Naturally, Dave's opus aims further than those of us who have a ready supply of tyrannosaur toys to pose alongside our books. As such, TTC opens with primers on anatomy, scientific nomenclature and cladistics, much of which will be very familiar to your typical LITC reader, but will prove immensely informative to those with a more passing interest in Mesozoic megafauna. While you can probably skip these sections if you know your temporal fenestra from your occipital condyle, you may find them a useful memory-jogger in places all the same, and they occupy but a tiny portion of the book as a whole. There's also an introduction to the clade Dinosauria which, while again likely to be very familiar stuff to readers of this blog, is still neatly explained, concise and enjoyable to read, in addition to providing a handy introduction for the less saurian-inclined. Dave also debunks a few long-standing myths about dinosaurs, and firmly pushes the birds-are-dinosaurs message, all of which is quite laudable.
|Further photos courtesy of Bloomsbury|
While much of the evidence will be familiar, there are sure to be wonderful surprises in store for many readers, and the book is canny in taking an approach that heartily encompasses comparisons with living animals where appropriate, pointing out where tyrannosaurs were similar to, and differed substantially from, their extant relatives and analogues. This is no book of hoary clichés about unstoppable tank-o-sauruses viciously crunching their way through anything stupid enough to get in their way, but a considered look at a group of animals' survival through the years. Much is made of how tyrannosaurs would mostly have hunted younger, vulnerable animals, rather than engaged in thrilling Carnivora Forum duels with dangerous, multi-tonne opponents; how they would have spent much of the day resting; how they changed as they grew, and how this compares to modern animals like crocodiles; how much variation there can be within a species, and how we shouldn't make assumptions based on very limited data; and so on and so on.
Oh, and one more thing - kudos to Scott Hartman for the sterling work, as always!
|Dave enjoys a pyjama party with T. rex. Maybe.|