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23 January 2023
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, by Steve Brusatte
A terrifically told update on dinosaur paleoecology and evolution by an enthusiastic practitioner of the Mesozoic arts. Brusatte paints himself as coming of age in the time of Jurassic Park, an obsessed ‘fanboy’ of dinosaurs and celebrity paleontologists, who then matures and innovates through an impressive series of field experiences and methodological devices to become a professor, author, and leader in the field. Brusatte’s own story isn’t the centerpiece of …
20 March 2019
The Dinosaur Artist, by Paige Williams
A book review of Paige Williams’ “The Dinosaur Artist,” a tale of international trade in dinosaur skeletons.
23 February 2019
Michael Crichton vs. Charles Dickens
Because of my commute, I consume multiple books at the same time. I listen to one in the car, and I read another (or more than one other) at home, on traditional paper. This past week, I read Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton and listened to David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens. I chose the Dickens volume just to have something to listen to that wasn’t NPR coverage of our disastrous …
24 April 2018
T. rex and the Crater of Doom, by Walter Alvarez
Walter Alvarez has a new book out, and its publication reminded me that though I read and appreciated The Mountains of St. Francis, I had never read his most famous work — the account of how he and his father and a team of other researchers zeroed in on an extraterrestrial impact explanation for the end-Cretaceous extinction. So last week I read T. rex and the Crater of Doom (1997). …
4 November 2014
Joints highlighted with hematite, Anapra Sandstone, Cristo Rey
Good morning. Here are two images from last March’s “Border to Beltway” field trip to West Texas, on the north flanks of the Cristo Rey laccolith. Specifically, these are Cretaceous strata of the Anapra Sandstone, looking at the bedding plane of the rocks. Cutting across bedding are a series of fractures (joints) that have been highlighted by the oxidation of iron (rusting) along their edges. In the first photo, the …
27 August 2014
In July, I found a dinosaur bone in Dinosaur Provincial Park! It was lying in a wash coming off a small mesa, and sure enough, when the students and I walked up the little draw, we came to in situ bones poking out of the cliff above. After showing it to the students, I put it back down exactly where I had found it, of course.
6 February 2013
Dinosaur footprints in west Texas
Everything’s bigger in Texas, even the footprints…
10 October 2012
Dinosaur eggs from Devil’s Coulee, on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller
Each one is the size (and shape) of a nice sourdough boule – Because they were in a glass case, I couldn’t get a good sense of scale in the same focal plane.
26 September 2012
Drumheller portrait of a field class
That’s my posse of field course students (plus co-instructor Pete Berquist, fifth from the left) at Drumheller, Alberta, in July.
20 September 2012
Pachycephalosaurs were boneheads
This is a display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta: It shows the domed skull of a pachycephalosaur: And it shows a virtual cross-section through that skull, revealing the size of the brain it protects: Weird animal. Great museum display: it says it all!