Picks and Pans Review: The Complete T. Rex

updated 06/21/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/21/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by John R. Horner and Don Lessem

Dinosaurs may be extinct, but interest in them has never been livelier—just ask Barney. Now even Steven Spielberg has gotten into the act with his just opened, $56 million movie based on Michael Crichton's best-seller Jurassic Park. Those curious for a closer look at one of the film's dino-stars, the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex, are directed to this inviting work by paleontologist Horner, who worked as an adviser on the movie. Having sifted through the latest research, Horner (whose team unearthed the remains of a T. rex in eastern Montana's badlands in 1990) and science journalist Lessem all but de-fang long-held beliefs about the beady-eyed predator who stalked the earth some 65 million years ago. They argue, for example, that T. rex made its home in forests, not swamps; that its arms, while short, were not puny but powerful; that its body was less bulky than popularly thought and its tail was raised off the ground, enabling it to run—in bursts as fast as an Olympic sprinter. Horner's passion for his subject is infectious; his tone is never overly academic. At times, in fact, his accessible, chatty style is overly cute (one chapter is titled "Lifestyles of the Huge and Famous" and at another point he refers coyly to the study of "dinosaur poop"). Still, this volume—packed with illustrations and photographs, along with a resource guide and bibliography for both kids and adults—offers a mother lode of information for dinophiles. The Complete T. Rex lives up to its title. (Simon & Schuster, $25)

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