The Dinosaurs Rediscovered review – a transformation in our understanding


This post is by Tom Holland from Books | The Guardian


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Colour, speed, how they ate ... our knowledge of dinosaurs has undergone a revolution, as this expert survey makes clear

“Dinosaur” is still sometimes used as a pejorative. The image of a lumbering swamp monster doomed to extinction has proved too appealing an insult for some to abandon. They should beware, though. Nothing is more out-of-date and stuck-in-the-mud than to imagine that dinosaurs were anything other than astonishingly successful. Over the past half century, a palaeontological revolution has transformed our understanding of them. Recently, it has been picking up ever more dramatic speed. “One by one,” Michael Benton writes, “the speculations about evolution, locomotion, feeding, growth, reproduction, physiology, and, finally, colour have fallen to the drive of transformation.” Dinosaurs these days are the cutting edge.

Benton’s new book explains why. No one with even the faintest interest in the subject will want to miss it. He is one of the ...