The Complete Dinosaur, Second Edition
Publication Year: 2012
Praise for the first edition:
"A gift to serious dinosaur enthusiasts" —Science
"The amount of information in [these] pages is amazing. This book should be on the shelves of dinosaur freaks as well as those who need to know more about the paleobiology of extinct animals. It will be an invaluable library reference." —American Reference Books Annual
"An excellent encyclopedia that serves as a nice bridge between popular and scholarly dinosaur literature." —Library Journal (starred review)
"Copiously illustrated and scrupulously up-to-date... the book reveals dinos through the fractious fields that make a study of them." —Publishers Weekly
"Stimulating armchair company for cold winter evenings.... Best of all, the book treats dinosaurs as intellectual fun." —New Scientist
"The book is useful both as a reference and as a browse-and-enjoy compendium." —Natural History
What do we know about dinosaurs, and how do we know it? How did dinosaurs grow, move, eat, and reproduce? Were they warm-blooded or cold-blooded? How intelligent were they? How are the various groups of dinosaurs related to each other, and to other kinds of living and extinct vertebrates? What can the study of dinosaurs tell us about the process of evolution? And why did typical dinosaurs become extinct? All of these questions, and more, are addressed in the new, expanded, second edition of The Complete Dinosaur. Written by many of the world's leading experts on the "fearfully great" reptiles, the book’s 45 chapters cover what we have learned about dinosaurs, from the earliest discoveries of dinosaurs to the most recent controversies. Where scientific contention exists, the editors have let the experts agree to disagree. Copiously illustrated and accessible to all readers from the enthusiastic amateur to the most learned professional paleontologist, The Complete Dinosaur is a feast for serious dinosaur lovers everywhere.
Published by: Indiana University Press
Series: Life of the Past
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
In April 1842, Richard Owen coined the term Dinosauria in a footnote on page 103 of his Report on British Fossil Reptiles, and defined this new name as meaning “fearfully great, a lizard.” Since that time the name has always, incorrectly, been translated as “terrible lizard.” How did this etymological and aesthetic error occur? Modern dictionaries always give the meaning of ...
Part 1: The Discovery of Dinosaurs
1. Dinosaurs: The Earliest Discoveries
The first trackers of dinosaurs were probably other dinosaurs, as tracks have been found apparently showing carnivorous species following herbivores (Lockley 1991, 184). More recently, there is evidence that some early people, whose livelihood came partly from tracking, killing, and dismembering animals, sometimes observed and found significance in tracks, bones, and eggs of long-extinct species of no culinary value...
2. Politics and Paleontology: Richard Owen and the Invention of Dinosaurs
The claim has been made that “dinosaurs are the most American animals that have ever lived” (Kirby et al. 1992, 28). While this is clearly true now, the invention of dinosaurs, by the English anatomist Richard Owen (1804–1892), who coined his name for these “fearfully great lizards” in April 1842, was entirely English. All our early knowledge of this new group of reptiles had ...
3. European Dinosaur Hunters of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Although the first undisputed fossils of dinosaurs were found in England (Delair and Sarjeant 2002) and the first students of dinosaurs were active in Europe, the United States became the center for study of dinosaurs during the second half of the nineteenth century, when the combined efforts of Edward Drinker Cope, Joseph Leidy, and Othniel Charles Marsh resulted ...
4. North American Dinosaur Hunters
Although it is likely that American Indians found dinosaurian fossils and recognized them as the remains of dead, maybe ancient, animals (Mayor 2005), the first dinosaur hunters were the unwitting discoverers of unknown animals. In 1802 a New England farm boy named Pliny Moody found some footprints in reddish-brown sandstones near his home at South Hadley, ...
5. The Search for Dinosaurs in Asia
From 1828 to 1831, Captain (later Major-General Sir) William Henry Sleeman (Fig. 5.1) of the British army was the colonial administrator of Jubbulpore in central India, the modern Jabalpur District. Sleeman was a capable officer who later became a relentless enemy of the cultlike fraternity of murderers that the British knew as the Thuggee, at one time holding the ...
6. Dinosaur Hunters of the Southern Continents
Most North Americans, Europeans, and Asians are understandably more familiar with the dinosaurs that inhabited these regions than they are with the forms that once lived in other parts of the world. With some rare exceptions (in particular, the Humboldt Museum in Berlin), southern dinosaurs are not exhibited in northern museums or featured in popular books written ...
Part 2. The Study of Dinosaurs
7. Hunting for Dinosaur Bones
The successful hunt for dinosaur bones requires knowledge of local geology and stratigraphy, time to conduct the search, an ability to distinguish rocks from fossils, and a little bit of luck. There are two cardinal rules of field pale-ontology: first, the people engaged in the work of prospecting, mapping, and excavation must have permission from the landowner or land manager; and ...
8. The Osteology of the Dinosaurs
With rare but spectacular exceptions, dinosaur body fossils consist almost entirely of bones and teeth. The soft parts of the body – skin, muscles, and other organs – were destroyed by decay processes fairly quickly after death. Only bones and teeth, the hard mineralized parts of a dinosaur, are durable enough to be preserved over tens of millions of years. Except for footprints ...
9. Reconstructing the Musculature of Dinosaurs
Whenever one attempts to flesh out the skeleton of a dinosaur, some or most of the muscles must be reconstructed. However, evidence of muscular tissue is only rarely preserved in the fossil record (Kellner 1996; Briggs et al. 1997; Dal Sasso and Signore 1998). Why is the exercise of reconstructing muscles important when it seems to have so little actual evidential support? Perhaps ...
10. Dinosaur Paleoneurology
Dinosaur paleoneurology began in 1871 with the report of a “large reptilian skull from Brooke, Isle of Wight, probably dinosaurian, and referable to the genus Iguanodon.” In that report, J. W. Hulke (1871, 199) described the internal surface of a partial braincase (Fig. 10.1), inferring the structure of the brain and cranial nerves that it once housed. Beginning in the early 1880s, ...
11. The Taxonomy and Systematics of the Dinosaurs
Taxonomy, the naming of names, is the scientific practice and study of labeling and ordering like groups of organisms. It should not be confused with systematics, the scientific study of the diversity of organisms within and among clades (genetically related groups of organisms). Both help us to understand the world of organisms, but each practice helps us in a...
12. Dinosaurs and Geologic Time
The histories of paleontology and geology are intertwined because developments in both sciences have been dependent on each other since their beginnings (Albritton 1986; Berry 1987). Geology gives paleontology context, and therefore geological discoveries have been critical in developing our understanding of dinosaurs. Nowhere is this more evident than in under-...
13. Technology and the Study of Dinosaurs
It would seem to be the ultimate oxymoron. What in the world could technology do with dinosaurs? Although we cannot totally exclude the possibility that some dinosaurs used primitive technology – some avian dinosaurs are known to have used tools in their foraging behavior (e.g., Millikan and Bowman 1967) – in this chapter we will review the many ways that ...
140 Claws, Scales, Beaks, and Feathers: Molecular Traces in the Fossil Record
Over the last few decades, discoveries of fossil representatives of extinct taxa have increased at an exponential rate, and these new finds have added greatly to our understanding of evolutionary branches on the tree of life, when subjected to phylogenetic analyses based on morphological features preserved in the bones. The field of molecular biology has likewise ad-...
15. Dinosaurs as Museum Exhibits
Ever since the first dinosaur skeleton was mounted for exhibition in 1868 at the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, the public has been fascinated by these extinct animals. Despite that public interest, natural history museums were slow to seize on that curiosity as a way of enticing visitors. Not until steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie donated casts ...
16. Restoring Dinosaurs as Living Animals
The illustration of dinosaurs as living animals is an interpretive work of imagination based on scientific inquiry. Such paleoillustration depicts, in views and scenes, the living appearance of ancient life, presented in a form borrowed from our direct experience and familiarity with the natural world as we see it today. The interpretive role of paleontological art has put the ...
Part 3: The Clades of Dinosaurs
17. Evolution of the Archosaurs
Most readers will be familiar with groups such as dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and crocodiles, but the larger group to which all of these organisms belong, the Archosauria, is more obscure. Archosauria was initially erected by Cope (1869) to include dinosaurs, crocodilians, and all their presumed common ancestors. It has been slightly redefined by modern systematists to include ...
18. Origin and Early Evolution of Dinosaurs
The dinosaurs arose in the Triassic, and probably during the Early to Middle Triassic. They entered a world far different from the typical Age of Dinosaurs scenes, a world in which the dominant herbivores were synapsids (dicynodonts and chiniquodontids) and rhynchosaurs, and carnivores were cynodonts and basal archosaurs of various kinds, previously called...
The Theropoda (“beast-footed ones”) are a clade of saurischian dinosaurs commonly referred to as the carnivorous dinosaurs. It is certainly true that the majority (perhaps all) of the dinosaurs with a taste for flesh were thero-pods, and indeed, from the beginning of the Jurassic Period (199.6 Ma) until the end of the Cretaceous (65.5 Ma), these were the dominant terrestrial ...
Birds are one of the most conspicuous, familiar, and speciose of vertebrate groups, containing about 10,000 extant species that occur worldwide in most habitats. If the group termed birds is understood to include Archaeopteryx, then their fossil record extends back to the Tithonian stage of the Late Jurassic, and their success means that the prominence of dinosaurs in the global ...
21. Basal Sauropodomorpha: The "Prosauropods"
Very early in the evolution of dinosaurs a branch of saurischians, known as the Sauropodomorpha, split away from the predatory Theropoda and began to specialize toward herbivory. The earliest sauropodomorphs that we know had already acquired small heads, moderately elongate necks, and leaf-shaped tooth crowns. These adaptations indicate that the ability to prey ...
Despite the appeal of Tyrannosaurus, the ubiquity of Triceratops, or the stateliness of Stegosaurus, sauropods are the iconic dinosaurs. Subject of pop songs, advertising campaigns, movies, and cartoons, the idea of a sauropod is readily conveyed with relatively little effort. This quality stems from the obvious and recognizable body plan of sauropods, as well as their large body ...
The Stegosauria, or plated dinosaurs, are medium-sized to large (up to 9 m in total body length), quadrupedal ornithischians, the most diagnostic character of which is the two rows of upright dermal plates and/or spines, one on each side of the midline, extending from the neck region to the end of the tail (Fig. 23.1A–D). Their remains are known definitely from the ...
Ankylosaurs were short-limbed, four-legged, armor-plated dinosaurs, with a long, wide body (Fig. 24.1). It is a body encased in armor or osteoderms that characterizes the group (see also Plates 27–29). The most prominent osteoderms consisted of keeled or flat plates of bone embedded in the skin (hence the term “osteoderm” – bone skin). These osteoderms are sometimes ...
The Marginocephalia, or margin-headed dinosaur group, comprises the thick-skulled pachycephalosaurs and the frill-bearing ceratopsians. Mar-ginocephalians have a predominantly Cretaceous fossil record, although the earliest species of ceratopsians are now known from the Late Jurassic (Xu et al. 2006; Zhao et al. 1999; Zhao et al. 2006). Until recently, Mar-...
The Ornithopoda (“bird feet”), commonly known as ornithopods, were a hugely successful and diverse clade of bipedal herbivorous ornithischian dinosaurs known from the Middle Jurassic to the end of the Cretaceous. Their remains have been found on every continent, including Antarctica. Ornithopods generally retained a rather conservative morphology – they ...
Part 4: Paleobiology of the Dinosaurs
27. Land Plants as a Source of Food and Environment in the Age of Dinosaurs
Plants in a book on dinosaurs? Not as out of place as you might think. Plants are autotrophs (self-feeders), organisms that are able to capture the sun’s energy directly. By contrast, dinosaurs, like all animals, are heterotrophs (other feeders), organisms that have to feed on other organisms in order to live. Since plants lie at the base of the food chain, they have had an immense ...
28. What Did Dinosaurs Eat: Coprolites and Other Direct Evidence of Dinosaur Diets
What did the Mesozoic dinosaurs really eat? This question has spawned numerous hypotheses from scientists, dinosaur enthusiasts, and fantasy writers. Speculations about dinosaur diets are frequently based on indirect evidence such as surveys of available food (i.e., contemporaneous organisms) and theories about foraging abilities inferred from functional morphology. ...
29. Reproductive Biology of Dinosaurs
Discoveries of the nests and eggs of a variety of dinosaur taxa, combined with recently described fossils of baby dinosaurs, have captured the imagination of the public and stimulated professional interest in the reproductive biology of dinosaurs (a.k.a. nonavian dinosaurs). These fossils offer tantalizing glimpses into the biology of dinosaurs and bring them to life in a way ...
30. Dinosaur Eggs
The earliest discoveries of dinosaur eggshells were made thousands of years ago during Paleolithic or Neolithic times (Carpenter et al. 1994). Evidence of these prehistoric discoveries comes from archeological sites in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, sites that have yielded dinosaur eggshell fragments that had been cut and carved into pieces of jewelry (Andrews 1932; Pauc and ...
31. How Dinosaurs Grew
More has been learned about dinosaur biology in the last fifteen years than was gleaned during the entire previous century and a half. This renaissance has been fueled by the application of methodologies borrowed from other disciplines to the study of dinosaur paleontology. Of these, osteohistological techniques have provided more insights than any others. Advances in...
32. Engineering a Dinosaur
Although they may sometimes appear to be creatures of fantasy, dinosaurs existed as physical entities in a physical world. They were subject to external factors such as gravity, air and water pressures, and temperature changes, as well as internal factors such as blood and gas pressures, muscle tensions, and the stresses and strains that occur in bones, tendons, and ligaments. ...
33. Disease in Dinosaurs
Dinosaur disease is an intriguing subject for the scholar and public alike, resulting from the combination of often bizarre deformity with already char-ismatic mega fauna. Throw in the “CSI” thrill of solving an ancient cold case, and the result is a heady mix, but one which runs the risk of substituting headlines for scientific rigor. To paraphrase the famed fictional sleuth ...
34. The Scientific Study of Dinosaur Footprints
Perhaps the most vivid impression of a dinosaur as a living creature comes not from seeing a mounted skeleton, but instead from the examination of a well-preserved trackway. Looking at footprints made, one after the other, by a dinosaur going about its business millions of years ago gives one an almost palpable sense of the trackmaker as a real animal as opposed to some ...
35. The Role of Heterochrony in Dinosaur Evolution
Heterochrony can be defined as “change to the timing and rate of development between individuals and between species” (Alberch et al. 1979; McKinney and McNamara 1991). Every single organism has an ontogeny – this is its life history – from the time of conception until its death. Certainly, among animals there would be none that remains morphologically static ...
36. Metabolic Physiology of Dinosaurs and Early Birds
There is far more to dinosaurs than just their impressive appearance in museum displays and fearsome demeanor in movies and documentaries. In many respects, they were probably the most successful of all terrestrial vertebrates. The 150 million year (Late Triassic to Late Cretaceous) cosmopolitan reign of dinosaurs over the terrestrial environment far exceeds ...
37. Evidence for Avian-Mammalian Aerobic Capacity and Thermoregulation in Mesozoic Dinosaurs
During the first two thirds of the twentieth century the energetic status of dinosaurs and basal birds was not particularly controversial, it being widely thought that the former’s metabolics and thermoregulation were generally reptilian and the latter’s avian. This consensus was shaken in the late 1960s and 1970s by arguments that dinosaurs had much the same metabolic and ...
38. "Intermediate" Dinosaurs: The Case Updated
In the previous edition of this book, I explained why I see most nonavian dinosaurs as probably having been intermediate animals (Reid 1997). In this updated chapter, as then, I fi rst note three (not just two) main possibilities...
Part 5: Dinosaur Evolution in the Mesozoic
39. Principles of Paleobiogeography in the Mesozoic
The past was different; otherwise there could be no history. It has even been said that the past is a different country. But a derivative quotation (Stross 2006) is more to the point: “not only is the past a foreign country, it’s one that doesn’t issue visas.” We don’t take this seriously, but simply imagine that the world of the past was very much like the present. But our imaginations ...
40. Non-Dinosaurian Vertebrates
It is undoubtedly appropriate to refer to the Mesozoic Era as the Age of Dinosaurs, but it was much more than that. Swimming in the Mesozoic seas were giant crocodiles, dolphinlike ichthyosaurs and enormous plesiosaurs. The air was alive with pterosaurs ranging in size from the sparrow-sized Pterodactylus to the truly monstrous Quetzalcoatlus, which was the size of ...
41. Early Mesozoic Continental Tetrapods and Faunal Changes
Most of the principal groups of present-day continental vertebrates, or their closest relatives, first appeared in the fossil record during the Triassic Period – mammals, turtles, archosaurian reptiles (crocodylians and the precursors of birds, dinosaurs), lepidosaurian reptiles (rhynchocephalians and squamates), frogs, and salamanders (because they are the sister-group ...
42. Dinosaurian Faunas of the Later Mesozoic
This chapter discusses the evolution of dinosaurian faunas during the last two-thirds of the Mesozoic Era, from the beginning of the Middle Jurassic Period through the end of the Late Cretaceous (i.e., from 176 to 65.5 mya). Three related concepts are addressed: (1) the biogeography of dinosaur groups, (2) the composition of dinosaur faunas on the different conti-...
43. Dinosaur Extinction: Past and Present Perspectives
When I ask most schoolchildren what happened to the dinosaurs, they tell me that dinosaurs became extinct because a giant asteroid hit the Earth and instantly wiped them all out. When I then ask them if birds are related to dinosaurs, they most often answer yes, many saying that birds are dinosaurs. If they are then confronted with the quandary that if birds are dinosaurs and ...
44. Life after Death: Dinosaur Fossils in Human Hands
Of all the extinct denizens to have walked our plant, none have captured the imagination of scientists and the public as have dinosaurs. Their (generally) huge size, their (sometimes) ferocious nature, and their high coefficients of weirdness have made them popular cultural icons. Dinosaurs have taken on many diverse roles, including the uniformed, gas-pumping ...
45. Dinosaurs and Evolutionary Theory
For many of us who work on dinosaurs, they are the prime examples that we consider when we think of how amazing the process of evolution on Earth has been. Where they came from, how they evolved, how all their bizarre and terrifying forms diversified – these were the questions that set our minds spinning from the first time we saw their representations in pic-...
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Appendix: Dinosaur-Related Websites