Do you hate dinosaurs?

Do you like thinking about their last days, when they were set on fire and hurled about by terrible storms, and the survivors then starved to death in a transformed world? Well, you’re in luck! Smithsonian has published an excerpt from Riley Black’s new book, The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World, and you can read about an Edmontosaurus in the last moments before it got the surprise of its life!

If you’re not a brutal sadist, there’s also lots of good information for dinosaur-lovers, too, as most of us are.


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    Hate? I’m trying buy a ticket to see a limited-time exhibit on T. Rex at my local museum!

  2. PaulBC says

    I don’t hate dinosaurs, but when I was reading children’s paleontology books, I found them a lot less interesting than everything else. Trilobites are cool. Ammonites too. Also the giant dragonflies. I loved the prehistoric plants even. Dinosaurs, meh. Just big.

  3. says

    I love dinosaurs as long as they are portrayed right, with feathers, bird-like arms, and no humans to bother them in every way. After all dinosaurs lived and died long before there any humans on earth. So they never have to worry about being hunted by men struggling to put food in their bellies. Mastodons and Mammoths OTHO…

  4. birgerjohansson says

    I am sorta interested in the mammal-like repriles and their contemporary reptiles before the Really Big Extinction*. Lots of odd organisms from different branches of the reptilian tree.

    *It coincides with the magma flood volcanism of the Siberian Traps, but we now know there was also massive volcanism in Australia, the CO2 driving up global temperatures shortly before things got weird in Siberia.

  5. kingoftown says

    I’ll definitely have to get this book. For anyone interested in this subject David Attenborough’s recent documentary about the Tanis site, Dinosaurs: The Final Day, was very interesting.

  6. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    PBS show Nova is airing the @6 Attenborough documentary tonight in two back to back hours, at both Chicago and Milwaukee stations. Recorder already set.

  7. flange says

    This is a great excerpt. Wonderful, believable details—lice that must have tortured these creatures, safety of the herd, etc. Much more evocative than most movie attempts at creating a prehistoric scene. It’s worth buying the book.

  8. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin has made it quite clear, in no uncertain terms, that if I answer anything other than “no, no, absolutely no” she will keep all the cheese and MUSHROOMS! to herself, but will supply some peas. Since she normally eats all the cheese first, and the MUSHROOMS!, before I can eat any of either, that’s not much of a motivation — except, of course, for the peas part. So, no, no, absolutely NO, I don’t hate dinosaurs, Ok!

    (Now can I please have some of the cheese?)

  9. drsteve says

    @5 Same! I went through the standard dinosaur obsession phase when I was 4 or 5 (in the late 80s) and for a long time I remembered Dimetrodon as one of the ‘dinosaur’ toys/picture book stars that were as iconic to me as Triceratops or Stegosaurus. So it truly blew my mind to learn relatively late in life (like maybe eight years ago) that Dimetrodon wasn’t a dinosaur at all, and was more closely related to mammals in fact.

  10. hemidactylus says

    Even though they are quite tasty when done right I am downright fearful of dinosaurs right now given their own global crisis with influenza. Sure it doesn’t spread well between people, but I don’t want a dinosaur to poop on my car and infect me with something that makes COVID look like a joke.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    drsteve @ 10
    We might talk about several “superdynasties” of terrestrial vertebrates that dominate the top of the food chain.
    First came the amphibians, which had to return to water for reproduction.
    After the amniotic membrane arrived, reptiles very quickly radiated into four major branches.
    The diapsids aka mammal-like reptiles became superdynasty 2, starting with very primitive reptiles (dimetrodon had probably only limited hearing, depending on the “sails” for sexual displays) and moving on to the very diverse cynodonts and dicynodonts.
    In the triassic, the archosaurs emerge as superdynasty 3. We get many
    pseudosuchians initially dominating over the first dinosaurs, then dinosaurs take over completely. Very early proto-mammals switch to a nocturnal life, the very first hair evolves, the mammals lose most of their color vision. The first mammals are a lot like monotemes.

    As the dinosaurs go extinct, the mammals quickly radiate to fill the ecological niches. This becomes the current superdynasty (the birds having their arms too specialised as wings to re-evolve arms, so they cannot seize all the niches mammals can use).

  12. =8)-DX says

    If you want a book about dinosaur suffering, I really enjoyed Allosaurus & Diplodocus by Lorde Kristine, a lifelong dinosaur enthusiast and author who manages to fit in geology, ecology and heartbreaking interpersonal dinosaur relationships.

  13. René says

    My mind’s eye pictures a ballet “The Dying Saur”. I don’t seem to remember the ballerinas in the fat costumes that such a ballet would require. Me and my brain are ageing.

  14. René says

    @15 and @16. Thanks for the suggestions, but NO. The ballet I had (have) in mind is on classical music {Bach?), erudite, and hilariously funny.

  15. whheydt says

    Re Rene’ @ #17…
    Poncielli isn’t classical enough? Actually, Bach–one presumes you mean J. S.–is considered to be late Baroque.

  16. hemidactylus says

    I don’t think I aired my anger at dinos enough. My friend’s conure was a bite happy asshole. It is weird that we think we dominate the planet but parrots mimic voices and if you croak out in an open field vultures will be there for you. Pigeons crap on our sacred statues.

  17. drsteve says

    birgerjohansson @12: Excellent, yes, it’s just that kind of framework, and the questions it raises, that gets at what I think is really neat about this area of biology.

    Your mention of monotremes makes me wonder what the evidence is about when mammalian live birth first evolved and whether selection pressure post-K-T extinction was a factor in the trait almost entirely taking over (or altenatively, whether it was more by chance arising from K-T population bottlenecks). I’ll have to add Black’s book to my reading list.

    hemidactylus @19: As an atheist who believes in biodegradability, I’d say you’re making very strong points in favor of vultures and pigeons at least. . .

  18. unclefrogy says

    in mind is on classical music {Bach?), erudite, and hilariously funny.

    P.D.Q. Bach of course?