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Dinosaurs, Spitfires, and Sea Dragons

Dinosaurs, Spitfires, and Sea Dragons

Christopher McGowan

ISBN 9780674207707

Publication date: 01/01/1992

Christopher McGowan sets out to solve some of the enduring mysteries about dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles. He makes fascinating comparisons between living and extinct animals while presenting topics that range from gigantism to intellect. In addition to exploring the natural history of the Mesozoic Era, McGowan draws on science and engineering concepts to explain curiosities such as the similarities between the aerodynamics of pteranodons and Spitfire planes.


  • The net effect of [this] book is to make one extremely jealous of anyone lucky enough to take Professor McGowan’s class in evolutionary biology at the University of Toronto… The problem with the several dinosaur controversies is that merely to argue about them requires an appreciation of many aspects of Newtonian physics, aero- and thermodynamics, and both applied and theoretical geophysics. Since one wishes to be read by more than the world’s half-dozen genuine polymaths, one must explain everything along the way, and that is the stunning success of this book. It is a text that can be read with profit by a teenager willing to learn a few new words and by a professional in the field of paleontology.

    —M. R. Montgomery, Boston Globe


  • Christopher McGowan is Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and Professor of Zoology at the University of Toronto.

Book Details

  • 384 pages
  • 7 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press