The Bone Museum: Travels in the Lost Worlds of Dinosaurs and Birds


291 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-670-88542-8
DDC 567.9





Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is Director of Research and Natural Lands at the Royal
Botanical Gardens.


The genre of the public exposition of science is a venerable one, with a
recent form involving writers accompanying scientists as they go about
their business. Grady, a well-known science writer, follows up his 1993
The Dinosaur Project with another book in which he participates in
excavations by Phil Currie, celebrated paleontologist at Drumheller’s
Royal Tyrrell Museum, and others digging for fossils of dinosaurs and
early birds in Alberta, Argentina, and Saskatchewan. The text includes
accounts of the explorations, conversations with a cast of supporting
characters (ranging from other scientists such as Dale Russell to
locals), and Grady’s own adventures and reflections. There is a smooth
blend of paleontological history, background science, mythology, public
interactions, and human interest, spiced with incidents in camp life
such as black widow spiders. Appropriately, the thinking and approaches
of the scientists receive considerable attention. The nitty-gritty and
ups and downs of bone digging—such as removing a sample only to have
it dropped by the helicopter—is well depicted. On the technical side,
taphonomy (the study of what happens to a body after death) is well
described, but is “GPS equipment” now a standard acronym?
Recommended as a chatty introduction to paleontological fieldwork.


Grady, Wayne., “The Bone Museum: Travels in the Lost Worlds of Dinosaurs and Birds,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024,