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Grave Secrets of Dinosaurs

Soft Tissues and Hard Science

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Many of us have seen dinosaur bones and skeletons, maybe even dinosaur eggs...but what did those fearsome animals really look like in the flesh? Soft-tissue fossils give tantalizing clues about the appearance and physiology of the ancient animals. In this exciting book, paleontologist Phillip Manning presents the most astonishing dinosaur fossil excavations of the past 100 years—including the recent discovery of a remarkably intact dinosaur mummy in the Badlands of North Dakota.

Bone structure is just the beginning of our knowledge today, thanks to amazing digs like these. Drawing on new breakthroughs and cutting-edge techniques of analysis, Dr. Manning takes us on a thrilling, globe-spanning tour of dinosaur mummy finds—from the first such excavation in 1908 to a baby dinosaur unearthed in 1980, from a dino with a heart in South Dakota to titanosaur embryos in Argentina. And he discusses his own groundbreaking analysis of "Dakota," discovered by Tyler Lyson.

Using state-of-the-art technology to scan and analyse this remarkable discovery, National Geographic and Dr. Manning create an incredibly lifelike portrait of Dakota. The knowledge to be gained from this exceedingly rare find, and those that came before it, will intrigue dinosaur-loving readers of all ages.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 07, 2008 – In 1999, Tyler Lyson, a high school student with a passion for fossils, stumbled upon an extremely rare find, a nearly-complete dinosaur mummy; once excavated, its remarkably preserved tissue-"skin, bone, ligaments and tendons"-would give scientists their first opportunity to observe the structure and orientation of dinosaur muscles. Lyson called in University of Manchester paleontologist Manning to help extract Dakota the hadrosaur, and here Manning tells the story of the North Dakota discovery, making a detailed account of a paleontologist's day-by-day work with interesting jaunts into the history of fossil-hunting (a little-known pastime in the Wild West) from the Sternberg family in the 19th century up through the 2000 discovery of Leonardo the hadrosaur in Montana. The core of the book describes the extensive preparations and the excruciating care by which the team liberated their quarry; wrinkles along the way include the fossil of a crocodilian creature lodged in the hadrosaur's abdomen, an enormous NASA CT scanner employed to examine the mummy's interior, and intact pollen found in the dino's stomach. While work on Dakota will continue for years, Manning's description of the job so far gives readers a satisfying look at paleontology in (laborious, exacting) action.

Customer Reviews

Good book, but...

This is a very good book and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in Paleontology or Dinosaurs in general. Dr. Manning knows his subject matter very well and is a good writer (that combination is unfortunately far to rare). The book is engaging, even when Dr. Manning is talking about very technical subjects.

My only complaint with this book is that it was rushed to market too soon to meet some apparently arbitrary deadline. There are too many places where Dr. Manning is forced to say something to the effect of, "This could be a really fascinating discovery but we'll have to wait for the results of the tests to know for sure." Why not wait until the test results are in, then publish?

Don't let that keep you from reading this book, however...


Grave Secrets of Dinosaurs
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Science & Nature
  • Published: Jan 08, 2008
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings