Friday Afternoon Book Notes

Progress on my chosen books for this past week has been a little bit slow; I had a very busy weekend and a presentation on the paleoecology of Laetoli, Tanzania at ~3.5 mya (which will soon become a post), so I haven’t been able to read as much as I would like this past week. Still, I’m about halfway through the Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and hopefully I’ll finish it over the weekend (I think I can polish off 300 pages before Monday). I’m also about halfway through Molnar’s treatment of the huge varanid reptile Megalania prisca (Dragons in the Dust), although I probably won’t get to finish it until early next week.

Those of you who have followed me over from Laelaps Mk. 1Laelaps Mk. 1 know that I have my work cut out for me, however. I’ve got a lot to learn when it comes to dinosaurs and evolution, so I’ve decided that I’m going to try and tackle some of the hefty reference volumes I’ve got cover-to-cover. After of finish the Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs I’m going to start in on The Dinosauria, 2nd ed.The Dinosauria, 2nd ed., which I should get a bit more out of than when I first purchased it last year. I’ll probably take something of a “break” after it and read something a little shorter, but then I’ll dig into Gould’s immense Structure of Evolutionary Theory. That one may very well keep my occupied through the end of the semester, but I think once I’ve conquered the mass of prose I’ll be the better for it.

I’m also expecting a copy of The Dinosaur Papers, a collection of many of the early scientific papers on dinosaurs that are generally hard to find or no longer available outside of libraries. The stories about the initial discoveries are familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in paleontology (it seems that every book on dinosaurs has an obligatory chapter mentioning Mantell, Buckland, Owen, Marsh and Cope), but I’m tired of just hearing about the discoveries secondhand. I expect the collection, edited by David B. Weishampel and Nadine M. White, to prove to be quite invaluable.

Still, I own a number of books I haven’t finished or haven’t even started yet, but I’m sure I’ll get to them in due time. I usually pick up whatever happens to be in line with my interests at the time, although at the moment I’ve been attempting to cram as much basic knowledge into my head as possible so I can understand more complex concepts and relationships. Indeed, it seems like my appetite for books is insatiable, and I’m sure my private library will continue to expand and overflow in the weeks, months, and years to come.