No one knows what brought the huge animal down. … At some point its knees buckled and it dropped to the ground with a seismic thud … It was almost certainly still alive …
William Northdurft weaves together two narratives, German paleontologist Ernst Freiher Stromer von Reichenback’s 1911 discovery of fossil dinosaurs in the Egyptian desert and the expedition of a group of contemporary paleontologists hoping to rediscover that fossil bed. Stromer had been the first to describe many of the species he brought back to Europe. Yet Stromer’s entire collection was obliterated during allied bombing raids in WWII, and no one any longer knew quite where his dinosaurs had been found. For a non-scientist looking over facts and diagrams science can look staid, but when you get into the history it takes on more color – the fleas in the tents, the gigantic bones poking out of a hillside, the denunciations of rivals, the thefts. Nor does Northdurft neglect the old monsters themselves. Did those long-necked dinosaurs munch from tree tops like giraffes? Or was it more efficient for them just to keep their heads low and turn their bodies in a gigantic arc, eating and eating and eating without hardly having to move a step? An engaging mix of travelogue, history, and science.
Check the BPL catalog for this title: The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt