Review: The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs — A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte

Dinosaurs.png“Somewhere around the world — from the deserts of Argentina to the frozen wastelands of Alaska — a new species of dinosaur is currently being found, on average, once a week,” writes Steve Brusatte, a young American palaeontologist who has emerged as one of the foremost stars of his field, in his new book, The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs A New History of a Lost World. Then, to emphasise the significance of this statement, he reiterates (with intentionally placed ellipses): “[that’s] a new dinosaur every . . . single . . . week.”

This translates to about fifty new species each year, all thanks to new and emerging technologies that allow the palaeontologists of today — and indeed of tomorrow — to not only unearth new fossils, but enhance our understanding of dinosaur biology and their evolution. Which means some of mankind’s most exciting discoveries about the Earth’s most fearsome creatures are yet to be made. If that doesn’t excite nascent palaeontologists, nothing will.

Excitement is the key word here. Brusatte’s devotion and love of his field is positively palpable as he lyrically retells the history of the dinosaurs through the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras, aided by illustrations and photographs that further refine his  breakdown of what happened when and why. Brusatte‘s retelling of the rise and fall of dinosaurs is interspersed with revelations of his own expeditions, his contemporaries, and those in whose footsteps he follows. His enthusiasm is inspiring, and while I’m not yet ready to hand over my bookshop keys in exchange for a trowel, I can imagine this book propelling somebody younger into a career in palaeontology. Anybody with even the slightest interest in dinosaurs will devour The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs A New History of a Lost World. Exceptionally readable and compelling. Non-fiction at its best.

ISBN: 9781509830077
Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: 08/05/2018
Imprint: Macmillan
Pages: 416
Price: $32.99