Beginners library

Geology and Palaeontology are Everywhere You Look! Update your knowledge with these beautifully written books, become an amateur palaeontologist and fossil hunter, or learn something new!

Beginners Palaeontology, dinosaurs, and prehistoric animals books

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of Their Lost World by Steve Brusatte

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What I love about this book: it is for everyone and for all the levels of experiences and knowledge. Steve Brusatte shared his studies and researches, starting from what are the dinosaurs, how they evolved and what made dinosaurs dominate terrestrial life for such a long period of time. The book is very well written, you are like getting behind the scene to view the history of dinosaurs and dinosaur science. Tyrannosaurus rex, as Dr. Brusatte’s favorite dinosaur, has a dedicated chapter.

About the author: Steve Brusatte is one of the most recognizable names in science, his researches are published in leading journals and he authored Dinosaur Paleobiology textbook, resident paleontologist for BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs and the main consultant for the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion movie. I’m also excitedly waiting for his next book about the Evolution of Mammals.

Despite my overall excitement about the book, it’s worth mentioning that it has one chapter about Tyrannosaurus rex intelligence that raised public attention and was mentioned by The New York Times, National Geographic and many others.

Due to data analysis mistake (I confirmed it with Steve Brusatte), Dr. Steve Brusatte put T. rex intelligence on a level higher than a chimpanzee. Data for T. rex that was used for this book was taken from a reptilian scale and thus had high EQ which IS high compared to modern day and extinct reptiles but is lower than a chicken EQ when you look at the data with mammals, birds, and reptiles represented on a common chart. Please let me know if you need more details on that.

Bottom line: such a brilliant book revealing a story of 200 million years of evolution of dinosaurs from small dwellers into the dominant array of species everyone recognizes today to the mass extinction that vanished all non-avian dinosaurs and many other species.

Dinosaurs Rediscovered: The Scientific Revolution in Paleontology by Michael Benton

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Over the past twenty years, the study of dinosaurs has transformed into a true scientific discipline. New technologies have revealed secrets locked in prehistoric bones that no one could have previously predicted. We can now work out the color of dinosaurs, the force of their bite, their top speeds, and even how they cared for their young.

Remarkable new fossil discoveries―giant sauropod dinosaur skeletons in Patagonia, dinosaurs with feathers in China, and a tiny dinosaur tail in Burmese amber―remain the lifeblood of modern paleobiology. Thanks to advances in technologies and methods, however, there has been a recent revolution in the scope of new information gleaned from such fossil finds.

Leading paleontologist Michael J. Benton gathers together all of the latest paleontological evidence, tracing the transformation of dinosaur study from its roots in antiquated natural history to an indisputably scientific field. Among other things, this book explores how dinosaur remains are found and excavated, and how paleontologists read the details of dinosaurs’ lives from their fossils―their colors, their growth, and even whether we will ever be able to bring them back to life. Benton’s account shows that, though extinct, dinosaurs are still very much a part of our world.

Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway and Cruising' the Fossil Coastline by Kirk Johnson

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Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway is the travels of a paleontologist Kirk Johnson and an artist Ray Troll as they drive across the American West in search of fossils. Throughout their journey, they encounter “paleonerds” like themselves, people dedicated to finding everything from suburban T. rexes to ancient fossilized forests.

Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline is a great sequel! Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll are back on a road trip—driving, flying, and boating their way from Baja, California to northern Alaska in search of the fossil secrets of North America’s Pacific coast. They hunt for fossils, visit museums, meet scientists and paleonerds, and sleuth out untold stories of extinct worlds. As one of the oldest coasts on earth, the west coast is a rich ground for fossil discovery. Its wonders include extinct marine mammals, pygmy mammoths, oyster bears, immense ammonites, shark-bitten camels, polar dinosaurs, Alaskan palms, California walruses, and a lava-baked rhinoceros. Join in for a fossil journey through deep time and discover how the west coast became the place it is today.

Fossils: The Clearest Recognition Guide Available, DK Smithsonian Handbook by David Ward

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Packed with over 1,000 full-color photographs over more than 500 fossils, this handbook is designed to cut through the complex process of fossil identification to make it accessible to readers of all experience levels. Authoritative text, crystal-clear photography, and a systematic approach from Dorling Kindersley and the Smithsonian Institution make this guide both comprehensive and concise.

Expertly written and thoroughly vetted, each entry combines a precise description with annotated photography to highlight each fossil’s chief characteristics and distinguishing features. Each fossil is accompanied by a full-color illustration of the living animal or plant that the fossil once was in the distant past, while color-coded bands provide at-a-glance key facts to complete each entry. Also included is a comprehensive glossary so you can speak the language of a true paleontologist.

Written by veteran paleontologist and curator Cyril Walker, and veterinary surgeon and fossil enthusiast David Ward, and packed with detailed information on recognition, classification, and more, DK’s Smithsonian Handbook of Fossils is the clearest identification guide to fossils for beginners and established enthusiasts alike.

Fantastic Fossils: A Guide to Finding and Identifying Prehistoric Life by Donald Prothero

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Nothing fills us with a sense of wonder like fossils. What looks at first like a simple rock is in fact a clue that reveals the staggering diversity of ancient environments, the winding pathways of evolution, and the majesty of a vanished earth. But as much as one might daydream of digging a hole in the backyard and finding a Tyrannosaurus, only a few places contain these buried treasures, and when a scientist comes across a remnant of prehistoric life, great care must be taken. What do budding paleontologists need to know before starting their search?

In Fantastic Fossils, Donald R. Prothero offers an accessible, entertaining, and richly illustrated guide to the paleontologist’s journey. He details the best places to look for fossils, the art of how to find them, and how to classify the major types. Prothero provides expert wisdom about typical fossils that an average person can hope to collect and how to hunt fossils responsibly and ethically. He also explores the lessons that both common and rarer discoveries offer about paleontology and its history, as well as what fossils can tell us about past climates and present climate change. Captivating illustrations by the paleoartist Mary Persis Williams bring to life hundreds of important specimens. Offering valuable lessons for armchair enthusiasts and paleontology students alike, Fantastic Fossils is an essential companion for all readers who have ever dreamed of going in search of traces of a lost world.

Beginners Geology books

The Story Of The Earth in 25 Rocks

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Every rock is a tangible trace of the earth’s past. The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks tells the fascinating stories behind the discoveries that shook the foundations of geology. In twenty-five chapters―each about a particular rock, outcrop, or geologic phenomenon―Donald R. Prothero recounts the scientific detective work that shaped our understanding of geology, from the unearthing of exemplary specimens to tectonic shifts in how we view the inner workings of our planet.

Prothero follows in the footsteps of the scientists who asked―and answered―geology’s biggest questions: How do we know how old the earth is? What happened to the supercontinent Pangea? How did ocean rocks end up at the top of Mount Everest? What can we learn about our planet from meteorites and moon rocks? He answers these questions through expertly chosen case studies, such as Pliny the Younger’s firsthand account of the eruption of Vesuvius; the granite outcrops that led a Scottish scientist to theorize that the landscapes he witnessed were far older than Noah’s Flood; the salt and gypsum deposits under the Mediterranean Sea that indicate that it was once a desert; and how trying to date the age of meteorites revealed the dangers of lead poisoning. Each of these breakthroughs filled in a piece of the greater puzzle that is the earth, with scientific discoveries dovetailing with each other to offer an increasingly coherent image of the geologic past. Summarizing a wealth of information in an entertaining, approachable style, The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks is essential reading for the armchair geologist, the rock hound, and all who are curious about the earth beneath their feet.

Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World

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Few of us have any conception of the enormous timescales of our planet’s long history, and this narrow perspective underlies many of the environmental problems we are creating. The lifespan of Earth can seem unfathomable compared to the brevity of human existence, but this view of time denies our deep roots in Earth’s history―and the magnitude of our effects on the planet. Timefulness reveals how knowing the rhythms of Earth’s deep past and conceiving of time as a geologist does can give us the perspective we need for a more sustainable future. Featuring illustrations by Haley Hagerman, this compelling book offers a new way of thinking about our place in time, showing how our everyday lives are shaped by processes that vastly predate us, and how our actions today will in turn have consequences that will outlast us by generations.

The Story Of The Earth

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Hailed by The New York Times for writing “with wonderful clarity about science . . . that effortlessly teaches as it zips along,” nationally bestselling author Robert M. Hazen offers a radical new approach to Earth history in this intertwined tale of the planet’s living and nonliving spheres. With an astrobiologist’s imagination, a historian’s perspective, and a naturalist’s eye, Hazen calls upon twenty-first-century discoveries that have revolutionized geology and enabled scientists to envision Earth’s many iterations in vivid detail—from the mile-high lava tides of its infancy to the early organisms responsible for more than two-thirds of the mineral varieties beneath our feet. Lucid, controversial, and on the cutting edge of its field, The Story of Earth is popular science of the highest order.

Beginners field guides

Roadside Geology Series is the best start for any levels of experience. Each book describes geology everywhere you travel. Read more about this series and states that are covered by the series HERE.

Roadside Geology Series

Find Your State

The series include 34 titles and reveal geology that lies along the road from Washington, Alaska, and California to Florida, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Wyoming, and all states in between.

These books not only teach you the geology of your state and your state formations but also help you plan your next hike or fossil hunt. Learn how to use a stratigraphy map for finding new fossil sites or DM for any questions.

Detailed stratigraphy maps, descriptions of your state’s formations and geology history, chapters are organized by routes and suggestions to plan your trip wisely are well-presented in Roadside Geology.

Basic Rockhounding and Prospecting

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Basic Rockhounding and Prospecting is aimed at anyone who is interested in learning the basics of collecting rocks and minerals. It’s the perfect companion title to the more advanced Modern Rockhounding and Prospecting Handbook. Readers will learn how to identify common rocks and minerals, and where to look for them. Using labs, procedures, pictorials, and discussions to help readers learn, this book will cover the basics of geology, describing the three main rock groups, with extensive pictures to show what to look for and how to figure out what is out there.

Look inside for:

Geology basics
Rules and regulations
Polishing, preserving, crafting, and displaying your treasures
Popular collectibles, including rocks, gems, fossils, meteorites, and gold
Tools of the trade for every level of collector

Gem Trails Series

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Completely updated and revised, this comprehensive collecting guide covers all four corners of the Evergreen State, from the misty shores of the Olympic peninsula to the dust-dry ghost towns and abandoned mines near Metaline Falls.
You’ll explore Washington’s diverse geology in detail, ranging from fossil-rich Cambrian locales to seams of agate and jasper amid recent basalt flows.

Site locations range in difficulty from family-friendly walks along streams and rivers to hard-rock mining with heavy tools. Each site description features detailed directions, individual maps, multiple GPS coordinates, color photographs, nearest camping spots, and the best time of the year to collect. You’ll also find additional information about nearby attractions, and whether you’ll need four-wheel drive to make the final push.

Among the world-class materials available for collectors, you’ll find these treasures:

Quartz scepters
Stunning jade
Petrified wood
Ancient fossils
Fine gold

A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals

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The definitive guide to rocks and minerals, completely updated for the fifth edition, includes 385 color photographs showing rocks, minerals, and geologic formations. Hundreds of minerals are described, with details such as geographic formations. Hundreds of minerals are described, with details such as geographic distribution, physical properties, chemical composition, and crystalline structures.

Encyclopedias

Encyclopedias are the best way to get familiar with dinosaurs’ families and the main groups of prehistoric animals.

I own all of those titles and all of the them are equally great and very well written and beautifully illustrated.

If I would have to choose one as a start, I’d pick a Smithsonian “Dinosaurs. A Visual Encyclopedia”.

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Palaeontology Rocks Book Club

Let’s Learn Together!

Palaeontology Rocks Book Club is coming this 2020-2021 winter. Every month we will be choosing a book to read and discuss in a closed virtual room chat. 

If you are interested in joining the club, please fill the form. Spaces for the first month are limited to 10.

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