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American Museum of Natural History: Barosaurus

by William Lindsay

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Describes the discovery and mounting of fossil evidence for the dinosaur called Barosaurus and examines what this evidence suggests about its appearance and behavior.

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The incredibly huge sauropod dinosaur rears up on its hind legs to protect its frightened baby from the attacking carnivorous Allosaurus!


That is the thrilling and unforgettable scene that greets the visitor to the Roosevelt Rotunda at New York's American Museum of Natural History. This brief (25 page) book introduces younger readers to the dinosaur Barosaurus and to the specimen on display at the museum. It follows the DK format of excellent illustrations (diagrams and photographs) with clear, explanatory text.

The book first introduces the prehistoric world, how fossils form, and how dinosaur skeletons are reconstructed. It then takes the reader behind the scenes at the American Museum to see how display specimens are prepared and assembled, with particular attention to the Barosaurus specimen. The rest of the book considers sauropod locomotion, migration, and feeding, general facts about Barosaurus and other sauropods, US museums where sauropods can be viewed, a glossary and an index.

Readers may be surprised to learn that the mounted sauropod is a replica made of lightweight plastic, formed from casts of the disarticulated skeletal pieces housed in the museum collection. The original fossils are far too heavy to be supported this way – understandable given that the beast is posed to reach a height of 50 feet (15 meters). Although not mentioned in this book, many paleontologists are very skeptical that Barosaurus and other large sauropods could have reared up on their hind legs – and in the scene illustrated, the pose looks ineffective against the much smaller Allosaurus. (A single swipe with the powerful tail would be a much more effective defense).

Personally, I wish more information was provided on the biology of sauropods, even if at the cost of descriptions of how the museum replica was constructed and mounted. But young readers and their adult counterparts will find this book an entertaining introduction to one of the largest animals to stalk the earth. ( )
4 vote danielx | Dec 3, 2011 |
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Describes the discovery and mounting of fossil evidence for the dinosaur called Barosaurus and examines what this evidence suggests about its appearance and behavior.

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