Book Review: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte


A brief overview of the rise and eventual extinction of the dinosaurs.

Spoiler alert: the dinosaurs are (mostly) extinct. I was very surprised at this shocking twist ending. I thought T-Rexs lived among us.

Exhibit A:

What Ice Age?

And yes, this is a brief history. This covers hundreds of millions (okay, billions but eh, semantics) and compresses a really varied and complex history into an overview so easy a caveman can read it.

Aaaaaaaaand with that I’ll retire all ancient puns for forever.

Anywho, this was a fascinating glimpse into the quickly changing and fast-paced world of paleontology and geology, which were not the dead-end jobs that I grew up being told (“You’ll never get a job studying dinosaurs” they said, so I…never did—also I was never super duper fascinated by dinosaurs and the past because that kitchen scene scared the living shit out of me, so), but are vibrant and growing and uncovering more and more history-altering discoveries each month. It’s fascinating and incredible what new discoveries, technology and modern analytics can do—and the brilliant minds that are dedicated to understanding the mysteries of the past.

This entire book was amazing, particularly when understanding the billions of years of life that came before humans—and the chain of events that led to humans being able to become the apex predators instead of the vicious T-Rex, who was cut down at the height of its reign (and who had great eyesight and could not outrun a Jeep and could totally crush a car in half with its jaws, so thank you for giving me a false sense of security, Jurassic Park). Additionally, earlier periods of dinosaurs and non-dinosaurs were covered, particularly the evolution of crocodiles (who were scary AF) and also birds.

Curse you for your lies, Steven Spielberg

Spoiler alert: birds are dinosaurs.

Double spoiler alert: that meteorite did end the dinosaur’s reign.

Yeah, not quite like that

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. 

It was clearly written, and while repetitive at times it clearly illustrated the vast biodiversity of Earth’s history and how various climate changes and environments influence what flourishes were and how simple changes can have dramatic effects in various ecosystems.

Definitely a must-read if you want to learn more about dinosaurs and the prehistoric Earth but don’t know where to start.

But, since dinosaurs are (mostly) extinct, all we can do is attempt to recreate the past:

That leg extension, tho

And if you’re thinking, “Wow laurel you read a weird variety of shit,” why yes, yes I do.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

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