If you're into paleontology and speculative biology, this name must already be familiar to you. Born in Dumfries, 1947, he has written several books about dinosaurs, several of them for children, and you might have seen some of those already in the shelves of your library. He is, however, also well known for his books on speculative biology (in other words, imagining how life would evolve in other scenarios), being indeed among the first to write on speculative evolution.
In general terms, he tends to have several flaws on his books about biology, be them about dinosaurs or nonexistent species, but usually said flaws are washed away by his creativity and by the images the authors he hired do. Usually.
Notable Works by DD include:
- After Man: A Zoology of the Future
- The New Dinosaurs: An Alternative Evolution
- Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future
- The Future Is Wild (a co-production with many people)
- Greenworld (only released in Japanese)
Notable Tropes in his works include:
- Accidentally Correct Writing: He gives fur-like pelage onto dinosaurs in The New Dinosaurs, decades before it was confirmed that many dinosaurs, even ornithopods, had primitive filament coverings that in many species would superficially resemble fur.
- Author Appeal:
- Naked mole-rats seem to have had a big impact on him. Eusocial organisms explicitly based on the naked mole-rat colony structure appear in all three of his speculative evolution books, as well as in The Future Is Wild.
- Corpulent, fatty creatures also make recurring appearances.
- There's also a recurring theme of penguin-like creatures in his work, such as the surfbat, the gannetwhale, the vortex and porpin, and a penguin pterosaur in The New Dinosaurs.
- Fantastic Fauna Counterpart: Be it genetically-enhanced humans, surviving dinosaurs, or mammals and birds in the future, many of his creatures fill the niches and anatomical resemblances to other unrelated extinct species. In the works themselves, Dixon explains this as being intended to demonstrate the phenomenon of parallel evolution, where unrelated creatures that inhabit similar niches or experience similar conditions will independently evolve similar traits. In the case of Man After Man, this is deliberately invoked — the Hitek purposefully engineered the new human species to mirror nonhuman megafauna in order to fill the ecological gaps left by those species' extinction.
- Science Marches On: A lot has been discovered about dinosaurs since The New Dinosaurs was written, leaving plenty of inaccuracies or outdated portrayals in hindsight.