I probably knew more about dinosaurs as an eight year old than I do now.
Indeed the pattern might be repeating as my (admittedly very smart and scientific) nine year old niece clearly knows more about dinosaurs than me, while my two year old nephew puts me to shame with his ability to recognise and name them.
So suitably humbled, I was looking for a primer to get me back up to speed.
And this VERY SHORT INTRODUCTION kind of does the trick.
Covering the discovery of dinosaurs and the realisation of what they were; the Crystal Palace exhibition (the event which really puts dinosaurs in the public imagination, and if you’re in London, I’d definitely recommend you visit – even if the models bear only a slight resemblance to what the creatures actually looked like); various competing theories of the dinosaurs’ natures; and – of course – various competing theories about what killed them off.
It’s all written in a breezy, knowledgeable style which manages to be both technical and scientific, but not too technical and scientific. A layman like me can reach up and grab it, rather than spending most of his or her time looking up a succession of unknown terms in a big, weighty dictionary.
Undoubtedly there isn’t as much in here as I’d have liked, but that’s the point of a primer, isn’t it? If it’s done its job, it’s a book that doesn’t completely satisfy you, it leaves you craving more.