The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte
Release date: April 24, 2018
Genre: Nonfiction (Science, History)
My Rating: 🍪🍪🍪🍪
I’ve always been intrigued by dinosaurs, and liked them in a vague “I like dinosaurs,” kind of way, so when I saw this book starting to pop up all over the place, I figured it was time to actually learn something about them. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs chronicles exactly what you would expect from the title, opening on a young, dinosaur-less earth, and taking the reader through the Dawn of the Dinosaurs all the way to their demise. Needless to say, it’s a dense book. There’s a lot of science between the covers, and a lot of names I skimmed because I was too lazy to try to sound out the unfamiliar scientific language.
I definitely learned a lot through this book. The first segment that really captured my interest was the discussion of dinosauromorphs, the cat-sized, but otherwise pretty much identical precursors to the dinosaurs. The book also spoke a lot about the changing geography and climate on earth. When the dinosaurs first began to rise up, they existed in a hot and humid Pangea, surrounded by a single ocean, Panthalassa. By the end of the Triassic period, we learn that Pangea began to split up, inducing violent volcanoes that destroyed many species. This is when the dinosaurs were able to become dominant. During the Triassic period, there were fairly few dinosaurs, and they were living right along with the dinosauromorphs. I had never before given much thought to the fact that there were other, non-dinosaur creatures chilling alongside dinosaurs.
Besides providing a general timeline of the reign of the dinos, Brusatte also speaks to the anatomy of different types of the creatures. He helps to explain how sauropods were able to grow to such unbelievable size, sprinkling his own research experiences and those of others throughout to help explain how we have come to know this information. In fact, the entire book is filled with personal anecdotes and historical discoveries of various paleontologists. I didn’t enjoy these sections of the book quite as much as the rest of it, but if you’re interested in some background on great paleontological discoveries through the ages, there’s a lot of information in there for you.
There is also quite a bit of focus on the Tyrannosaurs, and how T.Rex got its footing as the King of dinosaurs. Additionally, I finally got an answer as to what those teensy arms are doing on such a giant beast. So as not to spoil anything, I’ll let you read the book yourself to get the answer.
If you have any interest in dinosaurs or prehistoric earth, I would definitely recommend checking out this read! I took the liberty of skimming through a few sections that were less intriguing to me, but regardless, I learned a tremendous amount. I would also recommend whipping up a batch of these Death by Chocolate Chip Cookies to snack on while you read.