It won’t come as any surprise to a reader of this magazine, but might to the vast majority of the UK population (and probably anyone reading this elsewhere), but this country is a great place to find dinosaurs. In fact, it is one of the most important places for Lower Cretaceous dinosaurs, whose remains have been found on the Isle of Wight and in the Weald. A possible Triassic dinosaur (Saltpos) has also been found in Morayshire, Scotland; and there are plenty from the entire length of the Jurassic. And, while there is currently great excitement about the discovery of a significantly complete Spinosaurus skeleton in Northern Africa (see our News snippets), the first truly remarkable spinosaur specimen (Baryonyx walkeri) was found in Southeast England. Therefore, this book is a timely and comprehensive compilation of the most significant finds from this small part of the world.
Dean published his first articles in this magazine, and continues to contribute, so it is with great pleasure that we are in a position to review his second book. (His first was entitled ‘Fossils of the Whitby Coast: A Photographic Guide’, which I reviewed a while ago.) He is – what might be called – a ‘roaming palaeontologist’ (from Doncaster), who works on projects across the world. His collaborator, Nobumichi Tamura, is a palaeoartist from California, well known for his drawings of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. Together, they have produced a fascinating book on British dinosaurs, which is aimed at both professional and amateur palaeontologists.
The full colour illustrations and photographs are both informative and well produced, and the text is clearly and unambiguously written. It covers the necessary background to the study of these creatures, providing details of all types of dinosaur (saurischian and ornithischian), with a geological history of British dinosaurs. These are then described in detail, in geochronological order, with a summary of every dinosaur species found within the British Isles.
If you are fascinated by dinosaurs and want to see what the UK has contributed to our knowledge of these creatures, this book is for you. And for our younger readers, who knows, perhaps it might inspire them to become palaeontologists one day.
Dinosaurs of the British Isles by Dean R Lomax & Nobumichi Tamura, Siri Scientific Press, Manchester (2014). 414 pp, softback, ISBN: 978-0-9574530-5-0