-bird tale. The award-winning journalist and the editor of Australian Geographic magazine is a master at engaging readers in his Pickrellish world. I can assure you that Flying Dinosaurs: How Fearsome Reptiles Became Birds is a real page-turner, thanks to the brilliant author. (actually John has recently published another book titled Weird Dinosaurs: The Strange New Fossils Challenging Everything We Thought We Knew, which I, without a doubt, will buy once I have the money) Regarding the content, Feathered Dinosaurs presents a huge body of information and covers many areas, including the coloration of dinosaur feathers and Jack Horner's 'chickenosaurus' project. Another point that I like about this book is that it incorporates commentaries from many experts such as Canadian paleontologist Phil Currie and Chinese paleontologist Xu Xing. Although not many, there are a number of illustrations concentrated in the middle of this book which you can feast your eyes on. Finally, there is a mini-dictionary at the back which boasts rich information about species of feathered dinosaurs including how to pronounce their (genus) names!

However, like dinosaurs themselves, dinosaurology is constantly evolving as more and more discoveries are being made all over the world, and Flying Dinosaurs, which was published about 3.5 years ago, certainly needs updating. What are your thoughts on this book? Write your comment below!

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