Most adults probably haven’t thought about dinosaurs since they were kids. If the last time you paid any attention to paleontology was the 1980s you’re in for a surprise. Many paradigms have changed and the general picture of what life was like in the Mesozoic has shifted substantially. This list is by no means comprehensive, but if you’re curious about dinosaurs or, if you have children and want to be able to answer their dino-related questions, it’s a fine start.
My Beloved Brontosaurus by Brian Switek
This book presents a concise overview of dinosaur paleontology. What makes a dinosaur a dinosaur? How are dinos different from and similar to modern reptiles and birds? What did they look like and how did they move? All questions answered in this readable, memorable book (Spoiler: Brontosaurus never existed. Sorry, but it’s true!).
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte
This new release is as up to date as it gets and paleontologist Steve Brusatte is in an excellent position to write it. He is a newcomer in the field but has established himself on solid footing, having discovered several new species and done a lot of field work. He guides the reader through the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, explaining geology, biology and of course, paleontology where needed. Sprinkled with lots of hypothetical but plausible accounts of the daily life of dinosaurs, this is a perfect read for someone looking to brush up on their Mesozoic knowledge.
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs by Dougal Dixon
Another recent work, published in early 2017, this title follows the usual encyclopedia format of brief entries rather than running narrative. Dixon is a geologist with a keen interest in dinosaurs and has been writing and lecturing about them for decades. Lots of sidebars offer concise, comprehensive information and abundant illustrations show up to date interpretations of what dinosaurs probably looked like.