Dinosaurs of the British Isles
by Dean Lomax and Nobumichi Tamura
Siri Scientific Press (2014) 978-0-9574530-5-0 RRP £33.00
416 pp, 240 x 165 mm, soft cover, 800+ colour photographs & illustrations
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Proc. Geol. Assoc. (2014) ...a truly encyclopaedic coverage of all British dinosaur species. It is absolutely up to date on the taxomony of the material, with all the new names recently introduced for British ornithischians included. Search as I might, I found no omissions. This is a thorough, scholarly work presented in a format accessible to everyone. Every dinosaur worker in the world should have a copy.
PalAss Newsl. (2014) Dinosaurs of the British Isles is easily the single best reference on British dinosaurs that has ever been produced.
Scientific American.com (2015) Over 400 pages long, beautifully produced and designed and absolutely stuffed full of colour photos and life reconstructions, it’s a lavish and comprehensive guide to the Mesozoic dinosaurs of Britain - the most complete version of this sort of thing published so far. ... the key thing about this book is its use of imagery. The book is packed with visuals: with beautiful, large, high-fidelity images of fossils, with photos of field sites and museum displays, with skeletal reconstructions, and with numerous life reconstructions. Even if the text were useless or execrable (which it isn’t), I would tell people to buy the book for its pictures alone, especially the specimen photos. There are pages and pages and pages of them. Many exceed in quality the only existing published pictures of the specimens concerned, and it’s obvious that Dean went to extraordinary trouble to obtain them.
Entered for the Royal Society and Society of Biology book awards 2014-2015
Foreword by Paul Barrett (Natural History Museum London)
With the exception of dedicated dinosaur fans, few members of the British public realise that the rocks beneath their feet have yielded one of the best dinosaur fossil records from anywhere in the world. News of the latest spectacular discoveries from China, the USA, Canada and Argentina have to some extent overshadowed the material that has been painstakingly extracted from the coastal cliffs and inland quarries of the British Isles for nearly 200 years.However, the UK can justifiably call itself the home of dinosaur studies, as discoveries made in the early part of the nineteenth century – from the mudstones, sandstones and limestones of southern and central England – were the first to reveal the former existence of these fabulous animals, which astounded scientists and the public alike. Since the early discoveries of Iguanodon, Megalosaurus and Hylaeosaurus, the trio of animals that formed the basis for Sir Richard Owen’s concept of his terrible lizards or Dinosauria’, numerous other dinosaurs have been found in the UK. Few, however, have achieved the levels of fame found by their North America cousins, whose names, like Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops, are much more familiar, not least due to their frequent appearances in Hollywood blockbusters. It may surprise some to know that well over 100 dinosaur species have been named on the basis of discoveries from the UK, ranging from species based on single isolated bones, to those known from several complete skeletons. While it is true that the Mesozoic rocks of the UK have not provided as many complete dinosaur skeletons as those from elsewhere in the world, several British dinosaurs are genuinely among the best known, including Hypsilophodon, Mantellisaurus and Scelidosaurus, each of which is known from at least several complete, or almost complete, skeletons. Moreover, given the relatively small land area of the UK this record is both remarkable and amazingly diverse – it ranges from some of the earliest dinosaurs (from the Late Triassic), through to the onset of the Late Cretaceous, and is particularly rich in the remains of Middle Jurassic and Early Cretaceous dinosaurs, which have poor records elsewhere in the world (with the exception of China and,to some extent, Patagonia). Also, with the notable omission of horned and domed dinosaurs,all major dinosaur groups are represented in the UK. So, this small set of islands has had a disproportionate influence not only on the historical development of dinosaur studies, but also on what we know about their diversity and lifestyles. Although the majority of British dinosaur material was found historically, due to the fact that all quarrying, mining, and tunnel, road, and canal construction was carried out by hand (thus giving ample opportunity to find material), new finds are still made on a regular basis. For example, the past decade has witnessed the naming of several new British dinosaurs, both on the basis of additional discoveries and from reappraisal of material in museum collections. Anyone with a keen eye in a quarry or along a coast with rocks of the right age and type stands a chance of finding a dinosaur specimen that may offer extraordinary new insights into their long lost world. The story of UK dinosaurs is constantly changing and is still a work in progress. In this book, the authors provide an up-to-date snapshot of the animals that once roared and roamed their way across what are now the British Isles, providing a showcase for these often overlooked stars of the dinosaur firmament and demonstrating just how rich the record of these spectacular animals really is.
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