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A Primer on Dinosaur Paleobiology From Museum Graduate Student

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microraptor

This photograph of a Microraptor gui fossil, taken by Mick Ellison, appears in Brusatte's Dinosaur Paleobiology. 

© AMNH/M. Ellison


In addition to peer-reviewed research papers, Steve Brusatte, a graduate student at Columbia University who is advised by Museum Curator Mark Norell, has already written children’s dinosaur guides and a coffee-table book of dinosaurs and their relatives. Now, he’s added another book to the list.

Dinosaur Paleobiology, which was released in May, is the first in a paleobiology series from Wiley-Blackwell. The book synthesizes what scientists currently understand about dinosaur biology—including feeding, locomotion, growth, and reproduction—as well as dinosaur evolution. Photographs and illustrations from Mick Ellison, a senior principal artist at the Museum, and Jason Brougham, senior preparator in the Exhibition Department, bring dinosaurs and fossils to life on the page.

“My hope is that this is something researchers would have on their bookshelves,” says Brusatte, “but also something that a student could use as a gateway to learning more about dinosaurs at a higher technical level.”

Dinosaur Paleobiology also explores how scientists know what they know about these ancient animals. To reconstruct how dinosaurs would have walked or fed, for instance, researchers use advanced computer modeling. The dinosaur tree of life can be refined by new technology, too: more powerful statistical analysis and techniques are enabling scientists to refine their understanding of how dinosaurs evolved.

Tags: Dinosaurs

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