Thursday, November 01, 2007


This past weekend, Kman and I were fossil hunting along a creek bed just below a local dam that eventually trickles into the Trinity River. We found twenty or so specimens of the more common variety like the ones on this page. All the time I was digging away into the limestone banks, I kept wondering what it would be like to discover honest-to-goodness real dinosaur bones. No small coincidence that my interest in amateur paleontology was sparked by reading this new gem of a book:

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Now with the holidays approaching, (What? Can't you hear the music already being Muzak'd into your brain at every shopping aisle turn at your local Wally World?) what could be better than dinosaurs for Christmas?

Other than, say... a trip to Tahiti? Well, it was worth a try!

The very next best thing is this new encyclopedia just out from Random House. If you have a youngster on your list between the ages of 6 and 60, then this is your ticket for a sure-to-please gift. And, you can shop right from your home computer and avoid getting ear-wormed by stale, corny old Christmas carols!

I always love giving books as presents. Yeah, I know, the professional Gurus of Giving (who ARE these people?) always say it's a "personal thing" and not to attempt to guess someone else's literary tastes. However, Dinosaurs is not just a big coffee-table picture book of eye candy, though the art work of Luis Rey is oh so delicious. The book is written by a paleontologist, Dr. Thomas R. Holz, Jr.,who calls himself "King of the Dino Geeks", and includes the opinons of thirty-three pre-eminent professional palenotologists. How's that for a broad range of opinions?

The story of planet Earth during the reign of these fascinating creatures is well written and encourages readers to venture their own conclusions and theories. I like the open-mindedness of Dr. Holz, never claiming that his interpretation is the only hypothesis and further admits that "I don't know" is sometimes the best answer available. Imagine that kind of refreshing candor from all those stuffy old dinosaur history books from the past - not!

Here's another paragraph that gives you a clue as to how Dr. Holz presents this information to spark a curious young mind:

When we pick up a pebble, we don't normally think too much about where it came from. But if you understand how a pebble is formed, you can understand the history of the world.

Understand the history of the world.

From a lowly pebble.

The chapter goes on to explain in more depth exactly why I can find all these wonderful fossil treasures in my own backyard. Very cool. Now I know what I want to be when I grow up - a paleontologist!


Anonymous said...

You aren't kidding about getting "ear-wormed" by Christmas muzak. I worked at a grocery store in college that played music and announcements on a loop that was updated no more than once a month.

The good news is that after hearing it 20 times, I couldn't really hear it anymore (or anything else).

- Texas T-bone

joared said...

Say, you really pique my interest the way you describe this book. I'm not quite ready to become a paleontologist, but sounds intriguing. I'm glad to see such subjects presented in a more interesting manner.

I agree, I like to give books. I know giving a book can be a serious undertaking depending on the book, reader and giver. I also think books, especially if not too expensive or full of toxic content, can be given and received on a much more casual level, so nobody has to fret over what the other party thinks.