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Download How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn't Have to Be Forever Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesnt Have to Be Forever Audiobook, by James Gorman Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (320 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Gorman, Jack Horner Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2009 ISBN: 9781400181414
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In movies, in novels, in comic strips, and on television, we’ve all seen dinosaurs—or at least somebody’s educated guess of what they would look like. But what if it were possible to build, or grow, a real dinosaur without finding ancient DNA?

Jack Horner, the scientist who advised Steven Spielberg on the blockbuster film Jurassic Park and a pioneer in bringing paleontology into the twenty-first century, teams up with the editor of the New York Times' Science Times section to reveal exactly what’s in store.

In the 1980s, Horner began using CAT scans to look inside fossilized dinosaur eggs, and he and his colleagues have been delving deeper ever since. At North Carolina State University, Mary Schweitzer has extracted fossil molecules—proteins that survived 68 million years—from a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil excavated by Horner. These proteins show that T. rex and the modern chicken are kissing cousins. At McGill University, Hans Larsson is manipulating a chicken embryo to awaken the dinosaur within—starting by getting it to grow a tail and eventually prompting it to grow the forelimbs of a dinosaur. All of this is happening without changing a single gene.

This incredible research is leading to discoveries and applications so profound that they’re scary in the power they confer on humanity. How to Build a Dinosaur is a tour of the hot rocky deserts and air-conditioned laboratories at the forefront of this scientific revolution.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Provocative.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Sure to appeal to dinosaur fans, this readable account of innovative science is recommended for public as well as academic library collections.”

    Library Journal

  • “Horner wants to introduce readers to ‘evo devo,’ a jazzy moniker for evolutionary development. But first he wants to tell a story—and it’s a good one…The polished narrative has a comfortable, intelligent flow…[It’s] evo devo for the everyday reader, with the personal stuff adding color.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Combining gross and molecular anatomy with genomic information, Horner believes, makes re-creating a dinosaur a genuine prospect that he urges his colleagues to pursue. Straight from the scientific frontier, Horner’s work should excite anyone who’s dreamed of walking with dinosaurs.”


  • “The authors cover highly technical scientific fields in a manner accessible to lay audiences, who will be captivated by Audie Award nominee Patrick Lawlor’s Mr. Wizard-like zeal.”

    Library Journal (audio review)

  • “Patrick Lawlor’s narration of Horner’s fascinating book is mostly enthusiastic and engaging, and he’s comfortable with the scientific jargon.”


Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jae | 2/12/2014

    " I enjoyed the first 2/3 of this book immensely. The last part just seemed to drag on. I guess when it comes to creating this creature, not so intriguing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Douglas Summers.Stay | 2/9/2014

    " Jack Horner (one of those paleontologists who seems to show up in a lot of science films and Discover articles) talks about his plan to genetically manipulate a chicken to turn it into something like a dinosaur. His two points seem to be that a) we would learn a lot about how structures are formed in the body and b) it would be pretty awesome, with the emphasis on b). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danielle T | 2/7/2014

    " I can't help but think if I actually finished this when I started it in summer of 2009 I might've found genetics/biochem sophomore year a lot more interesting and would've done better, but that's playing the coulda shoulda woulda game. Fascinating read, especially considering what it would take to produce atavistic features in a chicken. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicholas Lofaro | 2/2/2014

    " Anything about this science gets 5 stars because it's dinosaurs and dinosaurs always get 5 stars! haha! A quick read, more about imaginative science than perfect science, which is fun. Kids could read this, which is also important. Saw a special on 60 minutes about this concept and book, can't wait for a chickensaurus. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tiffany | 1/31/2014

    " Until that chickenosaur is created, I remain unconvinced... Empty promises, Horner! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicholas Griffith | 1/28/2014

    " Although it starts off slow, the research behind this book is extraordinary. The new evolutionary field of evo-devo is coming up with surprising new insight as to how embryos develop. Very much ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, it seems as though in many animals the embryo undergoes the transformation of it's genetic ancestors. In the case of a chicken, for a brief stage in the chicken's development it resembles something more like it's dinosaur ancestor. (In humans, the tadpole stage is probably parallel-we all have gills and fish tails during our embryonic development). Jack Horner wants to halt development at the "dinosaur" stage of a chicken embryo and grow it into a baby dinosaur (albeit with a chicken genome). This is probably the future of biology. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Timothy | 1/20/2014

    " Interesting concept, reverse engineer a chicken into a dinosaur like creature. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Farfoff | 1/16/2014

    " I hadn't really thought much about dinosaurs since first grade. It turns out that the last decade has brought a lot of advances in the science -- also a several new discoveries of non-avian dinosaurs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hip E. | 1/3/2014

    " Good idea, not very well-written. Dawkins is much better at writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenn | 11/23/2013

    " This book explains things enough for people that aren't scientists, but gives enough interesting information for those that are. Plus I loved the way that he approached criticism from creationists; it was very amusing at times! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Harley Gee | 3/20/2013

    " Horner explores the connections between developmental biology and paleontology and he seems serious about creating a chickosaurus to demonstrate the dinosaur ancestry of birds, ie. the chicken. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joi | 6/2/2012

    " Really enjoyed reading it before visiting the Museum of the Rockies. A must read for anyone who loves dinosaurs! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily Elert | 7/29/2011

    " Really great introduction to evolutionary developmental biology, as well as a nice review of the history of paleontology. I like how this book pushes the reader into an emerging field while catching him up on the science behind it. And I'm looking forward to the chicken-o-saurus. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 8/19/2010

    " Pretty good, though he wanders away from the subject sometimes, the majority of the time the information contributes to the understanding of the points covered in the book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Malia | 9/10/2009

    " This book is really fluffy on content. The concept is great and there's a lot of cool embryology stuff, I just like my science writing a little denser. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carol | 9/6/2009

    " Excellent! I have never outgrown my fascination with dinosaurs! Interesting discussions of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Brian | 6/8/2009

    " Surprisingly un-engaging argument for reverse-engineering a dinosaur from chicken DNA. Interesting, but poorly written. Continuity in organization is a real problem. "

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About the Author

James Gorman is deputy science editor of the New York Times and editor of its Science Times section. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including three with renowned paleontologist Jack Horner.

About the Narrator

Patrick Lawlor, an award-winning narrator, is also an accomplished stage actor, director, and combat choreographer. He has worked extensively off Broadway and has been an actor and stuntman in both film and television. He has been an Audie Award finalist multiple times and has garnered several AudioFile Earphones Awards, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and many starred audio reviews from Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.