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The Great Dinosaur Debate: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and Their Extinction
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The Great Dinosaur Debate: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and Their Extinction

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,967 ratings  ·  80 reviews
This groundbreaking book reveals that, far from being sluggish reptiles, dinosaurs were actually agile, fast, warm-blooded, and intelligent. The author explodes the old orthodoxies and gives us a convincing picture of how dinosaurs hunted, fed, mated, fought and died.Containing over 200 detailed illustrations, The Great Dinosaur Debate will enthrall "dinosaurmaniacs". It i ...more
Paperback, 481 pages
Published July 1st 2001 by Citadel (first published 1986)
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4.19  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,967 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Sean DeLauder
In which Bob Bakker uses self-proclaimed heresy to debunk orthodox dinosaur theory, systematically dismantling our age-old perception of dinosaurs as trundling zombie-like lizards, unsuccessful as a species despite millions of years of planet-wide dominance eradicated by an extinction-level event, and replaces it with our contemporary understanding of the creatures as vibrant, warm-blooded creatures more closely related on the tree of life to birds than reptiles.

Accomplished by addressing what B
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Bakker brings forth interesting theories about the dinosaurs ranging from whether or not they were endothermic, if they had feathers, whether they are the ancestors of modern birds, and their extinction 65 million years ago. Bakker has an interesting sense of humor, illustrates the book himself with accurate and detailed pictures, and makes what could be considered heavy scientific theory interesting and readable for the average person. At the time when this book was first published in the mid-1 ...more
Nicolo Yu
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Robert Bakker has a clear and literate writing style that makes a reader with several graduate degrees less than he has understand the concepts of mass extinctions, dinosaur anatomy, and other advanced topics. It is easy to easy why this has become a seminal book. The work may be a bit dated and I'm not entirely sure if any subsequent discoveries have refuted his theories but this was a great read for me. This book is essentially a compilation of several of his graduate theses but I truly en ...more
Milhouse Van Houten
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing

I love Dinosaurs!

(view spoiler)

May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Parasaurolophus trumpeted and Triceratops bellowed their siren songs and I couldn't help myself. I had to read this book again.

Although this book was published in 1986, it holds up very well in my opinion. Dr. Bakker's writing is clear, concise and many times humorous. His drawings also give life to the dinosaurs and other critters he writes about. This is one of those books that inspires this geek's imagination every time I read it.

My much beloved and battered copy is covered in notes, doodle
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, animals, stem
A seminal work that challenged the pervading beliefs about dinosaurs at the time: that they are cold-blooded, slow-moving, dim-witted reptiles. Immaculately researched and presented by a luminary in his field, Dr. Bakker still made his theories and their explanations easily accessible to lay readers. Possibly most dramatically and most memorably, Dr. Bakker was among the first (if not actually the very first) to famously and brazenly declare dinosaurs most decidedly unextinct, a radical-at-the-t ...more
Chris Brown
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Well written and extremely thought provoking. The author suggeststhat much of what we believe about dinosaurs is based on a flawed foundation from 100, 200 years ago. This is not a dig on our past scientists, but a realization that so much of our basic ideas were limited by the tools of their time. Unlike many modern applied sciences, there was no reason to correct some of the basic premises (i.e., if you incorrectly assume that dinosaurs were cold blooded, nothing bad happens. However, if you s ...more
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book was published in the 80's, so it's pretty outdated now in terms of dinosaur species. However, Robert Bakker was the first to put forth the notion that dinosaurs might have been warm blooded and not reptiles at all, which changed everything we thought we knew. Because of his "heretical theories", we now know that dinosaurs were indeed warm-blooded and that birds are direct descendants from them! Being a huge dinosaur nerd, I had to go back to the original source and learn how he support ...more
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An oldie but a goody, enjoyed this book though Bakker seems to be dead set on calling Apatosaurus by the well known but incorrect name of Brontosaurus. Understand his reasoning about honouring Marsh but it was distracting.
Dan Toft
Jun 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
I first received this book as a gift back when I was like 10 years old. Apparently, someone overestimated my reading skills because this book was well beyond my knowledge at that time. I have since gone back and read it several times, and find its biological and paleological insights fresh and lively. As it states proudly on the cover, this is by the man who was the main consult for the dinosaur behaviors seen in Jurassic Park, and so he was, in a very real sense, the originator of our view of d ...more
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bakker was really the skunk at the garden party when his book suggested, among other things, that dinosaurs were not the cold-blooded reptiles we've always believed them to be but rather warm-blooded creatures from which our modern day birds descended. This theory is now widely considered to be the prevailing truth but when this book hit the scene in the late '80s it caused quite an uproar.

This is a very readable book and I'd like to get my hands on the updated edition some day. If you never out
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book several years ago after first starting it in about 1989. Some of the theories may be out of date now, but it was apparent to me that others are receiving wider consideration these days.

I found the book easy to read and very interesting. Even if it is out of date, I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the area.
Lorenzo Giangregorio
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it

This book has cleared up many misconceptions that people have about dinosaurs. Some of these mistakes include people thinking dinosaurs are lizard which they are not. This is a very well written and interesting book that brings dinosaurs into whole different light. Even those this book is very old a lot of the facts presented are still accurate today
I adored every page of this book. Regardless of whether you ascribe to his theories Bakker keeps you thinking and communicates his work very well indeed. This is everything a dinosaur book should be as it not only introduces the reader to scienticic theories but also allows the reader to understand the development of the theories.
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite the fact it was first published in the late 80’s, most of Bakker’s theories and observations seem to hold true even today. Truly a genius of his time, I was thrilled to finally have the chance to read this and was not disappointed.

Bakker writes in an easy-to-understand style but doesn’t talk down to his readers. As someone with no lofty graduate degrees, I appreciate his ability to so easily explain complex science to basically anyone. His writing is often inundated with personal anecdo
Arash Raisbahrami
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dinosaur Heresies is a book which learns us how to look dinosaurs. It is against old-fashioned (or as Bakker called Orthodox) theories. Each chapter is about one aspect of dinosaurs that should be seen under a different view point. This book modified those ancient atchosaurs from cold-blooded, lazy reptiles into warm-blooded, swift Dinosaurs!
Although the book is old, there are great information about dinosaurs. On the other hand, some details now are outdated. Structure of pterosaurs, causes
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading Bakker's 1980s "Dinosaur heresies" in the 2000s, not all of his theories have stood the test of time (such is the way of science, especially in a field where so many major new discoveries have been made over the past three decades), but several of his key arguments, such as the close link between dinosaurs and modern birds, have stood the test of time and are now widely accepted.

From a modern standpoint, reading this book is a fascinating look back at a pivotal earlier era in paleontolo
Rachel Holtzclaw
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book is old, older than i am (published in 1986, 8 years before i even came into this world), so i figured that a lot of the theories discussed in these essays would be defunct at this point, but that definitely isn't the case at all, and i guess that's why this remains one of the formidable dinosaur texts, and why mr. bakker remains one of The Dinosaur Guys. i already knew some of this stuff, but i also learned a lot, too. one of the things i love about the study of dinosaurs is that almos ...more
Sandra Strange
Though this book is old (1988), the controversy it discusses continues today with research on the exact lines/arguments Bakker put forth to show that dinosaurs, not the cold blooded plodder reptiles of scientific orthodoxy of the time, were warm blooded, thus much more vital and fast moving than scientists had concluded earlier. 2014 research is coming to the same conclusions, based on the very evidence Bakker offered in his book. Not heresy anymore, though the orthodox view hasn't died yet.
May 30, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Наконец-то добил знаменитую книгу. Увы, как говорится, со временем некоторые ереси перестают быть такими уж еретическими. Те пункты, по которым Бэккер был прав (оперение динозавров, птицы-динозавры и т. п.), теперь проходят по категории "ну это же все знают", и сейчас странно читать, что когда-то кто-то с этим спорил.

А где неправ, там и сейчас неправ. Разве что иллюстрации по-прежнему огонь.

Надо было в восьмидесятых читать.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read, aimed for the general reader.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, nonfiction
Why didn't I read this book when I was 10 years old?
I just happened to stumble upon it when browsing some shelves at my library. I'd already read Raptor Red and thought the author had a good way with words, and as dinosaurs' always interesting I thought I'd give it a go.
I wasn't disappointed in the least!

The book is almost 30 years old at the moment and quite a few of the theories presented are not so new, extraordinary or heretical, as Bakker calls them. But it's still interesting to read of ho
J.S. Green
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dinosaurs
When I was a kid back in the 1970s, dinosaurs were tail-dragging beasts that lumbered across a swampy landscape with spewing volcanoes in the distance. They were invariably gray or green, cold-blooded, and they were most certainly dead. In the late 80s that view changed, and shortly thereafter the movie Jurassic Park showed us some fearsome and fast-moving bird-like monsters that dined on lawyers. I like the newer version much better!

Apparently, this was the book that challenged the old view and
Jake Leech
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. As a thirty year old book of dinosaur "heresies", I expected to read a mixture of well-accepted theories and long ago discarded hypotheses--and that is exactly what I did read. However, Bakker walks the reader through the well-known stuff, and gives so many arguments, and writes them so well, that it all seems fresh and new. For example, most people reading about dinosaurs are aware that they were probably warm blooded, but not all of th ...more
Aug 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dinosaurs
The author presents some very interesting theories challenging traditional interpretations of dinosaurs, such as using the presence of Havesian canals in their bones to argue that dinosaurs had more in common with mammals than with reptiles.

However, this doesn't make up for the loads of evolutionary garbage piled all through the book, like the chapter arguing that dinosaurs evolved into birds. Also, the evidence he cites for some of his theories appears weak. For example, chapter 18 uses the arg
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
This was the book that kicked off the contemporary dinosaur craze, and while it is a bit dated (it was written in the mid-1980s), Professor Bakker's ideas are still somewhat startling to those of us who grew up in the era when dinosaurs were portrayed as slow-moving, dim-witted, swamp-dwelling, and cold-blooded failed reptiles. As such, the book is as much today a text on the history of science as well as about paleontology, and certainly worth the time taken to read if you have an interest in p ...more
James Taylor
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bakker's book is a magnificent review of the world of dinosaurs. The author fearlessly sets forth his view of dinosaurs. This view is often contrary to the orthodox view of these magnificent animals, but Bakker backs his view up with evidence. He is a strong advocate of the view that dinosaurs were warm-blooded beasts and he again backs this with evidence from their bones and also the numbers of meat-eaters and herbivores which existed in the ancient landscape. This book gives a new view on the ...more
Rand Blimes
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Got a kid who loves dinosaurs and want to impress him or her next time you go to a museum? Check this book out. It not only provides some fascinating glimpses into how scientists' views about dinosaurs have changed, it goes into great detail about how the author came to believe the theories he espouses. It shows an exceedingly interesting look into how science works. Like the Elegant Universe, some of the ideas put forth in this book are now out of date, but that doesn't stop this from being an ...more
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Julianne by: Discovery Kids Network
I can thank the Discovery Kids network for this one--they had Bakker on their show all the time (and Horner).

I really enjoyed this book-more than I expected to. Bakker's a good writer. I don't want to act surprised about that, but I am a little. I didn't think I'd enjoy reading someone's research this much. Good for the layperson (e.g., not a paleontologist) to learn more about newer theories on dinosaur behavior, physiology, and extinction.

FYI, there's an obscure reference to Bakker in the Jura
Jan 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: z_2012, non-fiction
Despite being written in the 80s, the book does a good job explaining the "current" orthodoxies of dino-life - the same things I was taught in school - Dinos were slow, swamp-loving, cold-blooded, and stupid. Hopefully they're not teaching this anymore. And while I'd read stuff that touched on the newer idea of warm-blooded, fast, and pre-avian. It was good to see where it came from. (And amazing to learn that it was thought of in the 1800s and early 1900s before the cold-blooded idea took root) ...more
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Bakker was born in Bergen County, New Jersey. He attributes his interest in dinosaurs to his reading an article in the September 7, 1953 issue of Life magazine. He graduated from Ridgewood High School in 1963.
At Yale University, Bakker studied under John Ostrom, an early proponent of the new view of dinosaurs, and later gained a PhD at Harvard. He began by teaching anatomy at Johns Hopkins Univers
“I love museums more than any other institution the human race has invented. Museum people are always overworked and underpaid, and they all deserve sainthood, every one.” 7 likes
“Inveterate creationists, then or now, never allow their faith to fall victim to facts.” 2 likes
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