Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures


MacMillan Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals: A Visual Who’s Who of Prehistoric life
Dougal Dixon, Barry Cox, R.J.G. Savage, and Brian Gardiner (Foreword by Malcolm C. McKenna)
Hardcover and Paperback
312 pages
1988 - New York: MacMillan Publ. Co.
out of print


Collins Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals
Barry Cox, R.J.G. Savage, Brian Gardiner; Dougal Dixon (Foreword by Barry Cox)
Hardcover
312 pages
1988 - Collins Publishers Australia
out of print



In Association with Amazon.com The Simon and Schuster Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures : A Visual Who's Who of Prehistoric Life by Douglas Palmer, Barry Cox (Editor), R. J. G. Savage, Brian Gardiner, Douglas Dixon
Hardcover
312 pages
Revised and Updated edition (October 1999)
in print

This is a very good non-technical introduction to prehistoric vertebrates.  Although there is a brief coverage of basic background topics - how fossils form, continental drift, etc - by the far the most interesting, and indeed the bulk, of the book is the coverage it gives to a large number of individual genera (more than 600 altogether, from primitive fish to Pleistocene mammals), each of which is illustrated by a specially commissioned full-colour painting. It is the sheer number and diversity of creatures covered here, that makes this book so interesting.  (But even that diversity is just a tiny fraction of all the types of prehistoric creatures that are known to science).  The realism of the art work tends to vary - some drawings seem to me more realistic than others, but I suppose that's just personal taste. The art work is still of good quality thoughout though, and often represents the only life-reconstructions available for creatures otehrwsie shown only as drawings of skeletons in palaeontological textbooks.  Obviously, the colour schemes are speculative, since it is not known what these animals really looked like.  The accompanying text is brief and non-technical but still clear and informative, and gives a basic introduction to that type of animal. The best thing about this book is that it's not just about dinosaurs (although these are covered in detail) but also deals with many other types of vertebrate creatures as well.  My only real criticism is that despite the title - "animals" - no invertebrate animals were included, no trilobites, eurypterids, nautiloids etc. Still, you can only cover so much in the space available, and this book does a pretty good job.

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