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Wanda's Book Reviews

I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles.  (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).

Currently reading

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Ann J. Lane
Wizard and Glass
Stephen King, Dave McKean
River of Blue Fire
Tad Williams
Richard Ford
Progress: 36/420 pages

Reading progress update: I've read 229 out of 416 pages.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Stephen Brusatte


So, I used to volunteer as a docent (education volunteer) at the Calgary Zoo.  The zoo has a Prehistoric Park, containing a number of life-size dinosaur models and a sculptured back-drop with plants as appropriate to the time period as possible.  While I was a volunteer, the dinosaur section was one of my favourites and I spent a lot of time keeping up with the latest research.  Since I stopped being a volunteer there, I have let my research slip.


As a result, I was really interested in the research on T. rex ancestors.  It's fascinating to me that they were there, just small and not very noticeable, right from the break-up of Pangaea.  I can see where I'm going to be reading a few academic papers to get myself caught up to speed.


OK, now my complaint:  how can you write a whole section on Tyrannosaurs and only mention Phil Currie once?  The man is a theropod expert, especially Tyrannosauridae.  Don't take my (admittedly biased) word for it.  Talk to Wikipedia:




Having bitched about that, now I can at least say that Brusatte & I agree that Phil is one of the nicest human beings on the planet (p. 215).


I remember when the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology was digging at Dry Island Buffalo Jump (one of the digs mentioned on page 215).  Dry Island is just north of my home town and my family often used to picnic there, after church on Sundays.  I even remember seeing the dig site, covered with tarps.


Phil Currie was trying to retrace Barnum Brown's footsteps and find his Albertosaur quarry.  Phil took photos from BB's expedition and starting rafting down the Red Deer River, comparing the photos to the environment all the way along.  They would frequently stop and scramble up to look-out spots, trying to match skylines & objects.  In this painstaking way, he rediscovered the Albertosaur dig site and was able to excavate lots of Albertosaur remains.


I get that Brusatte is the next generation of researchers, but I resent that he gives such short shrift to Bob Bakker, Jack Horner, and Phil Currie.  It's their research and hard work that has given him the platform that he's using to base his own research on.


Okay, rant over.