Friday, July 12, 2019

Fact Friday: Titanosaur: discovering the world's largest dinosaur by Dr. José Luis Carballido & Dr. Diego Pol

Image: Scholastic Inc.
Titanosaur: discovering the world's largest dinosaur by Dr. José Luis Carballido & Dr. Diego Pol. unpgd. Orchard Books/ Scholastic Inc. February, 2019. 9781338207392. (Review of finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

Slightly oversized picture book treatment of the discovery and excavation of the world's largest dinosaur bones in Argentina. Beautiful paintings illustrated the text, which was written by the paleontologists who worked on the dig. Sidebars add extra scientific information along with photos of the scientists and the dig. This is sure to please any budding paleontologist. 

My only quibble is the fact the authors chose not to name the gaucho who discovered the femur and who made the trek to the museum with the information. I am always telling my students to give credit for sources. Surely he deserved a lot more credit than, "a gaucho." 

I also wondered about the destruction of the the land on the ranch in the name of science. Sure, the team dug the bones out carefully, but was the land restored when work was complete? Why did they need to build a road? What sort of road was built? How did it affect the ranch? Was the owner compensated? I think students today should be made aware of these issues and encouraged to question the effects and ethics of scientific exploration. 

Perhaps this could've been addressed in the back matter. But aside from a short author's note and additional pictures, there was no other back matter - no suggestions for further reading or glossary. The end-pages were cute and the flip side of the cover revealed a poster of the titanosaur.

ETA: My google search revealed a number of articles from such reliable sources as the New York Times and the BBC. Neither source mentions the rancher's name! Interestingly, Wikipedia does identify him as Guillermo Herridea. 

A good book will prompt questions, so it's not a bad thing, just an observation. Truthfully, I'm a bit more disappointed in the spare back matter; but then, I've been on a bit of a back matter crusade lately. That said, Titanosaur belongs in any library catering to young and old dino fans!

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