Who says only kids are fans of dinosaurs? In between our busy schedules, families, and nights out, we know there are many dinosaur lovers out there who don’t need to show an ID at a bar.
Don’t worry; we won’t judge; we love those big ancient reptiles too!
Are you a dinosaur enthusiast in need of books to satisfy your curious mind? You’ve come to the right place because we got you covered.
Because dinosaurs are usually associated with children, it can be difficult for one that doesn’t have cartoon pictures, but it’s not impossible.
Our selection of the best dinosaur books covers both nonfiction and fiction.
If you’re lucky enough, you might find audio copies so you would keep learning about dinosaurs while going about your 9-to-5 or household chores.
The Best Dinosaur Books For Adults – Nonfiction
Nonfiction books about dinosaurs can either be academic or written in a narrative format.
Our selection will cover both kinds, so you can have a good number of options to choose from.
1. Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual Guide to Prehistoric Animals
This book is perfect for both adults and younger readers because of its visual appeal.
As academic non-fiction, it is also good for paleontologists and anyone who wishes to study dinosaurs from an academic perspective.
It’s all-encompassing. Plus, the information is up-to-date.
Another advantage is that it covers more than just our prehistoric friends. It gives a narrative of earth, and even early humans feature in its pages.
You get to learn about dinosaurs placed in the grand scheme of the world and how they evolved to where we are today.
Again, this encyclopedia is good for readers of all ages. The cover makes it look good on a library shelf.
2. The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs
- Author: Gregory S. Paul
- Published: 2016
With visuals, diagrams, and a well-developed text, the Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs delivers on its promise.
Its author is the renowned paleontologist Gregory S. Paul, which explains the quality of the material.
The second edition is updated to cover over 750 kinds of dinosaurs. That is a good representation of “exhaustive.”
One attribute of this field guide that makes it stand out is the diagramming.
The author is praised for how well the dinosaurs’ skeletal structures are aptly captured.
The book centers on dinosaurs, too, so if you’re unwilling to scroll through a hefty amount of information before getting to the prehistoric reptiles, get this field guide.
Of course, as with every scientific book written by an individual, ensure that all information is accurate.
3. Dinosaurs—The Grand Tour: Everything Worth Knowing About Dinosaurs from Aardonyx to Zuniceratops
Author: Keiron Pim
As the title states, this book does give you a grand tour of dinosaurs.
While you can read the book cover to cover, it does seem to be more intended as a specific guide for research or just to satisfy your curiosity.
It talks about “everything worth knowing,” giving you specific details on each dinosaur type.
Some examples of dinosaurs you’d find in the pages of this book are the Aardonyx, the Patagotitan, the Halszkaraptor, and the Oviraptor.
The style may be too much for a beginner, so if you have zero knowledge of dinosaurs, perhaps this isn’t the best for you.
However, as a specific reference point, we highly recommend this.
4. Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World
- Author: Micheal J. Benton
- Published: 2021
Do you think you know dinosaurs? Think again. With discoveries in dinosaur science, leading paleontologist Micheal J. Benton seeks to renew our thoughts on dinosaurs and give us a new vision.
The world is evolving at a fast rate, and that affects the way we view the past.
Each chapter of this book brings a fresh outlook to our prehistoric friends.
Taking into account new fossil findings and technological advances, the author gives us new details on each extinct species.
He’s assisted by illustrator Bob Nicholls who brings these new developments to life using stunning visuals that would interest both kids and adults.
The conversational style makes the book beginner friendly.
5. Locked in Time: Animal Behavior Unearthed in 50 Extraordinary Fossils
- Author: Dean Lomax
- Published: 2021
This book doesn’t simply tell you about the extinct dinosaurs; it takes you straight to the hearts of these animals.
It is easy to think of fossils as just dead relics of the past, forgetting that they once lived, breathed, and behaved. Dean Lomax serves to change this.
The beautiful illustrations in Locked in Time are done by Bob Nicholls, the same person credited for the illustrations in the book above.
While not as popular as some of the books mentioned above, it is a good read for any dinosaur adult fan.
The author does a good job of reconstructing the past, and though some readers didn’t like the black-and-white diagrams, it doesn’t take away the book’s overall quality.
Related: 15 Best Dinosaur Movies You Should See
6. The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of their Lost World
- Author: Steve Brausette
- Published: 2019
Though nonfiction, this book reads more like a novel due to its engaging style.
Unsurprisingly, the book is marketed to a mainstream audience and has since become both amongst dinosaur lovers and even those who aren’t fans.
Steve Brausette does a good job of making complex topics look simple.
The style and simplicity of the work done make it a good choice for both beginners and advanced readers. Even some younger readers can benefit from the information within.
That said, people in need of an academic approach to the subject of dinosaurs may not find this book appealing.
7. The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt
- Author: William Nothdurft
- Published: 2002
Similar to the book above, the Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt reads more like a novel than a non-fiction.
Readers who aren’t keen on academic writing will find this a refreshing read.
It is structured more like a biography, a historical narrative, or a documentary, so history enthusiasts who are also fans of dinosaurs will find this a riveting read.
The book tells the story of an explorer named Ernst Freiherr Stromer Von Reichenbach on his journey across Egypt.
An initial search for mammals turned into a discovery of dinosaur fossils, specifically from the Cretaceous.
A highlight of his exploration is the discovery of the Spinosaurus. Most of his work was sadly destroyed during the war.
Thirty years later, another young paleontologist named Josh Smith would go seek out Stromer’s legacy.
8. Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law, and My Life
- Author: Peter Larson & Kristin Donnan
- Published: 2002
This book tells of a discovery that left its mark both in the science and legal world.
In the 1990s, an explorer named Sue Hendrickson discovered a large, complete Tyrannosaurus Rex that she named after her.
It was one of the largest and most complete specimens ever found. Of course, a discovery this big comes with ownership conflict. The road led straight to court.
This book is a combination of non-fiction and a crime thriller due to the pages dedicated to the court scenes.
Readers who simply want to learn about dinosaurs may not enjoy this book. However, if you love suspense, then it comes highly recommended.
9. Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History
- Author: David B. Weishampel, David E. Fastovsky, I.W.B Thornton
- Published: 2012
Though it sounds like a book for seasoned paleontologists, it is geared toward readers of different categories.
It suits the amateur, the enthusiastic teenager, the curious adult, and the well-learned professional.
The authors meant it when they termed the book a concise history. It doesn’t overwhelm with details.
The book doesn’t just talk about the history of dinosaurs. For better understanding on the part of the readers, it also touches on debates, arguments, and studies in the field.
It seeks to keep the reader engaged and will leave you thinking like a scientist.
The latest edition contains material on the pterosaurs, more on the evolution of dinosaurs, and added photographs. The humor makes for an interesting read.
10. The Dinosaur Artist
- Author: Paige Williams
- Published: 2019
The title alone hints at this book not being ordinary non-fiction. It’s not written by a paleontologist, so it’s not conventional dinosaur non-fiction either.
Paige Williams is an investigative journalist reporting a fossil case that shows the complexities in the world of paleontology.
Similar to Rex Appeal, this book covers the struggle for ownership custody of a Tyrannosaurus specimen.
While it is unlikely to hold the interest of someone who’s seeking a detailed study of dinosaurs, the thriller enthusiast will enjoy it.
Eric Prokopi, the seller of the specimen, didn’t know how much his world would unravel when he decides to sell, and your world will unravel as you read too, albeit in a good way.
The Best Dinosaur Books For Adults – Fiction
Dino books for adults aren’t limited to academic treatises and biographies.
There are much gripping prose works with our prehistoric reptile friends as protagonists, antagonists, or just part of the setting.
Here are some of the top fictional books for adults.
11. Jurassic Park
- Author: Michael Crichton
- Published: 2012 (original in 1990)
While the original edition of Jurassic Park came out in 1990, there have been numerous editions, including the one we have for you on this list.
No recommendation of fictional books about dinosaurs will be complete without Jurassic Park. Some call it the ultimate dino book ever written. It certainly sets a standard.
Sadly, many people who know the movie have never explored the riches of the novel.
There’s a lot to gain from reading the book, even if you’ve binged watched the movie.
The effort Crichton put in creating a different world—with genetically recreated dinosaurs—and his unique attempt at science fiction make Jurassic Park one of his finest works, perhaps even his finest.
The success of this work spurred him to write a sequel.
12. The Lost World
- Author: Michael Crichton
- Published: 2012 (First published 1995)
The Lost World is a sequel to Jurassic Park, and it was in high demand when it got published.
While the movie for the first part only deviated, this sequel’s adaptation took a different course and was only based loosely on the novel.
Even if you’ve watched the adaptation, reading the novel promises a different experience.
Generally, readers seem to prefer the first part over the sequel. However, The Lost World deserves its medals.
The author provides a lot of depth, and people who have read the novel will contend that the movie should have stuck to the same storyline.
Whatever your view is, both were wonderful works and should be appreciated. But for bookworms like us, definitely prioritize the book.
13. The Lost World
- Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
- Published: 2020 (Initial publication in 1912)
Same titles, different authors, different storylines, and different periods.
Crichton’s book may be more popular, but Doyle’s work has served as a foundation for dinosaur fiction.
The existence of a 100th-anniversary edition is evidence that this book has stood the test of time.
Doyle is more known for Sherlock Holmes than for dinosaurs, but the impact of this work hasn’t died off yet. Crichton got his inspiration from Doyle.
The story follows an expedition to the Amazon Basin in South America, and in this fictional world, dinosaurs are real.
We also get to meet the indigenous people, the protagonist professor, and some other creatures.
Some readers may find the use of words too dated and even offensive. Bear in mind that it was written at a different time.
14. The Dinosaur Hunter
- Author: Homer Mickham
- Published: 2010
While Crichton’s books qualify both as thrillers and sci-fi, this novel falls under the category of mystery (though it is thrilling as well.
The Dinosaur Hunter is presented as “a cross between Tony Hillerman and Larry McMurtry,” and we agree.
In these pages, we’re taken into the world of Mike Wire, a retired homicide detective who will realize his job never ends, even in a ranch where he works as a foreman in his post-retirement years.
When prehistoric fossils are discovered on the ranch, conflict begins…one that involves murder.
15. Raptor Red
- Author: Robert T. Bakker
- Published: 1996
So far, every book on this list is from the human’s perspective, not the dinosaur’s.
What would it be like to read a book from the point of view of a dinosaur? Bakker takes on the challenge and presents to us Raptor Red, a fierce female dinosaur.
The paleontologist’s attempt at fiction proved to be both successful and original.
The book combines both fact and fiction, coming from the author’s knowledge as well as his speculations.
It also does a splendid job at capturing the emotions and behaviors of dinosaurs as much as we can try to as humans.
While the book seems like a children’s book, its style and words are more suitable for adults.
16. Dragon Teeth
- Author: Micheal Crichton
- Published: 2017
Yes, another of Micheal Crichton’s works. Jurassic Park isn’t his only book that features dinosaurs.
We have a less popular but interesting novel that was discovered and published posthumously in 2017.
The novel itself was written in 1974, years before we knew anything about Jurassic park.
This historical fiction is centered around a conflict between two paleontologists over fossils.
Just as we’ve seen in some previous works, the fossil is prized and the owners often lead to battles, both legal and otherwise.
The conflict itself is a real-life event known as the “bone wars” which occurred between Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh.
17. The Dinosaur Lords (Series)
- Author: Victor Milan
- Published: 2016
No review of this book would be complete without mentioning the nod it got from the famous George R.R. Martin, author of Game of Thrones, who describes the book as being a “cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones.”
That sounds like the best of two worlds, which is why it is on our recommended list.
Victor Milan sets his world in what looks like typical Europe in centuries past, except for a significant difference. There are domesticated dinosaurs in it.
Similar to cattle and beasts of burden, they are employed for labor. It is a “what if” situation that would make any dinosaur fan keep turning the pages.
It is indeed like Game of Thrones, except we have dinosaurs in place of fiery dragons.
18. Of Ants and Dinosaurs
- Author: Cixin Liu
- Published: 2020
Those familiar with Cixin Liu are aware of his knack for unusual twists. Of Ants and Dinosaurs is not different.
Ever imagine ants collaborating with dinosaurs and later going to war against them?
This can only happen in Cixin Liu’s world, and unsurprisingly, this book’s subject is beyond ants and dinosaurs.
Going through the sci-fi genre, Cixin Liu puts down a satirical allegory, The Animal Farm, designed to get you thinking of civilization, world powers, and the human conflicts that occur on a grand scale.
Some reviewers love the innovativeness, but others weren’t keen on the size. Of course, if you’re a very busy person, the smaller, the better.
19. Dinosaur Summer
- Author: Greg Bear
- Published: 1998
Though written by a different author, events were set as a sequel to Doyle’s The Lost World, though in the form of alternate history.
Doyle’s novel itself has a sequel, but that wasn’t incorporated in Greg’s work, which is why it is termed an alternate history.
There are generally positive reviews of Greg’s work, and many readers laud his writing style and sense of adventure.
That said, remember that this isn’t a 21st-century book. Some words may seem outdated.
The book also has a slow start, so you should be patient while reading.
20. Anonymous Rex
- Author: Eric Garcia
- Published: 2001
We all love it when authors flip the usual to deliver work both creative and strange. Eric Garcia achieves that with Anonymous Rex.
Even crazier than ants collaborating with dinosaurs, we have a dinosaur private investigator and a secret society of dinosaurs.
They infiltrate the human world using a disguise that makes them look humanoid.
Again, this book deserves its flowers for its creativity. The humor isn’t surprising, given the plot, and a reviewer describes it as a “cult classic.”
Readers who love to see dinosaurs at the forefront and not scary monsters in the background will relish this work.
Of course, you’d need to suspend disbelief a lot while reading.
The best books about dinosaurs for adults can be educative, expository, or just plain fun. There’s a book on our list for everyone, regardless of what you may need.
From academic writings to narrative nonfiction down to gripping novels, variety is the spice of life.
Know any other good books you would love to recommend? Let us know in the comments below!