The Meaning of Fossils

Author: Martin J. S. Rudwick
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022614898X
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
"It is not often that a work can literally rewrite a person's view of a subject. And this is exactly what Rudwick's book should do for many paleontologists' view of the history of their own field."—Stephen J. Gould, Paleobotany and Palynology "Rudwick has not merely written the first book-length history of palaeontology in the English language; he has written a very intelligent one. . . . His accounts of sources are rounded and organic: he treats the structure of arguments as Cuvier handled fossil bones."—Roy S. Porter, History of Science

The Meaning of Fossils

Author: M. J. S. Rudwick
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226731032
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
Examines the way in which the study of fossils in five historical periods since the Renaissance reflects man's changing view of nature

Georges Cuvier Fossil Bones and Geological Catastrophes

Author: Martin J. S. Rudwick
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226731087
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
French zoologist Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) helped form and bring credibility to geology and paleontology. Here Martin J. S. Rudwick provides the first modern translation of Cuvier's essential writings on fossils and catastrophes and links these translated texts together with his own insightful narrative and interpretive commentary. "Martin Rudwick has done English-speaking science a considerable service by translating and commenting on Cuvier's work. . . . He guides us through Cuvier's most important writings, especially those which demonstrate his new technique of comparative anatomy."—Douglas Palmer, New Scientist

Worlds Before Adam

Author: Martin J. S. Rudwick
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226731308
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, scientists reconstructed the immensely long history of the earth—and the relatively recent arrival of human life. The geologists of the period, many of whom were devout believers, agreed about this vast timescale. But despite this apparent harmony between geology and Genesis, these scientists still debated a great many questions: Had the earth cooled from its origin as a fiery ball in space, or had it always been the same kind of place as it is now? Was prehuman life marked by mass extinctions, or had fauna and flora changed slowly over time? The first detailed account of the reconstruction of prehuman geohistory, Martin J. S. Rudwick’s Worlds Before Adam picks up where his celebrated Bursting the Limits of Time leaves off. Here, Rudwick takes readers from the post-Napoleonic Restoration in Europe to the early years of Britain’s Victorian age, chronicling the staggering discoveries geologists made during the period: the unearthing of the first dinosaur fossils, the glacial theory of the last ice age, and the meaning of igneous rocks, among others. Ultimately, Rudwick reveals geology to be the first of the sciences to investigate the historical dimension of nature, a model that Charles Darwin used in developing his evolutionary theory. Featuring an international cast of colorful characters, with Georges Cuvier and Charles Lyell playing major roles and Darwin appearing as a young geologist, Worlds Before Adam is a worthy successor to Rudwick’s magisterial first volume. Completing the highly readable narrative of one of the most momentous changes in human understanding of our place in the natural world, Worlds Before Adam is a capstone to the career of one of the world’s leading historians of science.

Earth s Deep History

Author: Martin J. S. Rudwick
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022620409X
Format: PDF
Download Now
Earth has been witness to mammoths and dinosaurs, global ice ages, continents colliding or splitting apart, and comets and asteroids crashing catastrophically to the surface, as well as the birth of humans who are curious to understand it. But how was all this discovered? How was the evidence for it collected and interpreted? And what kinds of people have sought to reconstruct this past that no human witnessed or recorded? In this sweeping and accessible book, Martin J. S. Rudwick, the premier historian of the Earth sciences, tells the gripping human story of the gradual realization that the Earth’s history has not only been unimaginably long but also astonishingly eventful. Rudwick begins in the seventeenth century with Archbishop James Ussher, who famously dated the creation of the cosmos to 4004 BC. His narrative later turns to the crucial period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when inquisitive intellectuals, who came to call themselves “geologists,” began to interpret rocks and fossils, mountains and volcanoes, as natural archives of Earth’s history. He then shows how this geological evidence was used—and is still being used—to reconstruct a history of the Earth that is as varied and unpredictable as human history itself. Along the way, Rudwick rejects the popular view of this story as a conflict between science and religion and shows how the modern scientific account of the Earth’s deep history retains strong roots in Judaeo-Christian ideas. Extensively illustrated, Earth’s Deep History is an engaging and impressive capstone to Rudwick’s distinguished career. Though the story of the Earth is inconceivable in length, Rudwick moves with grace from the earliest imaginings of our planet’s deep past to today’s scientific discoveries, proving that this is a tale at once timeless and timely.

Bursting the Limits of Time

Author: Martin J. S. Rudwick
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226731138
Format: PDF
Download Now
During a revolution of discovery in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, geologists reconstructed the immensely long history of the earth--and the relatively recent arrival of human life. Bursting the Limits of Time is a herculean effort by one of the world's foremost experts on the history of geology and paleontology to illuminate this scientific breakthrough that radically altered existing perceptions of a human's place in the universe as much as the theories of Copernicus and Darwin did. Rudwick examines here the ideas and practices of earth scientists throughout the Western world to show how the story of what we now call "deep time" was pieced together. He explores who was responsible for the discovery of the earth's history, refutes the concept of a rift between science and religion in dating the earth, and details how the study of the history of the earth helped define a new branch of science called geology. Bursting the Limits of Time is the first detailed account of this monumental phase in the history of science. "Bursting the Limits of Time is a massive work and is quite simply a masterpiece of science history. . . . The book should be obligatory for every geology and history of science library, and is a highly recommended companion for every civilized geologist who can carry an extra 2.4 kg in his rucksack."--Stephen Moorbath, Nature

Evolution

Author: Donald R. Prothero
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231543166
Format: PDF
Download Now
Donald R. Prothero’s Evolution is an entertaining and rigorous history of the transitional forms and series found in the fossil record. Its engaging narrative of scientific discovery and well-grounded analysis has led to the book’s widespread adoption in courses that teach the nature and value of fossil evidence for evolution. Evolution tackles systematics and cladistics, rock dating, neo-Darwinism, and macroevolution. It includes extensive coverage of the primordial soup, invertebrate transitions, the development of the backbone, the reign of the dinosaurs, and the transformation from early hominid to modern human. The book also details the many alleged “missing links” in the fossil record, including some of the most recent discoveries that flesh out the fossil timeline and the evolutionary process. In this second edition, Prothero describes new transitional fossils from various periods, vividly depicting such bizarre creatures as the Odontochelys, or the “turtle on the half shell”; fossil snakes with legs; and the “Frogamander,” a new example of amphibian transition. Prothero’s discussion of intelligent design arguments includes more historical examples and careful examination of the “experiments” and observations that are exploited by creationists seeking to undermine sound science education. With new perspectives, Prothero reframes creationism as a case study in denialism and pseudoscience rather than a field with its own intellectual dynamism. The first edition was hailed as an exemplary exploration of the fossil evidence for evolution, and this second edition will be welcome in the libraries of scholars, teachers, and general readers who stand up for sound science in this post-truth era.

The First Fossil Hunters

Author: Adrienne Mayor
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400838444
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Griffins, Cyclopes, Monsters, and Giants--these fabulous creatures of classical mythology continue to live in the modern imagination through the vivid accounts that have come down to us from the ancient Greeks and Romans. But what if these beings were more than merely fictions? What if monstrous creatures once roamed the earth in the very places where their legends first arose? This is the arresting and original thesis that Adrienne Mayor explores in The First Fossil Hunters. Through careful research and meticulous documentation, she convincingly shows that many of the giants and monsters of myth did have a basis in fact--in the enormous bones of long-extinct species that were once abundant in the lands of the Greeks and Romans. As Mayor shows, the Greeks and Romans were well aware that a different breed of creatures once inhabited their lands. They frequently encountered the fossilized bones of these primeval beings, and they developed sophisticated concepts to explain the fossil evidence, concepts that were expressed in mythological stories. The legend of the gold-guarding griffin, for example, sprang from tales first told by Scythian gold-miners, who, passing through the Gobi Desert at the foot of the Altai Mountains, encountered the skeletons of Protoceratops and other dinosaurs that littered the ground. Like their modern counterparts, the ancient fossil hunters collected and measured impressive petrified remains and displayed them in temples and museums; they attempted to reconstruct the appearance of these prehistoric creatures and to explain their extinction. Long thought to be fantasy, the remarkably detailed and perceptive Greek and Roman accounts of giant bone finds were actually based on solid paleontological facts. By reading these neglected narratives for the first time in the light of modern scientific discoveries, Adrienne Mayor illuminates a lost world of ancient paleontology.

Scenes from Deep Time

Author: M. J. S. Rudwick
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226731056
Format: PDF
Download Now
How did the earth look in prehistoric times? Scientists and artists collaborated during the half-century prior to the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species to produce the first images of dinosaurs and the world they inhabited. Their interpretations, informed by recent fossil discoveries, were the first efforts to represent the prehistoric world based on sources other than the Bible. Martin J. S. Rudwick presents more than a hundred rare illustrations from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to explore the implications of reconstructing a past no one has ever seen.