The Ultimate Dinosaur Reading List

If you ever want to put things in perspective, consider this: Less time separates human beings in history from Tyrannosaurus rex than T. rex from Stegosaurus. That’s right. While T. rex went extinct about 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous Period, the Jurassic Period’s stegosaurus roamed the Earth 83 million years before T. rex had even evolved. All told, dinosaurs ruled the planet for some 180 million years, while homo sapiens emerged a paltry 200,000 years ago. 

That’s just one of many reasons our fascination with the terrible lizards is wholly justified. We’ve curated this Brachiosaurus-sized collection of 20 great articles all about dinosaurs and the people who obsess over them, including what dinosaurs looked like, what it’s like to be a paleontologist hunting for dinosaur fossils, and whether Jurassic Park could actually happen.

Why We Love Dinosaurs

Boria Sax • Nautilus

If museums of natural history are temples to science, dinosaurs are their shrines.

The Surprising History (and Future) of Dinosaurs

Chantel Tattoli • Paris Review

Most dinosaurs are dusted off as fragmentary skeletons. But those few bones can be enough to describe a new species, and on average, a new species is discovered every week. We are in the golden age of paleontology.

How Do We Know What Dinosaurs Looked Like?

Sara Chodosh • Popular Science

Paleontologists pull inspiration from modern birds and reptiles to design true-to-life T. rexes.

What It’s Like to Dig for Dinosaur Bones

Steve Macone • The Atlantic

On the cusp of adulthood in an era of in-betweens, a search for fossils and meaning.

How We Elected T. rex to Be Our Tyrant Lizard King

Riley Black • Smithsonian Magazine

The true story behind our obsession with the last and largest of the tyrannosaurs.

How to Weigh a Dinosaur

Elizabeth Yuko • Lifehacker

Though you may have never specifically thought about how much dinosaurs weighed, this is something that paleobiologists have been trying to figure out for more than a century.

WATCH: How to Build a Dinosaur

Kimberly Mas • Vox

A fully intact T. rex has never been found, but building one is no problem.

How to Outrun a Dinosaur

Cody Cassidy • Wired

If, through some scientific malfunction, you found yourself transported 70 million years into the past, you might be safer from certain hungry reptiles than you think.

This Is What Dinosaur Meat Tasted Like

Hilary Pollack • Vice

We asked experts for insight into what tearing into a rack of Tyrannosaur ribs would be like, from a flavor and texture perspective, and it doesn’t sound half bad.

The Day the Dinosaurs Died

Douglas Preston • The New Yorker

A young paleontologist may have discovered a record of the most significant event in the history of life on Earth.

What If the Asteroid Never Killed the Dinosaurs?

Daniel Kolitz • Gizmodo

To find out, Gizmodo reached out to a number of geologists, paleontologists, and evolutionary biologists.

How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds

Emily Singer • Quanta Magazine

Modern birds appeared to emerge in a snap of evolutionary time. But new research illuminates the long series of evolutionary changes that made the transformation possible.

On America’s Wild West of Dinosaur Fossil Hunting

Lukas Rieppel • Literary Hub

In 19th-Century America, rare old bones were a resource like any other.

To Date a Dinosaur

Laura Poppick • Knowable Magazine

Stegosaur expert Susie Maidment is laying crucial groundwork for assigning ages to fossils from North America’s most dinosaur-rich rocks. More precise timings promise to reveal plenty about how the beasts lived and evolved through time.

‘The Nation’s T. rex’: How a Montana Family’s Hike Led to an Incredible Discovery

Steve Hendrix • The Washington Post

The “Wankel T. rex” is one of the largest and most complete skeletons of the meat-eating dinosaur ever found.

Why Does the U.S. Army Own So Many Fossils?

Sabrina Imbler • Atlas Obscura

Turns out massive flood control projects are a great way to find dinosaurs.

How Jurassic Park Changed the Way Movies Looked at Dinosaurs

Keith Phipps • Vulture

A brief history of dinosaur movies, from Gertie the Dinosaur to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The Real Science of Bringing Back the Dinosaurs

Matt Blitz • Popular Mechanics

Jack Horner, a paleontologist who inspired a character in the original Jurassic Park, says science is ready to resurrect the dinosaurs. But should we?

The Best Places to Visit for Dinosaur Lovers of Any Age

Julie Vick • Afar

Plan an entire trip around your (or your little ones’) favorite types of dinosaurs. Here’s where to go to spot your most beloved species.

The Best Books on Dinosaurs

Recommended by Paul Barrett • Five Books

Palaeontology and dinosaur specialist Paul Barrett says many of the 1,200 known species of dinosaur were far more complex than we once thought. Some were brightly feathered, many were at least partly warm-blooded

Get fascinating articles like these directly in your inbox.

Join millions and sign up for Pocket’s daily newsletter.