The Story of Life in 25 Fossils

The Story of Life in 25 Fossils

Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the Wonders of Evolution

Book - 2015?
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Every fossil tells a story. Best-selling paleontology author Donald R. Prothero describes twenty-five famous, beautifully preserved fossils in a gripping scientific history of life on Earth. Recounting the adventures behind the discovery of these objects and fully interpreting their significance within the larger fossil record, Prothero creates a riveting history of life on our planet.

The twenty-five fossils portrayed in this book catch animals in their evolutionary splendor as they transition from one kind of organism to another. We witness extinct plants and animals of microscopic and immense size and thrilling diversity. We learn about fantastic land and sea creatures that have no match in nature today. Along the way, we encounter such fascinating fossils as the earliest trilobite, Olenellus ; the giant shark Carcharocles ; the "fishibian" Tiktaalik ; the "Frogamander" and the "Turtle on the Half-Shell"; enormous marine reptiles and the biggest dinosaurs known; the first bird, Archaeopteryx; the walking whale Ambulocetus ; the gigantic hornless rhinoceros Paraceratherium , the largest land mammal that ever lived; and the Australopithecus nicknamed "Lucy," the oldest human skeleton. We meet the scientists and adventurers who pioneered paleontology and learn about the larger intellectual and social contexts in which their discoveries were made. Finally, we find out where to see these splendid fossils in the world's great museums.

Ideal for all who love prehistoric landscapes and delight in the history of science, this book makes a treasured addition to any bookshelf, stoking curiosity in the evolution of life on Earth.
Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, [2015?]
ISBN: 9780231171908
Characteristics: viii, 389 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

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readercap
Jan 18, 2018

Excellent book. The author tells the story of life on Earth focusing on several key fossils. Do not just read fast through this book, it has many interesting tales to tell and is worth several re-reads. Wonder why the trilobites died out? Got a thing for sharks? Who (what) was the first land plant, the first bird, the first mammal? Explore the Burgess Shale, travel through time to the Permian to understand some of the factors that contributed to the most significant mass extinction and set the stage for the ultimate charismatic megafauna Earth ever hosted.

This book is not for the casual dino-lover but rather is written for the audience that wants to get a better understanding of the a few of the wonderful beings that have been part of the life on this not-always benign planet. Not a textbook but the scientific literature is easily accessed through the excellent references at the end of each chapter so it's easy to keep exploring.

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