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The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of…
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The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the… (2015)

by Donald R. Prothero

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While definitely aimed at a general audience, this book was enjoyable, highlighting important fossils and how they were found, but also natural history around discovery of the families/groups that these fossils belong to. A feature I found very compelling was the 'see for yourself!' at the end of each chapter listing museums where the reader could view either the originals or reproductions of the fossils described. A list of great natural history museums domestic and international (with emphasis on paleontology collections) is in the back. ( )
  Daumari | Dec 30, 2017 |
Definitely interesting and well-written, so I might go back and finish it later. Got it for a class and didn't read it all, and I'm not a huge fan of ebooks, so I just haven't gotten around to finishing it on my own. ( )
  BrynDahlquis | Jan 25, 2017 |
First things first, I am horrible at writing reviews. If I like a book I like it but it is hard for me to describe why.

Overall I thought it was an excellent survey of the history of time. The author kept a clear writing voice that is easy to understand for both the average reader (like me) as well as for a specialist. There were times, especially in the later chapters, which the author’s tone read as a bit too preachy about his views. (Namely when talking about the threat of global warming or human evolution or anything anti-creationist.) I am likely the primary audience that would agree with these views; however, I believe that the writing could be written less bluntly or preachy, in a manner more similar to Steven J Gould. (If you do not know Gould and love reading about science you should read him immediately. Especially Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, which is referenced by Prothero.) I could be more nitpicky about what fossils he had chosen to highlight or ignore but I enjoyed what selection he curated for this book. I especially enjoyed the peppering of history or popular culture framing around each particular fossil. It is a good survey or general knowledge book. (Great as an opening text for an introductory course for instance.) I recommend it for anyone interested in the history of our world through our fossil record.
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2 vote Devon.Stivers | Mar 11, 2016 |
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I dedicated this book to our great popularizers and advocates of science

Neil Shubin
Bill Nye
Neil DeGrasse Tyson
and
The late Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould
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When Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, the fossil record was a weak spot in his argument.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0231171900, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 20 Aug 2015 07:36:49 -0400)

Every fossil tells a story. Prothero recounts the adventures behind the discovery of twenty-five famous, beautifully preserved fossils and explains their significance within the larger fossil record, creating a riveting history of life on our planet.

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