Cover image for Dinosaurs of Utah
Dinosaurs of Utah
DeCourten, Frank.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Salt Lake City : University of Utah Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xi, 300 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 26 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QE862.D5 D42 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Falls between a purely technical and a purely popular account of the findings from one of the world's most productive dinosaur- fossil producing regions. Describes them as part of the Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystem and puts them in the context of the changing landscapes, environment, and biota evidence of the geological record. The text is detailed but jargon-free, and is supported with line drawings, photographs of sites, and color paintings of what the critters might have looked like. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Dinomania afflicts five-and fifty-year-olds alike. But unlike many scientific subjects, the study of the terrible lizards is accessible to enthusiasts spanning the ages, aided by such visually colorful works as DeCourten and Long's. Visitors to Dinosaur National Monument are only scratching the surface of what Utah offers in extinct charismatic fauna, because those animals tramped all over Utah, not just in a federally designated preserve, and left millions of footprints, fossilized bones, and gastroliths (rocks from dino gizzards) that continually weather to the surface. The abundance stems from the geologic upheaval of the Mesozoic age, when "all hell broke loose," as paleontologist DeCourten writes. During the Mesozoic, the Utah area drifted northward from the equator, through the dry horse latitudes, then farther north still into wetter climes. The dinosaurs, consequently, evolved in radically different environments, the geologic record of which DeCourten ably describes, supported by photos of Utah's buttes and canyons. But paintings by Carol Brest Van Kempen more viscerally capture the imagination. There are 22 paintings, which crown this capable introduction to the age of dinos in general, not just parochially those of Utah. Long's work also sports eyecatching paintings, and its quality, too, extends beyond mere eye candy. The reason lies in Long's successful appeal to both expert paleontologists and novitiates. Long, a museum curator in Perth, balances what is popular (pictures of toothy, menacing skulls) with what is basic (precise taxonomic description). The two levels of detail coexist thanks to an effective graphic presentation that enhances the text with photographs of dig sites, bones and clawprints, and reconstructions of the dinosaurs. This look supports the substance of Australia's status, rivaled by the American West, as the world's dinotopia. The dry environments promote quick discovery of fossils eroding out of Mesozoic strata, and Long's descriptions of a century's worth of Aussie finds are worth most science collection's consideration. --Gilbert Taylor

Library Journal Review

This ambitious book will satisfy anyone who has ever wondered what things were like when dinosaurs roamed the earth. DeCourten (geology, Sierra Coll.) presents an amazing assortment of information related to the dinosaurs that inhabited the area now known as Utah, from the tracks of their footprints to their skin impressions. He not only defines what qualifies anatomically as a dinosaur but also describes the ecological environment for each age, from climatic conditions to flora and fauna, providing a unique viewpoint from which to examine dinosaur evolution and species adaptations. While the text is primarily of interest to those studying the fossils of the Morrison Formation, the stunning compilation of illustrations‘75 drawings of fossils and dinosaur anatomy, 22 color paintings of dinosaurs against their Utah environs, and 41 photographs providing a look at Utah's geological history and fossil sites‘will appeal to dinosaur aficionados everywhere. For academic and larger public libraries.‘Gloria Maxwell, Kansas City P.L., KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Dinosaurs, dinosaurs, dinosaurs! Aside from the fact that they are still with us as birds, dinosaurs have become significant elements of movies, toy manufacturer's product lines, international stamps, and the book market, with at least one other state book on dinosaurs. DeCourten's is a substantial volume. Beginning with an examination of the emerging Mesozoic world and a look at dinosaur diversity and biology, the author emphasizes the geological and biological characteristics of Utah during the age of dinosaurs. Utah is a major North American, and indeed, world center for finding dinosaur fossils. Chapters examine the major geological formations of the Utah Mesozoic and their ecology, dinosaurs, and other contemporary animal fossils. Line drawings show the locations of important Mesozoic formations; drawings of parts (including footprints) of animals or skeletal restorations of dinosaurs are numerous. Many fine color photographs of important rock outcrops and a few dozen color illustrations of lifelike restorations of dinosaurs in behavioral postures add a bright but unfortunately rather stiff view of these animals. Despite its rather provincial title, this book covers dinosaur geology, biology, and diversity. Some statements raise factual questions. A useful addition to library collections. All levels. D. Bardack; University of Illinois at Chicago