The Dinosaur Papers 1676-1906

Works of the Founding Fathers of Paleontology at a Bargain Price!

Dear Dinosaur Enthusiast:

My name is Nadine White, and I am one of the authors/editors of The Dinosaur Papers 1676-1906 along with Dr. David Weishampel. Our book brings back into print many of the first research papers ever published on dinosaurs. These papers are still referenced today in the latest workings of the field. For some of the papers here, this is their first publication in English.

Why We Put The Dinosaur Papers Together

This book was the result of a very big need to find these papers. I had planned a TV show on Dave Weishampal’s book Dinosaurs of the East Coast and one on dinosaur eggs. My researches led me to the early fathers of paleontology in hard to find, difficult to read, long out-of-print volumes of philosophical papers, microfilmed yearly publications of early scientific societies, and early geological surveys in both the US and England.

Realizing that anyone in the field needing these papers would have to repeat this same research again and again, it seemed like the opportune time to make these papers available again in an easier to read, clean and modern format. I found a lively scientific debate in progress as I traced the development of dinosaurs and their relatives and a wonderful birth and growth of a new science in these papers. Now other scientists can save time, money, research efforts and graduate students by acquiring this book and bringing these first major dinosaur discoveries to their desktops!

Ann Fanning’s plesiosaur discoveries are here. Richard Owen’s first use of the term “dinosaur” is here. The start of the feud between Cope and Marsh is here, as are the first descriptions of T-Rex, stegosaurus, compsognathus, iguanodon, brontosaurus and many others. Commentaries on the context of these papers provide a link to the work of today and the controversies still being deciphered as research continues. The Dinosaur Papers captures the earliest days of dinosaur research in a way not ever available before.

“I have read the Dinosaur Papers; what a tour de force….The book is like a Russian doll, you start with one layer of information and then find underlying layers of more subtle themes. The developing intellectual awakening, versus initial interpretations based so often on poor material and hampered by thinking trapped in existing, deeply seated theological restraints now has a timeline. The gradual change in linguistic style is one I particularly enjoyed seeing revealed…. And the illustrations... I keep going back to them constantly….[Y]ou have done a very great and lasting service with this one…
—Ken Merrick, Australia

The History of Dinosaurs...From the Original Sources!

For those of us who are interested in the history of dinosaur paleontology there is often one major obstacle. Sure, plenty of good books are available discussing the contributions of men like Mantell, Buckland, Owen, Cope, and Marsh, but these are usually summaries. All too often, these accounts are either too watered-down or too technical, as they are written either for a general audience or degreed historians of science. In any case, however, it is difficult for us to examine the actual words of the famed pioneers of science themselves. The original papers penned by these celebrated giants are incredibly rare, confined to the dark corners of special collections in only a handful of the world’s best libraries. Publishing practices in the early 1800s, when the extinct race of saurians known as dinosaurs was first being discovered, were different from today. Authors themselves often bore the cost of printing, and as a result papers and books were published in limited quantities. In one extreme case, only 150 copies of a book written by Gideon Mantell were produced. Obstacles such as these are thankfully obliterated with the publication of this incredible book from Smithsonian Institution Books.

This new volume, The Dinosaur Papers, is a compilation of 47 of the most important early publications dealing with dinosaurs and other prehistoric reptiles. Edited by dinosaur paleontologist David Weishampel and fossil enthusiast Nadine White, this book traces the formative years of 1676-1906, when the fledgling science of paleontology crystallized from a gentleman’s hobby enjoyed by only the wealthy into a strict science celebrated by the media and the public alike.

“On behalf of Nadine White…I am forwarding info on The Dinosaur Papers. Christmas is coming, and every dinosaur and history of paleontology fan should get a copy….”
—Thomas R. Holtz Jr. (President, Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists)

Included in the book are the full texts, including illustrations, from Robert Plot’s inaugural description of a dinosaur femur, part of Georges Cuvier’s renowned Reserches sur les Ossemens Fossiles de Quadrupeds, William Buckland’s description of Megalosaurus, Gideon Mantell’s notice on Iguanodon, Edward Hitchcock’s musings on the fossil footprints of New England, Richard Owen’s original naming and diagnosis of the Dinosauria, Joseph Leidy’s recount of Hadrosaurus, Louis Dollo’s five-part description of the Bernissart [Iguanodon] fossils, and Henry Fairfield Osborn’s description of Tyrannosaurus.

Also included are several papers written by Cope and Marsh at the height of their feud, a collection of documents dealing with the early study of Archaeopteryx, the recounts of some of the first known dinosaur eggs from France, and even general comments on ancient life from Thomas Henry Huxley. Simply put, this impressive volume contains several of the most important publications in the history of paleontology.

What is especially convenient about this new book is that all of these papers, along with most of their original illustrations, are contained in one volume. This almost entirely eliminates the need to track down the elusive originals, and gives both amateur and professional science historians an accessible source that easily allows the reader to track the early history and subsequent metamorphosis of the science of vertebrate paleontology. Six well-researched and clear chapter introductions synthesize the current understanding of the history of the science, and put all of the included papers into both a scientific and historical context. Additionally, footnotes provide suggestions for further reading.

Vertebrate paleontology is an historical science, and as such many of its enthusiasts, both professional and avocational enjoy an interest in the history of the science. Summary volumes and technical historical works are nice, but nothing beats reading the original words of the early practitioners of our field. The Dinosaur Papers combines many of the most “sacred” texts of our science in a single, well-accessible volume….it belongs at the front of any fossil buff’s bookshelf.

Review by Steve Brusatte
© 2000

Five Stars! History of the study of "Dragon Bones". This is a great work in that it outlines in great historical detail how we as dinosaur vertebrate paleontologists got to where we are today. It is great to study the details of specific "Dragon Bones", but it means so much more when you can appreciate on whose shoulders we now stand….It really puts things in perspective.
— Origins Muse "RAH" on Amazon (Florida, USA)

The book was pricey – the Smithsonian originally published it at $75.00! Now that this website is open, things have changed a bit and I can make a great offer to you dinosaur trackers who are interested in this book.

I have acquired 1000 copies of the original printing, brand new and shrink wrapped. While they last, I can make them available for $20.00 plus shipping and handing of $8.50.

In addition, when you order here, we will provide you a bookplate with the signatures of both authors – available only here through Bookworm Productions Inc.!

“I think it's a very nice book. I am not on the Dinosaur listserver but I expect those people would be delighted at such a bargain.”
— Kevin Padian, University of California, Berkeley

Just click the BUY button and you will be taken to our order form. You will find we have a convenient PayPal payment plan and an easy to use shopping cart.

If you should wish to order via snail mail – just send your name, address, email, and a check (Payable to Bookworm Productions Inc.) for $28.50 to:

Nadine White
Bookworm Productions Inc.
P. O. Box 970
Lusby, Maryland 20657

For these direct orders, we will mail you the volume separately.

Foreign purchasers should query us at regarding international postage before ordering. If expedited shipping is needed, a query as to costs should also be sent to us for a quote.

The Dinosaur Papers is a great reference book, a fantastic vacation read and a marvelous Christmas /birthday/special occasion gift for those who enjoy the history of paleontology as a science as much as the dinosaurs themselves.

Those who order here will save more than half over the original cost and those who love dinosaurs will have a great time reading the original debates and discussions that became the science of paleontology.

We will look forward to hearing from you. Please email if you have any questions. Thank you for your time and enjoy The Dinosaur Papers!

Yours truly,
Nadine White

P.S. See our related videos on our Related Products Page. Same easy ordering! You can download or get a CD, which ever suits you. The CDs are more expensive due to shipping and handling as well as duplication costs. We have a show on dinosaur eggs. There is another on an ice age dig near Richmond, Virginia, and a video on facts about mummies. More videos will come. Papers in this book are also available separately – email or see our About the Book Page here!