From the outback of Australia to the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and the savanna of Madagascar, the award-winning science writer and dinosaur enthusiast John Pickrell embarks on a world tour of new finds, meeting the fossil hunters who work at the frontier of discovery. He reveals the dwarf dinosaurs unearthed by an eccentric Transylvanian baron; an aquatic, crocodile-snouted carnivore bigger than T. rex that once lurked in North African waterways; a Chinese dinosaur with wings like a bat; and a Patagonian sauropod so enormous it weighed more than two commercial jet airliners.
Other surprising discoveries hail from Alaska, Siberia, Canada, Burma, and South Africa. Why did dinosaurs grow so huge? How did they spread across the world? Did they all have feathers? What do sauropods have in common with 1950s vacuum cleaners? The stuff of adventure movies and scientific revolutions, Weird Dinosaurs examines the latest breakthroughs and new technologies that are radically transforming our understanding of the distant past. Pickrell opens a vivid portal to a brand-new age of fossil discovery, in which fossil hunters are routinely redefining what we know and how we think about prehistory's most iconic and fascinating creatures.
Pickrell (Flying Dinosaurs), editor of Australian Geographic, dishes more dirt on dinosaurs, focusing as much attention on the humans who scour the Earth in search of dinosaur fossils as he does on the fossils themselves. Some of his stories are fascinating, such as his account of how Transylvanian aristocrat Franz Baron Nopcsa von Felso -Szilv s moved between hunting for dinosaur bones in Romania and serving as a spy in Ottoman Albania while plotting to be named king of Albania, but others are somewhat pedestrian. Each of Pickrell's 11 chapters focuses on a geographical region and catalogues the specimens found there, with a majority of the attention paid to the latest discoveries. Readers learn of beautiful opalised dinosaur bones from Australia and a crested dinosaur found approximately 13,000 feet up Antarctica's Mt. Kirkpatrick, demonstrating that dinosaurs were widely distributed across the globe. Unlike his previous book, this one doesn't offer much insight into the evolution of behavior or anatomy, though he does touch on the evolution of feathers and extremely long necks in sauropods. Despite the title, the dinosaurs Pickrell discusses don't seem that weird, but given that the "rate of discovery has been increasing nearly exponentially," something more strange is bound to appear soon. Illus.