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Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters

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Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters Cover

ISBN13: 9780231139625
ISBN10: 0231139624
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:


Over the past twenty years, paleontologists have made tremendous fossil discoveries, including fossils that mark the growth of whales, manatees, and seals from land mammals and the origins of elephants, horses, and rhinos. Today there exists an amazing diversity of fossil humans, suggesting we walked upright long before we acquired large brains, and new evidence from molecules that enable scientists to decipher the tree of life as never before.

The fossil record is now one of the strongest lines of evidence for evolution. In this engaging and richly illustrated book, Donald R. Prothero weaves an entertaining though intellectually rigorous history out of the transitional forms and series that dot the fossil record. Beginning with a brief discussion of the nature of science and the monkey business of creationism, Prothero tackles subjects ranging from flood geology and rock dating to neo-Darwinism and macroevolution. He covers the ingredients of the primordial soup, the effects of communal living, invertebrate transitions, the development of the backbone, the reign of the dinosaurs, the mammalian explosion, and the leap from chimpanzee to human. Prothero pays particular attention to the recent discovery of missing links that complete the fossil timeline and details the debate between biologists over the mechanisms driving the evolutionary process.

Evolution is an absorbing combination of firsthand observation, scientific discovery, and trenchant analysis. With the teaching of evolution still an issue, there couldn't be a better moment for a book clarifying the nature and value of fossil evidence. Widely recognized as aleading expert in his field, Prothero demonstrates that the transformation of life on this planet is far more awe inspiring than the narrow view of extremists.

Review:

"Prothero, a geologist at Occidental College (After the Dinosaurs), explains how rich the fossil record has become. His goal is two-fold. First, he wants to demonstrate the wide variety of transitional forms that have been found, many within the past 20 years. Second, he aims to discredit the creationist movement. 'I have tried to document how they routinely distort or deny the evidence, quote out of context, and do many other dishonest and unethical things — all in the name of pushing their crusade.' He accomplishes both of his goals (though he can be repetitious regarding the creationists), and his descriptions of recent research, much of it his own, are compelling. Prothero explains that the Cambrian explosion of life forms was anything but an explosion, and presents the impressive transitional fossils between reptiles and birds, along with striking evidence for mammalian evolution, including the relationship among hominid groups. With good science and some specific rebuttals to creationist arguments, this book demonstrates the importance of paleontology to the study of evolution. 208 illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

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rmills, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by rmills)
Written for the interested layman, this book verges on exciting. The discussions of fossil lineages and cladistics are clear and detailed, without being overwhelming. Protheroe documents transitional fossils in a number of lineages. He clearly explains dating techniques and why they are reliable. Many of these discoveries were only available in obscure (to most people) publications and the fossils are often in a drawer in the basement of museums or laboratories. It is fascinating to see these fossils and Protheroe presents information about them with humor and enthusiasm.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780231139625
Author:
Prothero, Donald R.
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Illustrator:
Buell, Carl
Subject:
Evolution (Biology)
Subject:
Evolutionary paleobiology
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution
Subject:
Paleontology
Subject:
Biology-Evolution
Copyright:
Publication Date:
November 2007
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
408
Dimensions:
10.18x7.34x1.13 in. 2.68 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution
Science and Mathematics » Geology » General
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Paleontology

Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$29.45 In Stock
Product details 408 pages Columbia University Press - English 9780231139625 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Prothero, a geologist at Occidental College (After the Dinosaurs), explains how rich the fossil record has become. His goal is two-fold. First, he wants to demonstrate the wide variety of transitional forms that have been found, many within the past 20 years. Second, he aims to discredit the creationist movement. 'I have tried to document how they routinely distort or deny the evidence, quote out of context, and do many other dishonest and unethical things — all in the name of pushing their crusade.' He accomplishes both of his goals (though he can be repetitious regarding the creationists), and his descriptions of recent research, much of it his own, are compelling. Prothero explains that the Cambrian explosion of life forms was anything but an explosion, and presents the impressive transitional fossils between reptiles and birds, along with striking evidence for mammalian evolution, including the relationship among hominid groups. With good science and some specific rebuttals to creationist arguments, this book demonstrates the importance of paleontology to the study of evolution. 208 illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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