The Story of Life in 25 Fossils

Author: Donald R. Prothero
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231539428
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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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.

Evolution

Author: Donald R. Prothero
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231543166
Format: PDF, Mobi
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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 Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks

Author: Donald R. Prothero
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231544278
Format: PDF, Docs
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Every rock is a tangible trace of the earth’s past. The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks tells the fascinating stories behind the discoveries that shook the foundations of geology. In twenty-five chapters—each about a particular rock, outcrop, or geologic phenomenon—Donald R. Prothero recounts the scientific detective work that shaped our understanding of geology, from the unearthing of exemplary specimens to tectonic shifts in how we view the inner workings of our planet. Prothero follows in the footsteps of the scientists who asked—and answered—geology’s biggest questions: How do we know how old the earth is? What happened to the supercontinent Pangea? How did ocean rocks end up at the top of Mount Everest? What can we learn about our planet from meteorites and moon rocks? He answers these questions through expertly chosen case studies, such as Pliny the Younger’s firsthand account of the eruption of Vesuvius; the granite outcrops that led a Scottish scientist to theorize that the landscapes he witnessed were far older than Noah’s Flood; the salt and gypsum deposits under the Mediterranean Sea that indicate that it was once a desert; and how trying to date the age of meteorites revealed the dangers of lead poisoning. Each of these breakthroughs filled in a piece of the greater puzzle that is the earth, with scientific discoveries dovetailing with each other to offer an increasingly coherent image of the geologic past. Summarizing a wealth of information in an entertaining, approachable style, The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks is essential reading for the armchair geologist, the rock hound, and all who are curious about the earth beneath their feet.

Giants of the Lost World

Author: Donald R. Prothero
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution
ISBN: 1588345734
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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The evolution, biology, and discovery of the dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals that lived in South America. Inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost world.

Fossils

Author: Richard A. Fortey
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674311350
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Discusses the formation of fossils, describes how they are used by scientists to reconstruct the history of the earth, and offers guidance on starting a fossil collection

Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs

Author: Donald R. Prothero
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231518323
Format: PDF, Docs
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Donald R. Prothero's science books combine leading research with first-person narratives of discovery, injecting warmth and familiarity into a profession that has much to offer nonspecialists. Bringing his trademark style and wit to an increasingly relevant subject of concern, Prothero links the climate changes that have occurred over the past 200 million years to their effects on plants and animals. In particular, he contrasts the extinctions that ended the Cretaceous period, which wiped out the dinosaurs, with those of the later Eocene and Oligocene epochs. Prothero begins with the "greenhouse of the dinosaurs," the global-warming episode that dominated the Age of Dinosaurs and the early Age of Mammals. He describes the remarkable creatures that once populated the earth and draws on his experiences collecting fossils in the Big Badlands of South Dakota to sketch their world. Prothero then discusses the growth of the first Antarctic glaciers, which marked the Eocene-Oligocene transition, and shares his own anecdotes of excavations and controversies among colleagues that have shaped our understanding of the contemporary and prehistoric world. The volume concludes with observations about Nisqually Glacier and other locations that show how global warming is happening much quicker than previously predicted, irrevocably changing the balance of the earth's thermostat. Engaging scientists and general readers alike, Greenhouse of the Dinosaurs connects events across thousands of millennia to make clear the human threat to natural climate change.

A History of Life in 100 Fossils

Author: Paul D. Taylor
Publisher: Smithsonian Institution
ISBN: 1588345025
Format: PDF, Docs
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A History of Life in 100 Fossils showcases 100 key fossils that together illustrate the evolution of life on earth. Iconic specimens have been selected from the renowned collections of the two premier natural history museums in the world, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, and the Natural History Museum, London. The fossils ahve been chosen not only for their importance in the history of life, but also because of the visual story they tell. This stunning book is perfect for all readers because its clear explanations and beautiful photographs illuminate the significance of these amazing pieces, including 500 million-year-old Burgess Shale fossils that provide a window into early animal life in the sea, insects encapsulated by amber, the first fossil bird Archaeopteryx, and the remains of our own ancestors.

The Story of Life Evolution Extended Edition

Author: Fiona Munro
Publisher: Templar Publishing
ISBN: 1787413306
Format: PDF, Docs
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This new extended edition of Story of Life is the perfect gift for those with a love of the natural world. Wander the galleries - open 365 days a year - and discover a collection of curated exhibits on every page, accompanied by informative text. Each chapter features key species from a different geological era with fantastic new artwork from Katie Scott.

Weird Dinosaurs

Author: John Pickrell
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231543395
Format: PDF, Kindle
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From the outback of Australia to the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and the savanna of Madagascar, the award-winning science writer and dinosaur enthusiast John Pickrell embarks on a world tour of new finds, meeting the fossil hunters who work at the frontier of discovery. He reveals the dwarf dinosaurs unearthed by an eccentric Transylvanian baron; an aquatic, crocodile-snouted carnivore bigger than T. rex that once lurked in North African waterways; a Chinese dinosaur with wings like a bat; and a Patagonian sauropod so enormous it weighed more than two commercial jet airliners. Other surprising discoveries hail from Alaska, Siberia, Canada, Burma, and South Africa. Why did dinosaurs grow so huge? How did they spread across the world? Did they all have feathers? What do sauropods have in common with 1950s vacuum cleaners? The stuff of adventure movies and scientific revolutions, Weird Dinosaurs examines the latest breakthroughs and new technologies that are radically transforming our understanding of the distant past. Pickrell opens a vivid portal to a brand-new age of fossil discovery, in which fossil hunters are routinely redefining what we know and how we think about prehistory's most iconic and fascinating creatures.

Strange Survivors

Author: One R. Pagan
Publisher: BenBella Books
ISBN: 1944648593
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Life is beautiful, ruthless, and very, very strange. In the evolutionary arms race that has raged on since life began, organisms have developed an endless variety of survival strategies. From sharp claws to brute strength, camouflage to venom—all these tools and abilities share one purpose: to keep their bearer alive long enough to reproduce, helping the species avoid extinction. Every living thing on this planet has developed a time-tested arsenal of weapons and defenses. Some of these weapons and defenses, however, are decidedly more unusual than others. In Strange Survivors, biologist Oné R. Pagán takes us on a tour of the improbable, the ingenious, and the just plain bizarre ways that creatures fight for life. Inside this funny, fascinating field guide to nature’s most colorful characters, you’ll meet killer snails, social bacteria, and an animal with toxic elbows. But Strange Survivors is more than a collection of curiosities—it is a love letter to science and an argument for the continuing relevance of this evolutionary battle as we face the threat of resistant bacteria and the need for novel medical therapies. Whether discussing blood-thinning bats and electric fish or pondering the power of cooperation, Pagán reveals the surprising lessons found in some of life’s natural oddities and how the tactics they employ to live might aid our own survival.