Conway, J., Koseman, C. M., & Naish, D. (2012). All yesterdays: Unique and speculative views of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. Irregular Books.
This short art book is a collaboration between paleoartists Conway and Koseman and paleontologist Darren Naish. All Yesterdays combines playful speculative illustrations which are grounded by current paleobiological understandings and modern animal behavior. The art and supporting text challenge common images of dinosaurs while presenting them as once-living animals with much more in common with extant animals than dragons or monsters.
Haraway, D. (2008). When species meet. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Haraway explores a variety of issues between humans and nonhuman animals, particularly companion species. Drawing from personal experience, literature, and science, Haraway takes a unique and critical look at the relationship between laboratory animals and humans, controversy of genetic disorder and disease in purebred dog lines, and the bioethics of cloning companion animals, among other related topics. Since Haraway is concerned with human relationships with modern (companion) animals, the theoretical foundations as applied to extinct animals are somewhat limited. However, Haraway does offer some interesting perspectives regarding the difference between the corpse and the body (which is always “in-the-making”), the notion than animal can become an “honorary person” with personal pronouns when identified with a name and gender, and humans too often fail to recognize that their animal companion is not a “furry child,” a character, or an extension of oneself.
Mitchell, W. J. T. (1998). The last dinosaur book: The life and times of a cultural icon. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Mitchell, a professor or English language and literature at the University of Chicago, describes himself as an iconologist, and this is the approach he takes to describing human made images of dinosaurs. Mitchell deconstructs a variety of dinosaur images from popular culture, including literature, TV commercials, murals, and of course, the Jurassic Park films of the 1990s. Mitchell describes the dinosaur as the “totem animal of modernity:” dinosaurs serve as social symbols with which individuals and groups can identify and can be approached as ancestor species preceding the rise of mammals. Mitchell also outlines a schematic history of dinosaur images which provides a framework for dinosaur images by historical era: the American Revolution to the Civil War, the Gilded Age to the Depression, and World War II to the end of the Cold War.
Noble, B. (2016). Articulating dinosaurs: A political anthropology. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.
Anthropologist Brian Noble presents a historical and ethnological examination of the process of constructing understanding of dinosaurs through two case studies: the Tyrannosaurus rex display at early 20th Century American Museum of Natural History and the Maiasaura exhibit display at the Royal Ontario Museum in the 1990s. Noble pays particular attention to the interplay between fiction and science, but with special emphasis on the “specimen-spectacle” matrix and the impact of popular culture on paleontological understandings and representations.
Paul, G. S. (2016). The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs (2nd ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
This reference book includes a detailed introduction which provides insights into modern understandings of dinosaur natures, including contextualizing the evolution and extinction of dinosaurs. Paul also provides an overview of dinosaur biology and behavior, explaining current theories and paleontological evidence and scientific discoveries suggest about dinosaur physiology, appearance, vocalization, intelligence, and behaviors.
Sax, B. (2018). Dinomania: Why we love, fear and are utterly enchanted by dinosaurs. London: Reaktion Books.
Sax takes a broad view of dinosaurs and their role in culture and religion throughout history. Of particular interest are Sax’s explorations of the epistemological tensions which arose at the beginning of the modern era with the first dinosaur fossil discoveries which challenged both scientists’ and the public’s perception of the place of humans in natural history. Similarly, changing understandings of the extinction of dinosaurs coincided with shifting views of human exceptionalism and the possibility of human extinction. Sax further builds upon Mitchell’s analysis of dinosaurs as symbols of modernity–dinosaurs were first discovered, and socially constructed–at the beginning of the modern era.