|To celebrate The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs by Gregory S. Paul, Princeton Global Science will post a a daily dinosaur for the next few weeks. To launch this feature I asked Robert Kirk, group publisher for the sciences and natural history editor, about the book and here’s what he had to say.|
Like any self-respecting child, at the age of 6 I began my love affair with dinosaurs and their world. I spent hours memorizing the intoxicatingly strange names – Stegosaurus, Pachycephalasaurus, Brontosaurus, Allosaurus – poring over badly printed, luridly splashy pictures of T. rex sinking its fangs into the flanks of some unlucky triceratops. While I’ve forgotten many things in life, I can still remember the litany of dinosaur names, and individual pages and scenes from those early books.
When I became a field guide publisher in the early 1980’s, I harbored a not-so-secret desire to put together the ultimate field guide for dinosaurs. Of course, there is an implicit absurdity in such a notion, but what I really wanted was a serious, detailed, accessible, and comprehensive guide that would show the range and splendor of the ‘true’ dinosaurs. In fact I started two such projects, which ultimately fell by the wayside (a good thing in hindsight). In Greg Paul I found the answer to my prayer – here was a man with the artistic talent and depth of knowledge to make the book I most desired.
The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs is a stunning, one-man show. It covers 735 species and features hundreds and hundreds of color and black-and-white illustrations – life studies, sketches, skeletal and skull reconstructions, scenic views, anatomical diagrams, paleo maps, and so much more. Cataloged here is the dinosaur world from tiny feathered creatures to the gigantic supersauropods. The species accounts and illustrations are prefaced by a lengthy and richly illustrated introduction, which covers, in considerable detail, dinosaur anatomy, physiology, locomotion, reproduction, and growth, and also explains the taxonomic complexity of dinosaur paleontology. Armed with this knowledge, you can plunge straight into the species accounts themselves, and fully appreciate the diversity of dinosaurs – and hone your identification skills at the same time! The following images are but a taster. Enjoy!