Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Dragon Seekers: How An Extraordinary Circle Of Fossilists Discovered The Dinosaurs And Paved The Way For Darwin” as Want to Read:
The Dragon Seekers: How An Extraordinary Circle Of Fossilists Discovered The Dinosaurs And Paved The Way For Darwin
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Dragon Seekers: How An Extraordinary Circle Of Fossilists Discovered The Dinosaurs And Paved The Way For Darwin

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  129 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution, an extraordinary circle of fossilists struggled to make sense of a mysterious, prehistoric world--a world they had to piece together from the fossilized and often fragmentary remains of animals never before seen. In this transporting, seamlessly written book, Christopher McGowan takes us back to a time when geology and pal ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 18th 2002 by Basic Books (first published 2001)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Dragon Seekers, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Dragon Seekers

The Great Dinosaur Debate by Robert T. BakkerT. Rex and the Crater of Doom by Walter AlvarezPredatory Dinosaurs of the World by Gregory S. PaulThe Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs by Gregory S. PaulThe Gilded Dinosaur by Mark Jaffe
The Best Non-fiction Dinosaur Books
25th out of 114 books — 31 voters
Jurassic Park by Michael CrichtonThe Lost World by Michael CrichtonDragon Dawn by Deborah O'Neill CordesRaptor Red by Robert T. BakkerThe Great Dinosaur Debate by Robert T. Bakker
Best Dinosaur Books
93rd out of 104 books — 135 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 387)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
A splendid little book about the history of paleontology. I've read so many of these books through the years about the same characters, but I just can't seem to get enough of them.
I picked up this book with the intent to gain a more historically accurate look at the life of Mary Anning (having just read a fictionalized account of her life in Remarkable Creatures). Although at times academic and somewhat technical, it was engaging, flowed well, and was highly readable. I found my interest increased as the terminology and leading theories of the day became more familiar. The book not only covers the foremost geologists, biologists, and emergent paleontologists of the day, i ...more
James F
Another popular retelling of the discovery of the first dinosaurs and marine reptiles in England. The author is himself an expert on ichthyosaurs. This book is more matter of fact than Terrible Lizard, telling the story of the discoveries without embellishing it with "intrigues"; Richard Owen comes off much better in this account. There is a chapter on Thomas Hawkins and his "restored" collection and the accompanying scandal. The book ends with a discussion of modern finds near Lyme Regis. A lig ...more
Noli Watson
(also posted at

It’s an extraordinary cast indeed: Owen, who coined the taxonomic idea of dinosaurs; Buckland and Mantell, who discovered the first ones; Mary Anning, the finest fossil hunter of her generation. This group of contemporaries, active in England in the first half of the nineteenth century, gave us dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles as objects of scientific study. (We’ve always had them, of course, weathering out of rocks and visible to everyone. It’s the
Josh Gulch
While the title is perhaps a mite bit misleading in regard to the role that dinosaurs played to these early fossilists, this ought not to detract from the narrative. Indeed, the true stars of this tale are the often overlooked icthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and the intrepid individuals who realized the relevance of the assorted remains they were plucking out of mountains and beaches. While the dinosaurs that they discovered opened the floodgates for the thousands of known species that followed, it is ...more
a book about the origins of paleontology as a discipline! super-interesting! i mean, imagining to be among the first people to dig a collection of bones out of a cliff & realize that you are seeing the remains of an animal that has never been seen before by any living person. & not just that, but it's some kind of enormous lizard!

this book seeks to collect together the stories of the first few notable paleontologists & geologists, including mary anning, who was never allowed to join
Michael Anderson
Fascinating book about the British origins of paleontology in the half-century before Darwin, relationships among the major players of the day, how religious beliefs affected the thinking of the early fossil hunters, and how gradual accumulation of anatomical and geological knowledge eroded the influence of the church to permit Darwin's theories to find an easier acceptance than they might otherwise have had. It is worth reading.
Fascinating look at the pre-Darwinian fossil hunters and the ways they tried to make sense of their finds. McGowan talks about their relationships to each other and the ways in which they influenced one another, and it made for a really interesting story. There were a couple bits that didn't seem to quite fit or that I somehow missed the connections for, but for the most part I found it super interesting and well narrated (although at the beginning I found the narrator's voice really perplexing, ...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
This was definitely a nice diversion from some of the stuff I've been reading. Interesting in its own way and a nice introduction to some very eccentric pre-Darwinists. These were people that used the sciences of geology and paleontology to bolster the Bible's version of life. That is until more evidence was discovered that made it more and more difficult to believe Genesis. It was a fairly quick read and pretty accessible. I intend to read the Origin of Species by Darwin and then move into the ...more
Nick Tredger
Great expose of early archaeology and the strange and driven people that search for bones! I found it fascinating.
This book was a little more dry than I would have liked, but it gave good insight into fossil hunters in England.
Interesting narrative about the "original" geologists in 1800s England. Includes the story behind the discovery and naming of dinosaurs like megalosaurus and iguanodon. Great for those of us who "lived and breathed" dinosaurs with our preschoolers!
As a natural history buff, I really enjoyed this book. It was interesting, readable and brought early scientists and fossil finders to life. I look forward to reading more books by Mr McGowan.
David Kessler
Earliest bone collections right out of the SW shores of England and how did these early bone collectors do it.
Great story and very tightly written
Wonderful story of the development of the science of geology and of all the quirky personalities who added to the founding of the science.
After listening in the car during my commute, i'd come home and look up the people and dinos talked about in the book. fun read.
this was amazing. i love natural history and this book was exactly what i wanted to learn.
Fiona added it
Nov 22, 2015
Aislinn marked it as to-read
Nov 11, 2015
Choko marked it as to-read
Nov 11, 2015
Martin marked it as to-read
Nov 11, 2015
Thomas Salerno
Thomas Salerno marked it as to-read
Oct 29, 2015
Susan Johnston
Susan Johnston marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2015
Seth Bobbink
Seth Bobbink marked it as to-read
Oct 18, 2015
Lelietje marked it as to-read
Oct 06, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt
  • Digging Dinosaurs: The Search That Unraveled the Mystery of Baby Dinosaurs
  • The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology In Greek And Roman Times
  • Gorgon: The Monsters That Ruled the Planet Before Dinosaurs and How They Died in the Greatest Catastrophe in Earth's History
  • The Dinosaur Hunters
  • Tyrannosaurus Sue: The Extraordinary Saga of the Largest, Most Fought Over T-Rex Ever Found
  • In The Blink Of An Eye: How Vision Sparked The Big Bang Of Evolution
  • Aquagenesis: The Origin and Evolution of Life in the Sea
  • Dragon Hunter: Roy Chapman Andrews & the Central Asiatic Expeditions
  • The Fossil Hunter: Dinosaurs, Evolution, and the Woman Whose Discoveries Changed the World
  • Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution
  • The Seashell on the Mountaintop: A Story of Science, Sainthood, and the Humble Genius who Discovered a New History of the Earth
  • Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual History of Life on Earth
  • The Great Dinosaur Debate: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and Their Extinction
  • Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking
  • Grave Secrets of Dinosaurs: Soft Tissues and Hard Science
  • The Humans Who Went Extinct: Why Neanderthals Died Out and We Survived
  • How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn't Have to Be Forever

Share This Book