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My Beloved Brontosaurus

My Beloved Brontosaurus

Brian Switek

On Sale April 16, 2013
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One of Amazon's Best Science Books of 2013 A Hudson Booksellers Staff Pick for the Best Books of 2013 One of Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten Spring Science...

One of Amazon's Best Science Books of 2013

A Hudson Booksellers Staff Pick for the Best Books of 2013

One of Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten Spring Science Books


Selected by Apple’s iBookstore as one of the best books of April

Dinosaurs, with their awe-inspiring size, terrifying claws and teeth, and otherworldly abilities, occupy a sacred place in our childhoods. They loom over museum halls, thunder through movies, and are a fundamental part of our collective imagination. In My Beloved Brontosaurus, the dinosaur fanatic Brian Switek enriches the childlike sense of wonder these amazing creatures instill in us. Investigating the latest discoveries in paleontology, he breathes new life into old bones.
     Switek reunites us with these mysterious creatures as he visits desolate excavation sites and hallowed museum vaults, exploring everything from the sex life of Apatosaurus and T. rex’s feather-laden body to just why dinosaurs vanished. (And of course, on his journey, he celebrates the book’s titular hero, “Brontosaurus”—who suffered a second extinction when we learned he never existed at all—as a symbol of scientific progress.)
     With infectious enthusiasm, Switek questions what we’ve long held to be true about these beasts, weaving in stories from his obsession with dinosaurs, which started when he was just knee-high to a Stegosaurus. Endearing, surprising, and essential to our understanding of our own evolution and our place on Earth, My Beloved Brontosaurus is a book that dinosaur fans and anyone interested in scientific progress will cherish for years to come.

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More About My Beloved Brontosaurus

  • My Beloved Brontosaurus is Hudson Bookseller's March 2014 Read of the Month!

    "Switek didn't "out-grow" his love of dinosaurs like most kids did. Every page of My Beloved Brontosaurus is a love letter to to his idea of dinosaurs and the factual dinosaurs that he has spent the last 30 years studying."

  • My Beloved Brontosaurus picked as an Outstanding Book for College Students and Lifelong Learners

    My Beloved Brontosaurus has been picked as an Outstanding Book for College Students and Lifelong Learners by  the Young Adult Library Services Association.

  • Shelf Awareness picks My Beloved Brontosaurus as a Best Book of 2013!

    "Brian Switek engagingly explores the differences between what we know and what we think we know about dinosaurs."

  • The blog "Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs" raves about My Beloved Brontosaurus

    “[Switek] deftly brings the concerns of dinosaur fanatics regarding the dinosaurian public image to the popular culture . . . it’s always a treat to read someone so captivated by the romance of natural history . . . Switek’s message is that dinosaurs are a relevant, vital field of study because the illumination extends to broader issues of evolution and the fate of our world. In the same way, My Beloved Brontosaurus uses the engaging topic of dinosaur lives as a way to celebrate the ongoing exploration of science at large.”

    Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs (blog)

  • Brian Switek on "The Top Ten Weirdest Dinosaur Extinction Ideas"

    "What happened to the dinosaurs? For over a century, paleontologists have been puzzling over the fate of our favorite prehistoric oddities. The non-avian dinosaurs dominated the planet for an inconceivably long period of time, and their evolutionary success only heightens the mystery of their downfall . . . before our current view came together, the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs was an open-ended question. Here is a list of some of the stranger—now discarded—theories explaining the loss of our dear departed dinosaurs . . ."

  • NPR on My Beloved Brontosaurus and "The Subtle Mysteries of Dinosaur Sex"

    "They dominated our planet for 130 million years. You can't do that without having babies, and to have babies, dinosaurs had to have sex. The mystery is—and this is still very much a mystery—we don't really know how they did it."

     

  • The Scientist calls My Beloved Brontosaurus a "romp through the Mesozoic"

    “Journey back through the steamy jungles of your childhood fantasies (or into your children’s current or past dreams) on this romp through the Mesozoic guided by science writer Brian Switek . . . Switek’s own childhood fascination with the towering lizards fuels the trip as he recounts interesting tidbits from fossil hunts of yore and updates past and present dinosaur lovers with paleontological gems.”

    The Scientist

  • BBC Earth reviews My Beloved Brontosaurus, says that it is "a fun and absorbing read"

    My Beloved Brontosaurus is both a fun and absorbing read as well as a good, popular guide to our current understanding of dinosaurs and their evolution.”

    BBC Earth

  • Science Magazine notes My Beloved Brontosaurus's "rich, well-researched scientific and historical discussions"

    “Switek passionately and playfully explores scientists’ evolving perception of the wild, wonderful dinosaur world, emphasizing at every turn the dynamic nature of their field despite its now inanimate subjects . . .  Switek intersperses his rich, well-researched scientific and historical discussions with personal anecdotes and cultural signposts, weaving together a narrative that reveals the current state of the field as well as some of the wrong turns along the way.”

    Science

  • NPR's essay on My Beloved Brontosaurus and the disappearance of the dinosaurs

    “For the last hundred years, scientists have been wondering why the dinosaurs disappeared so quickly. Was there one key reason, or several?

    Volcanologists pointed to volcanoes. Climatologists suggested global warming, or possibly, global cooling. Ocean experts thought the oceans receded. Some biologists blamed egg snatching mammals. Some botanists suggested toxic plants. In his new book on everything dinosaurish, My Beloved Brontosaurus, Brian Switek lists a ‘slew of weird ideas’ proposed by various scientists 50, 60 years ago, before our current favorite, the asteroid theory, gained favor . . . Of all the theories he looked at, Brian's favorite is so wonderful to think about, so deeply odd (even if it's almost certainly wrong), I want to retell it. It comes from a California scientist, Stanley Flanders, who made his living as an entomologist, an insect man, which is perhaps why, in 1962, he wrote a paper called, ‘Did the Caterpillar Exterminate the Giant Reptile?’ Dr. Flanders proposed that the great dinosaurs were eliminated by a giant influx of moths and butterflies.

     

    I'm not making this up.”

     

    Read the full essay here.

  • Discover magazine's "Gene Expression" blog reviews My Beloved Brontosaurus

    “Fascinating . . . Switek’s scope of knowledge is awesome . . . This is in the classic ‘news you can use’ for nerds genre.”
    Discover magazine’s “Gene Expression” blog

  • The New York Times loves My Beloved Brontosaurus!

    “Charming . . . We are beneficiaries of Mr. Switek’s undiminished passion . . .  The book is a delight, coming along when so much has changed in our understanding of dinosaurs, ever since the beginning of a renaissance in dinosaur studies in the 1970s and ’80s . . . This may be the one book for catching up on what has become of the dinosaurs you thought you knew from grade school.” 
    The New York Times

  • Another glowing review of My Beloved Brontosaurus

    “Cleverly written, well researched and sprinkled with lots of tidbits of information gleaned from dinosaur sites that include Utah’s wealth of material, Brian Switek’s My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science and Our Favorite Dinosaurs is a jewel.”

    Sharon Haddock, Deseret News 

  • Mindhut raves about My Beloved Brontosaurus

    “If you are itching to learn more about dinosaurs than just the bare bones, so to speak, then Brian Switek’s My Beloved Brontosaurus is a must-read . . . In addition to being packed with fresh research, this book is just flat-out fun to read . . . Perhaps Switek’s greatest triumph with My Beloved Brontosaurus is proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that dinosaurs are not some esoteric, irrelevant subject, but are deeply connected to our own human story.”

    —The Mindhut

  • The Washington Post reviews My Beloved Brontosaurus

    My Beloved Brontosaurus is, in many ways, science writer Brian Switek’s love letter to his favorite animal . . . But the book is more than a personal ode to fossils. Switek meets experts, tours museums and visits excavation sites. He is searching no longer for preserved eggs that might one day hatch dino-babies but rather for an understanding of what life in the age of dinosaurs was like.”

    The Washington Post

  • The Dallas Morning News says Brian Switek "geeks out gloriously" in My Beloved Brontosaurus

    “Switek geeks out gloriously on everything from the truth about Jurassic Park to the ugliest roadside dinosaurs he has ever seen. He’s a friendly guide to the latest in dinosaur science, whizzing through journal article after journal article on how cross sections of dinosaur bone can tell us about their physiology, or how fossil olfactory lobes can reveal their sense of smell through time . . . Much has been written about the ‘dinosaur revolution’ of recent decades, in which the idea of sluggish, passive reptiles transformed into more active and engaging creatures. Switek takes the science a step farther and into the 21st century.”

    The Dallas Morning News

  • Shelf Awareness runs a starred review of My Beloved Brontosaurus

    “Switek has a knack for finding fascinating specifics and presenting them in engaging ways. He excels at relating fossil finds to their once-living counterparts, giving these animals an awesome sense of reality. Even readers whose younger days of dinosaur frenzy are long extinct will find My Beloved Brontosaurus a fascinating read.”

    Shelf Awareness (starred review)

  • Barnes and Noble Review calls My Beloved Brontosaurus a "mind-blowing romp"

    “Fortunately for us, Brian Switek has continued to channel the enthusiasms of his own inner five-year-old. In his zany, sometimes mind-blowing romp through the new science of old bones . . . you too can nerd out anew . . . the discoveries Switek shares fill the old world with new wonders . . . Switek rekindles that childhood amazement at how vast the dinosaur world really was.”

    Barnes & Noble Review

  • Salt Lake City Weekly compares Brian Switek to Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Malcolm Gladwell

    “A charming journey . . . Making scientific concepts accessible using a playful voice, in the manner of Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Malcolm Gladwell, Switek guides readers through the ever-shifting world of conventional dino-wisdom, from why they became the dominant life form of their time, to what they looked like outside those giant bones, and even covering how they might have had sex.”
    Salt Lake City Weekly

  • New Scientist reviews My Beloved Brontosaurus

    “Switek’s writing is crisp and clean, and he knows his dinosaurs . . . [He] does a good job of keeping up with the latest refinements in dinosaur science. Crucially, he shares his enthusiasm well, writing about the fun, the weird and the wonderful without the tall tales of the explorers of old.”
    New Scientist

  • The Boston Globe calls My Beloved Brontosaurus "half guidebook, half love note"

    “Switek’s dinomania is infectious. The book charms with the author’s passionate curiosity . . . half guidebook, half love note. Switek lays out an accessible, rich history of these creatures, along the way meditating on the larger issues raised by their ancient lives and our modern study of them, including our evolving understanding of evolution, the role of personality and bias in the scientific process, and the psychology of just what we humans see in these fascinating monsters.”

    The Boston Globe

  • The Wall Street Journal raves about My Beloved Brontosaurus

    “[C]harming . . . Read Mr. Switek’s book to rekindle your love of all things dinosaur: the cheesy movies, the action figures, the many happy hours spent wandering through imaginary Jurassic jungles. But more than that, read it to remind yourself that the dinosaurs’ story is our story and that, as Mr. Switek writes, ‘extinction is the ultimate fate of all species. Nothing so majestically encapsulates these simple, powerful truths of nature quite like a dinosaur.’”

    The Wall Street Journal

  • Thoughts on My Beloved Brontosaurus from Scicurious

    “[Y]ou can also feel [Switek's] deep love of his subject, and the places where his precious dinosaurs are found. From what we used to think, to what we think now, dinosaurs get more complex, and more fascinating, as you see them through the eyes of someone truly obsessed.” —Scicurious

  • Mental Floss says My Beloved Brontosaurus is the "perfect read for catching up on the latest, most fascinating dino science"

    “Switek’s chatty, infor­mative cross-country adventure is the perfect read for catching up on the latest, most fascinating dino science.”
    Mental Floss

  • Nature calls My Beloved Brontosaurus "engaging" and "comprehensive"

    “[Switek] offer[s] a compelling mixture of reliable infor­mation, personal experiences and thoughts, anecdotes about paleontological research and even science philosophy, delivered in a breezy and engaging style . . . [he] paints a comprehensive picture of how our understanding of dinosaur evo­lution gradually advances . . . Switek has succeeded in covering a wide range of inter­esting topics in dinosaur palaeontology with infectious enthusiasm.”
    Nature

  • My Beloved Brontosaurus selected by Apple’s iBookstore as one of the best books of April

    My Beloved Brontosaurus selected by Apple’s iBookstore as one of the best books of April

  • The Guardian's GrrlScientist blog calls My Beloved Brontosaurus "Endearing, surprising, and essential"

    “In My Beloved Brontosaurus, the dinosaur fanatic Brian Switek enriches the childlike sense of wonder these amazing creatures instill in us . . . Endearing, surprising, and essential to our understanding of our own evolution and our place on Earth, My Beloved Brontosaurus is a book that dinosaur fans and anyone interested in scientific progress will cherish for years to come.” —The Guardian’s GrrlScientist blog

  • DoubleXScience calls My Beloved Brontosaurus "highly entertaining"

    “[A] wonderful overview of current research and knowledge of dinosaurs, for both lifelong dino-lovers and people who need an introduction to the prehistoric beasts . . . informal, often humorous (in the tradition of great nonfiction writers like Mary Roach and Bill Bryson), without sacrificing scientific detail. The result is both readable and highly entertaining . . . an excellent field guide to the real dinosaurs that walked the planet.” —Matthew R. Francis, DoubleXScience

  • Publishers Weekly Selects My Beloved Brontosaurus as one of the Ten Best Science Books of Spring

    My Beloved Brontosaurus selected as one of the best science books of spring 2013.

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