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Publications Dinosaurs: the Science Behind the Stories
Dinosaurs: the Science Behind the
Dinosaurs: The Science Behind the Stories can be ordered online through AGI or on
This book was the result of a collaborative effort between the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, The Paleontological Society, and the American Geological Institute.

The book’s editors, SVP members Judith G. Scotchmoor, Dale A. Springer, Brent H. Breithaupt, and Anthony R. Fiorillo, wanted a book that was different from the usual “cool info about dinosaurs” variety. They wanted to go deeper, to show how science is used to learn about dinosaurs. They explain further in this excerpt from the Foreward:

Dinosaurs and paleontology often provide the first steps that children take to learn more about the natural world. By the time those children begin school, more than likely they have mastered an “encyclopedic” knowledge of dinosaurs — their names, where they lived, when they lived, and on and on. They are primed for learning that Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor are not beasts of mythology, but are part of a now extinct natural world, and that science provides a way of better understanding that world. They are primed for learning more about science.

This book is much more than another dinosaur book. It focuses on how we know what we know. It is meant for the teacher, the parent, and the grandparent who can help that eager child move beyond the visual portrayal of a dinosaur to the science that provides that image. By concentrating on science as a process, we can provide students with more than just the facts. We can teach them how science works and thus provide them with skills that will be useful for their lifetimes.

This book also satisfies the thirst of the “more mature” dinosaur buff. It arouses the imagination and inspires further questions. It reminds the reader that paleontology is more than dinosaurs. Paleontology provides a record of past environmental changes and life’s responses to those changes. As such, paleontology can inform us about some of the dramatic patterns of change that are taking place today, about the disruptive influence of humanity on these patterns, and about how these changes may shape our future world.

The breadth of topics covered and the chapter authors are given in the Table of Contents:

Table of Contents

Sample pages from Dinosaurs: the Science Behind the
Sample pages from Dinosaurs: the Science
            Behind the Stories

I. Setting the Stage

Unearthing the Past by Dale A. Springer and Judith G. Scotchmoor
The Science of Paleontology: New Views on Ancient Bones by Scott D. Sampson

II. Dinosaurs: a Time and Place

Dinosaur Evolution: From Where Did They Come and Where Did They Go? by Anthony J. Martin
Chasing Tyrannosaurus and Deinonychus Around the Tree of Life: Classifying Dinosaurs by Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
It Takes Time: Dinosaurs and the Geologic Timescale by Spencer G. Lucas
Where Dinosaurs Roamed the Earth by Catherine A. Forster
Revealing the Whole Picture: Reconstructing an Ecosystem by David E. Fastovsky
The Supporting Cast: Dinosaur Contemporaries by Nicholas Fraser

III. Dinosaurs as Living Animals

Evidence of Dinosaur Social Behavior by Jack Horner
Dinosaur Physiology: Hot, Cold, or Lukewarm? by Armand de Ricqlès
Feathers and Flight: Current Ideas by Philip J. Currie
Dinosaur Extinction: Changing Views by J. David Archibald

IV. Fossil Forensics: From the Field to the Lab

Taphonomy: The Story of Death and Destruction by Anthony R. Fiorillo
Walking in Their Footprints and What They Left Us: Dinosaur Tracks and Traces by Joanna L. Wright and Brent H. Breithaupt
Raising the Dead: Excavating Dinosaurs by Daniel J. Chure
Applying 21st Century Technology to Very Old Animals by Ralph E. Chapman, Neffra A. Matthews, Mary H. Schweitzer, and Celeste C. Horner

V. Depicting Dinosaurs: How We Build, View, and Portray Them

Putting the Pieces Together: Dinosaur Restoration by Robert F. Walters and Tess Kissinger
Dinosaur Superlatives by Peter Dodson
The Art of Illustrating Science by Dale E. Springer and Brian Platt
Dinosaurs in the Movies: Fiction and Fact by Donald F. Glut

Order Dinosaurs: the Science Behind the Stories (ISBN 0-922152-62-4; 20 chapters — 192 pages) online at Single copies are $29.95; list price $23.95 for members of AGI member societies and teachers. Prices do not include shipping and handling. Bulk order discounts available. Contact AGI for details at

American Geological Institute
4220 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22302
Phone: (703) 379-2480
Fax: (703) 379-7563

The book can also be ordered on