Dynamics of Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Giants

Sneaking a peek in those books in the back of the library during elementary school, magazines when you got a little older, claiming it’s a Discovery Channel special when your mother asks what you’re watching in your locked bedroom, and finally just plain renting and buying so you can finally watch, in all its splendor, the wrestling, yelling, mating, and killing. Yes, you love dinosaurs and the books, magazines, movies, and specials that are about them.

But your older now. You just can’t watch four specials a night. Maybe a good T. rex and Triceratops fight to the death once a week or so. And really, the action was nice, but its quality that you’re looking for now, not quantity.

Well have I got the book for you! Dynamics of Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Giants by R. McNeill Alexander.

How do you estimate the weight of a dinosaur? How fast could they move? Could pterosaurs actually fly, or did they glide? What about the swimming movements of marine reptiles? Were any of them warm blooded? And more importantly, how do I know the person answering these questions isn’t full of shit?

As much as we’ve been taught to believe it, palaeontologists aren’t gods or supermen. They’re regular ordinary people just like you and me, only weirder. They have to follow the rules of science, and bow low to the laws of physics. When they make a statement they have to back that up with evidence, reason, and logic.

This book provides the evidence, reason, and logic. In plain english it explains how you can answer all the above questions and more. It takes the pretty picture of the dinosaur and turns it into a living organism that had to deal with stresses on bones, center of balance, aerodynamics, thermoregulation, mating, and predators.

And the best part is, now that you’re older, you won’t have to keep it hidden from your parents.

Alexander, R. M. 1989. Dynamics of dinosaurs and other extinct giants. Columbia University Press, New York. 167pp. ISBN 0-231-06666