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Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution…
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Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight

by Pat Shipman

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A delightful book about the evolution of bird flight, and the disparate views of how flight arose. The author details the differences between ornithologists and paleontologists, and is not afraid to take sides, presenting the argument for why she should prefer one side over the other. Nice discussion of the fossils, and how we came to recognize the fact that archaeopteryx had feathers. ( )
1 vote Devil_llama | May 10, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0684811316, Hardcover)

A bird's-eye view of evolution through the story of Archaeopteryx, the fossil skeleton of a transitional bird-reptile that offers a stunning glimpse into the origins of flight -- and the drama with which scientific understanding unfolds.

A few years after the publication of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, the scientific world was set aflutter by an amazing discovery: a fossil skeleton exquisitely preserved even to the impressions of individual feathers on its wings had been found in the Bavarian region of Germany. Researchers determined that the unique coupling of its avian feathers and reptilian toothy skull offered tangible proof of Darwin's theory of evolution.

Hailed as First Bird, Archaeopteryx became a celebrity among fossils, the subject of heated debates that have escalated over the past 130 years. Are birds actually living dinosaurs? Where does the fossil record really lead? What does it mean to fly? Shipman's story unfolds through the braided tales of the evolutionary process and the scientists who have so painstakingly pieced it together.

The Tangled Wing is a brilliant piece of scientific detective work in its own right, deftly exploring how thinking about the mysteries of flight developed up to the present day.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:07 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In 1861, just a few years after the publication of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species, a scientist named Hermann von Meyer made an amazing discovery. Hidden in the Bavarian region of Germany was a fossil skeleton so exquisitely preserved that its wings and feathers were as obvious as its reptilian jaws and tail. This transitional creature offered tangible proof of Darwin's theory of evolution.Hailed as First Bird by its champions and dismissed by detractors as just another ancient reptile - or even a grand hoax - Archaeopteryx has remained the subject of heated debates in the scientific community for nearly 140 years. In Taking Wing, Pat Shipman offers a compelling account of how scientific thinking about the mysteries of flight developed up to the present day. Flight, it seems, evolved three times - in birds, bats, and pterosaurs. Shipman's story unfolds twice - through the braided tales of the evolutionary record and the scientists who have so painstakingly pieced it together.… (more)

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