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Best dinosaur books for adults and kids © Getty Images

5 of the best dinosaur books for adults and kids

We've put together a list of the best books on dinosaurs we think you should read in 2021.

If there are young children in your family, the chances are that one of them will go through a dinosaur phase at some point. Or maybe you’re still in your dinosaur phase yourself (and who could blame you? Dinosaurs are cool).

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Either way, a dinosaur book is a great gift for yourself or a loved one. Not only is it educational, it will give you some astounding facts you can share with your friends.

We’ve put together a list of our pick of the best dinosaur books for adults and kids that will teach all sorts of things you didn’t know, from how they behaved to whether they really looked like the scaly lizards of Jurassic Park.

Or, for more ideas to add to your reading list, check out the best science books or the best science books for kids.

The best dinosaur books to read in 2021

The Age Of Dinosaurs: The Rise And Fall Of The World’s Most Remarkable Animals

The age of dinosaurs book cover

Steve Brusatte

Many young dinosaur fans dream of being a dinosaur hunter one day, and to uncover a fossil that turns out to be a brand new species. The Age of Dinosaurs allows them to put themselves in those shoes.

Prof Steve Brusatte is a palaeontologist at the University of Edinburgh, and in this book he gives an insider view into life hunting dinosaurs, including the story of discovering the tyrannosaur ‘Pinocchio rex’ (Qianzhousaurus).

And, of course, he also tells the story of the life of the dinosaurs throughout their full 150-million-year history.

Tyrannosaurus Rex: A Pop-up Guide To Anatomy

Tyrannosaurus rex book cover

Dougal Dixon

This beautiful book will take you inside the very skull of a T. rex with stunning illustrations and pop-ups. You and your dinosaur-loving kids are invited to imagine watching the dissection of the first fully preserved T. rex specimen.

What anatomical features would you see inside its body, and what could this teach you about the way it behaved?

Dictionary Of Dinosaurs

Dictionary of dinosaurs book cover

Matthew G Baron

Do you know a young palaeontologist in the making? If they want to be a real expert, they’ll need to know about all kinds of dinosaurs, from Archaeopteryx to Zephyrosaurus (Okay, I looked that one up).

Dictionary of Dinosaurs covers not only the famous favourites, but many of the lesser known species, too. Each comes with information about the species, an illustration, and a comparison with the size of an average human. An added bonus is a pronunciation guide for the Latin names – no more arguing over whether it’s di-plod-o-cus or di-ploh-doc-us.

All Yesterdays: Unique And Speculative Views Of Dinosaurs And Other Prehistoric Animals

All yesterdays book cover

Darren Naish, John Conway and CM Kosemen

What did the dinosaurs look like? You might expect them to look like the enormous, scaly lizards of Jurassic Park – and this is definitely a common belief. But more recent discoveries have revealed that these prehistoric monsters may not have looked as we were led to believe.

You’ve probably heard that some dinosaurs had feathers – but did you know that we can tell what colour some of them were? And they weren’t just drab greens and greys, either. Some dinosaurs were red, blue, black or even iridescent. Then, of course, there’s the fact that bones are preserved much better than soft tissue. Could they have had wattles, like chickens or turkeys, or a keratinous ridge on their head like cassowaries?

All Yesterdays argues against the ‘shrink-wrapping’ approach that many representations of dinosaurs take, showing so little muscle under the skin that the overall structure of the skeleton can still be seen. Modern animals don’t look like that – why should prehistoric ones?

Locked In Time: Animal Behaviour Unearthed In 50 Extraordinary Fossils

Locked in time book cover

Dean R Lomax

We know a lot about dinosaurs: when and where they lived, how big they were, how they died, and how they evolved into birds. And, of course, we can figure out a few things about how they behaved – this one had the teeth of a meat-eater, whereas that one can only have eaten plants. It’s hard to imagine that we could know much more about how they lived than that.

But, amazingly, we can. In Locked In Time, palaeontologist Dean Lomax takes us on a tour of 50 fossils of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals that were preserved in the middle of their lives, from dinosaurs sitting on their eggs like birds to mammoths caught in a fight to the death.

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