Fossils A Very Short Introduction

Author: Keith Thomson
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191578029
Format: PDF, Docs
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Fossils have been vital to our understanding of the formation of the earth and the origins of all life on it. However, their impact has not been limited to debates about geology and evolution: attempts to explain their existence has shaken religion at its very roots, and they have remained a subject of ceaseless fascination for people of all ages and backgrounds. In this delightful book, Keith Thomson provides a remarkably all-encompassing explanation of fossils as a phenomenon. How did Darwin use fossils to support his theory of evolution? What are 'living fossils'? What fossils will we leave behind for future generations to examine? Building on the scientific aspects, he places fossils in a very human context, highlighting their impact on philosophy and mythology, our concept of time, and today's popular culture. What quickly becomes obvious is that the discovery of fossils and the ways in which they have been interpreted over time makes for fascinating reading. From the black market to the Piltdown Man, and from mythological dragons to living dinosaurs, fossils hold a permanent place in the popular imagination. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Human Evolution A Very Short Introduction

Author: Bernard Wood
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192803603
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This introduction traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the 18th century to the latest fossil finds. It concentrates on the fossil evidence for human evolution, making reference to the relevant archaeological evidence when appropriate.

Evolution a Very Short Introduction

Author: Brian Charlesworth
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198804369
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Less than 450 years ago, all European scholars believed that the Earth was at the centre of a Universe that was at most a few million miles in extent, and that the planets, sun, and stars all rotated around this centre. Less than 250 years ago, they believed that the Universe was createdessentially in its present state about 6000 years ago. Even less than 150 years ago, the view that living species were the result of special creation by God was still dominant. The recognition by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace of the mechanism of evolution by natural selection hascompletely transformed our understanding of the living world, including our own origins. In this Very Short Introduction Brian and Deborah Charlesworth provide a clear and concise summary of the process of evolution by natural selection, and how natural selection gives rise to adaptations and eventually, over many generations, to new species. They introduce the central concepts of thefield of evolutionary biology, as they have developed since Darwin and Wallace on the subject, over 140 years ago, and discuss some of the remaining questions regarding processes. They highlight the wide range of evidence for evolution, and the importance of an evolutionary understanding forinstance in combating the rapid evolution of resistance by bacteria to antibiotics and of HIV to antiviral drugs. This reissue includes some key updates to the main text and a completely updated Further Reading section.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Dinosaurs A Very Short Introduction

Author: David Norman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192515640
Format: PDF, ePub
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Dinosaurs are fascinating creatures and their popularity seems never ending, fuelled by films such as Jurassic Park and documentaries such as Walking with Dinosaurs. Yet dinosaurs (or more precisely non-avian dinosaurs) last trod the Earth 65 million years ago. All we know of them today are their fossilised bones, the tracks and traces that they left behind and, in very rare instances, some of the soft tissues or even traces of their chemistry. In many respects dinosaurs present us with one of the ultimate forensic challenges: they comprise the fragmentary remains of creatures that died many tens of millions of years ago, rather than just recently, or a few tens of years ago, which is the problem usually faced by forensic pathologists. How much do we really know about them, and to what extent can their remains inform us about ancient worlds, and indeed about the history of our planet? In this Very Short Introduction David Norman discusses how dinosaurs were first discovered and interpreted, and how our understanding of them has changed over the past 200 years. He looks at some of the amazing discoveries that have enabled us to gain new and unexpected insights into dinosaurs as animals with natural histories and behaviours, and considers some of the biggest questions in dinosaur biology, such as the implications of them having warm blood. Norman also shows how research upon dinosaurs has been enriched, particularly in recent decades, by technological break-throughs, which complement the informed speculation and luck which have played a part in many of the major discoveries. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The History of Life A Very Short Introduction

Author: Michael J. Benton
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199226326
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This Very Short Introduction presents a succinct and accessible guide to the key episodes in the story of life on earth - from the very origins of life four million years ago to the extraordinary diversity of species around the globe today.

Nuclear Power A Very Short Introduction

Author: Maxwell Irvine
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191620319
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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With the World desperate to find energy sources that do not emit carbon gasses, nuclear power is back on the agenda and in the news, following the increasing cost of fossil fuels and concerns about the security of their future supply. However, the term 'nuclear power' causes anxiety in many people and there is confusion concerning the nature and extent of the associated risks. Here, Maxwell Irvine presents a concise introduction to the development of nuclear physics leading up to the emergence of the nuclear power industry. He discusses the nature of nuclear energy and deals with various aspects of public concern, considering the risks of nuclear safety, the cost of its development, and waste disposal. Dispelling some of the widespread confusion about nuclear energy, Irvine considers the relevance of nuclear power, the potential of nuclear fusion, and encourages informed debate about its potential. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Human Evolution

Author: Bernard A. Wood
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780191775840
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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This introduction traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the 18th century to the latest fossil finds. It concentrates on the fossil evidence for human evolution making reference to the relevant archaeological evidence when appropriate.

Rocks a Very Short Introduction

Author: Jan Zalasiewicz
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198725191
Format: PDF, ePub
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Rocks, more than anything else, underpin our lives. They make up the solid structure of the Earth and of other rocky planets, and are present at the cores of gas giant planets. We live on the rocky surface of the planet, grow our food on weathered debris derived from rocks, and we obtain nearly all of the raw materials with which we found our civilization from rocks. From the Earth's crust to building bricks, rocks contain our sense of planetary history, and are a guide to our future. In this Very Short Introduction Jan Zalsiewicz looks at the nature and variety of rocks, and the processes by which they are formed. Starting from the origin of rocks and their key role in the formation of the Earth, he considers what we know about the deep rocks of the mantle and core, and what rocks can tell us about the evolution of the Earth, and looks at those found in outer space and on other planets. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Teeth A Very Short Introduction

Author: Peter S. Ungar
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199670595
Format: PDF, ePub
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Teeth are amazing - the product of half a billion years of evolution. They provide fuel for the body by breaking apart other living things; and they must do it again and again over a lifetime without themselves being broken in the process. In this Very Short Introduction, Peter S. Ungar, an award-winning author and leading scientist, presents the story of teeth. Ungar outlines the key concepts, including insights into the origin of teeth and theirevolution. Considering why teeth are important, he describes how they are made, and how they work, including their fundamental importance in the fossil record. Ungar finishes with a review of mammal teeth, looking athow they evolved and how recent changes to our diet are now affecting dental health.

Complexity

Author: John H. Holland
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199662541
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In this Very Short Introduction, John Holland presents an introduction to the science of complexity. Using examples from biology and economics, he shows how complexity science models the behaviour of complex systems.