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December 29, 1985|CHARLES SOLOMON

BONES FOR BARNUM BROWN: ADVENTURES OF A DINOSAUR HUNTER by Roland Bird; edited by V. Theodore Schreiber (Texas Christian University: $29.95). Roland Bird was a bone hunter, a researcher who roamed the desolate regions of Western North America during the '30s and '40s, seeking and excavating fossils. His mentor, Barnum Brown of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, was the last representative of the "dinosaur kings," the pioneering generation of paleontologists. Although he received little formal training, Bird became one of the foremost field scientists of his day, with an extraordinary skill--and luck--at finding and preserving delicate specimens: His most famous discovery was the trail of gargantuan dinosaur tracks that are still on exhibit with the brontosaurus skeleton in the Museum. Schreiber compiled this book from the voluminous journal Bird kept of his work. Bird commanded a surprisingly strong prose style--unpretentious and highly readable; his engrossing account of excavations, discoveries and frustrations would make an excellent gift for any armchair scientist.

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