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Posted September 27, 2011
What do you think of when you think of fossils? Most people, I believe, think of a long dead animal from an extinct species frozen for ever in rock. Something that is old and not from the time we live in. I'm sure we've all heard that word even applied to people who are relicts of a past age. It's an example of something in this time that doesn't really belong.
And in many cases that is true. The dinosaurs are perfect examples of this. These animals don't walk the earth anymore (even though I've heard the stories about Nessie and the Ogopogo) but we can find evidence that they did. However, as this book brings to light, not everything that is fossilized is extinct. The most famous example is of course the Coelacanth. This fish was thought to have died out millions of years ago. It was an index fossil (an index fossil is a fossil that when you find it you can know the rock it is in is XXX years old). But now we know that it is still swimming around in the India ocean (interestingly it is still considered an index fossil).
I read the book, Evolution, the Grand Experiment: Living Fossils from New Leaf Publishing group. The book takes a look at many such examples of fossil species with photographs of living animals that are identical or nearly identical to its fossilized cousin. It's an interesting book and worth picking up and looking through. While not the heaviest on text content, the pictures are fantastic and in many cases speak for themselves. It also chronicles the journey of compiling the book. While not my favorite book on the subject I would recommend it and am glad to have it in my library. The book does exactly what it sets out to do, I just like a more complete look at these issues (and bigger books).
I'm also supposed to say that Newleaf provided me this copy for the purposes of reviewing it free of charge. This however did not sway my opinion of the book in any way.
Posted September 18, 2011
Evolution: The Grand Experiment: Vol. 2 - Living Fossils by Carl Werner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
"Presented in an easy-to-read format aimed at the general public and filled with beautiful full color photographs of fossils and animals throughout,"Evolution: The Grand Experiment: Vol. 2 - Living Fossils"by Carl Werner is a beautiful book to have in your school room. With approximately, 700 color photographs and presented in an easy-to-read format, along with a teacher's edition (I didn't have the opportunity to review the teacher's edition, but sure it's laid out just as well as the textbook, itself is) and a dvd, teachers will find,"Evolution: The Grand Expermiment: vol. 2-Living Fossils" and interesting and provocative read for students in junior high and older.
For those with younger students, the photos alone, are eye catching, beautiful render and will encourage discussion and study in fossils and discussions and debate about creation vs. evolution.
The pictures alone are worth the textbook and a great way to introduce your students to fossils.
Posted July 18, 2011
I Also Recommend:
Having reviewed Carl Werner's Evolution: The Grand Experiment - Volume 1 a few months back, I eagerly awaited the opportunity to crack open Volume 2: Living Fossils. Like the first volume, Living Fossils is presented in an easy-to-read format aimed at the general public and is filled with beautiful full color photographs of fossils and animals throughout. As they say, A picture is worth a thousand words. Once again, Werner's book is a Godsend for visual learners.
While Volume 1 tackled several lines of evidence used to support evolution at once, this volume deals with one specific issue.
Basically, Dr. Carl Werner set out to test the evolutionary model in the following manner:
"I predicted that if evolution was not true, then animals and plants would not change significantly over time. Accordingly, I predicted I should find fossils of modern animal and plant species in the "older" fossil layers" [p. 10].
He notes that "the naming of species is subjective and, at times, I find species and genus names unreliable" [p. 23]. As an example, he notes that scientists once mistakenly believed different "races" of humans represented more than 15 different species, while modern genetics have proven we are but one species. He also notes wide variations in dogs, in a single species of oysters and in sassafras leaves [even from the same tree]. He further noted that while he and his wife photographed many modern-appearing plants and animals in the fossil record, not one fossil was assigned a modern species name. He became convinced that evolutionist were playing what he calls the Naming Game.
As he puts it:
"If a paleontologist was unfamiliar with the variations within living species, it is possible he or she could misinterpret differences and mistakenly give each fossil a new, erroneous species name, based on minor changes only. Taking it one step further, this name change could give the false impression that evolution, or dramatic change, has occured over time. The only way this can be sorted out is to look at the fossils and living forms" [p. 18].
This is exactly what Dr. Werner has set out to do in this volume; He painstakingly takes us through the plant and animal kingdoms, showing us modern-looking dinosaur era fossils and their probable living counterparts. It is an amazing book of which Dr. Werner should be proud.
I can't wait to check out the next book in the series.
-Rev Tony Breeden
From the Bookwyrm's Lair
Posted July 5, 2011
Every so often, a book comes along that I really enjoy, and earns a position on my top-10 (although there are more than 10 books) shelf next to my bed. Books that I will enjoy reading over and over, so I want them kept handy. Well, recently I added another one to that collection. When presented with the opportunity to review Evolution: The Grand Experiment Vol. 2, I was thrilled. Authored by Dr. Carl Werner, a biologist and recipient of the Norman D. Jones Science Award. I love reading books by scientists that present a Biblical viewpoint! Too often people think that to be a scientist or have a college degree, you have to believe in evolution. Of course, the normal course of that assumption is to believe that all Young-Earth Creationists are dummies who never made it past 8th grade. Not so! Anyways, back to the subject at hand :) Just like the first book in the series, Living Fossils is loaded with detailed, full-color photos. This is nice for several reasons; first, because it gives me an idea of what the author is speaking about (and really proves his point throughout the book) but also because it will encourage even younger children to pick up the book. My brother, for example, will choose books to read based on the amount of color pictures in it! This one definitely passed his test. Before I share my thoughts about this book, I'd like to share a little background on the author and how the book came to be. Dr. Werner, during his medical school years, gradually became a staunch advocate of evolution. A year later, in his sophomore college term, Carl was out with a fellow-student. The other student gave Dr. Werner 4 questions-questions that changed his life. His final statement was "Carl, I challenge you to prove evolution". After this discussion, Carl decided to line up the evidence for both Creation and evolution, with the goal of proving evolution to be true. For the next 18 years, Dr. Werner studied the evolution debate in depth. After years of frustration, he decided to apply a test, taking the Creationist viewpoint in order to disprove it. If evolution was not true, then animals and plants should not change over time; thus Carl would be able to find "modern" plant and animal fossils in "older" rock layers. And that is how, in 1997, Dr. Werner and his wife began their trek that would come to total over 108,000 miles over 3 continents. Living Fossils is an amazing compilation from that journey. With over 15 chapters covering as many different species, Carl details how and where he found, in essence, living fossils! Fossils that appear to be exactly the same as modern animals and plants, yet were discovered in fossil layers supposedly millions of years old! For example, I was amazed at the pictures of the modern Ground Lizard, and a "Dinosaur-Era Lizard". They look exactly the same! And the same thing occurs over and over and over in this book! Picture on top of picture shows just how much plants and animals have really changed-or not! After reading this book, I honestly can not see how people can so blindly accept evolution, and not even care about the obvious discrepancies and problems with their belief! Dr. Werner has done an excellent job, and I am making the first book, Evolution: The Grand Experiment, a top-priority purchase!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 21, 2011
Dr. Carl Werner grew up in a Catholic church where he learned about and believed in creation and the other stories in the Bible. As he headed into his teen years, he started to have some doubt as to whether what he had been taught was true. When he entered college and medical school, several of his professors presented evolution to him in a manner that made sense. He started to believe in evolution until one day his friend challenged him to prove that evolution was true. This challenge would prove to be a life-long journey....
Once Dr. Werner decided to embrace the challenge, he approached it from a scientific viewpoint. He decided to construct an experiment that would help him prove that evolution is true. He predicted that if evolution was not true, then animals and plants would not change significantly over time. Accordingly, he predicted that he should find fossils of modern animal and plant species in the "older" fossil layers.
Little did he know it at the time, but this experiment would take him all over the world. He would learn that many of his assumptions were wrong. He would take pictures and footage of fossils as well as live plants and animals from 3 different continents. This book shows readers glimpses into what he (and his wife) found during their travels.
He concludes the book by giving the evidence for and against both creation and evolution. He wants readers to make up their own mind on what his challenge produced.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book which is overflowing with beautiful images. The comparisons between pictures of current plants and animals and fossilized (dinosaur-era) plants and animals are wonderful. Many of the specimens shown in the book were things that I probably would not have seen if not for this book. I had to chuckle at several points during the reading as we've often said some of the same things about the "pre-historic" fossils looking just like current animals and plants when we've viewed them.
There is a teacher's manual as well as a presenter's cd available to accompany the Living Fossils book.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Master Books/New Leaf Publishing to help facilitate the writing of a frank and honest review. I positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own.
Posted June 16, 2011
Living Fossils By Dr. Carl Werner is volume 2, of the Evolution: The Grand Experient series. This fully illustrated, full color book is a hybrid between a science textbook, and the author's personal journal. Marketed for the homeschooled market, this science book is certain to capture the interest of any child or adult interested in science, fossils and evolution. This book does not replace a science text, as it is not all inclusive, nevertheless it would make a very good supplement to a science textbook in the private or even public school forum.
This science text chronicles the author's quest to prove/ disprove evolution. It is written in the first person point of view, including some personal, yet scientifically irrelevant facts about his trips to the escavation sites and museums. Nevertheless, the photographs speak for themselves and his personal comments and captions do not hinder the point the author is trying to communicate. Included are a series of high quality photographs of fossils. In most cases the photographs of the fossils are set side by side with photographs of modern day look a likes, illustrating that there are so many animals and plant life that have changed very little since the age of the dinosaurs. In other cases, the author relies on museum reconstructions/ illustrations of ancient fossils rather than actual fossils. This book dispells the commonly health myth- or rather, the alleged conspiracy, that mammals and other modern fish/ reptiles/ plant life did not exist until recently. One thing that I think should be changed is the physical page space dedicated to the scientists the author quoted. I think it is sufficient to include a quote and the scientist/ date of the quote but to include a full color photo of each individual quoted is a waste of space.
Another important issue the author raises in this text is the liberty that science illustators make when drawing reconstructions of ancient bones found. This liberty reflects the artist's and scientist's bias causing an illustration to make a fossil animal appear more or less ancient through the use of color and the artictic liscense used to exxagerate the non-bony, cartilage- type structures, colors, skins, fur, scales etc... The author suggests that two depictions be required- one on the modern spectrum as well as an ancient depiction because in reality, the artist must use his or her imagination to complete a drawing and fill in the gaps when only bones are available.
I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading vol 3 and 4 which the author teased the reader about in the end of the book. As a blogger for New Leaf publishers I revieved a copy of this book published by New Leaf publishers for the purpose of writing this review.
Posted July 17, 2009
Earlier I did a review of the first book in this series, Evolution: The Grand Experiment--The Quest for an Answer, which also appeared on several websites. In our homeschool, we used the book for our science last year with both Mark, who graduated in June, and Jeremy, who was in seventh grade. Also, in March of this year, I had the privilege of working with Dr. Werner as one of our speakers at the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo. He is truly a fascinating man. In Living Fossils, Carl weaves the story of his own personal journey with the results of his research. As a young man, he was raised to believe in the Bible and creation, but in high school began drifting from his religious beliefs, and by 1977 in an accelerated medical college program cast his vote for evolution. However, a year later, a friend challenged him to prove evolution. After hearing from his friend about the many problems with evolutionary theory, he was unnerved and determined to begin a quest to find evidence for and against evolution. For the next eighteen years, he immersed himself in reading and studying the topic of evolution, in the meantime becoming a physician. His plan was based on the prediction that if evolution was not true, then animals and plants would not change significantly over time and therefore one should find fossils of modern animal and plant species in the "older" fossil layers. Finally, in 1997 he and his photographer wife Debbie began visiting museums all over the world and talking to recognized experts in the field of fossils. You would be amazed at what they found. I shall leave you to read (and see) the details in the book, but in short Carl looked for and located in geologic strata which evolutionists consider as coming from the era of dinosaurs fossils of every major category of modern animals (both invertebrates and vertebrates) and plants living today. His conclusion is as follows. "If I ignore the genus and species names and simply compare the fossils found in dinosaur rock layers to modern forms, I see a lack of significant change in all of the major animal phyla and all of the major plant divisions. My findings support the idea that animals and plants have not significantly changed (evolved) over time, but simply some animals and plants have gone extinct, while others have remained relatively unchanged." As with Vol. 1, there is a teacher's manual containing chapter objectives, class discussion questions, and tests for each of the 25 chapters to help in using this book for classroom or homeschooling purposes. This book is certainly a welcomed addition to the growing body of scientific literature which poses questions for Darwinian evolution.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 26, 2009
Like Volume 1, this book's presentation is awesome. The pictures clear, large, and complementing the text exactly. In this book Dr. Werner explains how he came to be involved in evolutionary research and is focusing on his findings in the fossils found around the world. He starts right at the beginning of his journey describing how he started it and how he learned to ask the "right" questions that elicited the most complete answers and of course, those that led him on to further research. He explains how things are named and separated in science. He describes his findings in every branch of fossil research from amphibians to plants. Everything is presented in a very readable and understandable manner with pictures that show exactly what he is talking about. This is a book that would be welcome in a school as a textbook, or in a home as a reference book. Every library should definitely have the series. ~ 5 stars.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 12, 2009
Living Fossils Evolution: The Grand Experiment Vol. 2 was written by Dr. Carl Werner, an ER doctor and scientific researcher. Just like his previous volume, it is a beautiful hard bound book which includes 25 wonderful chapters. There are more than 700 beautiful photographs taken by his wife Debbie Werner.
Do you have any questions about evolution and creation? Well, inside this book, it is packed with years of research from Dr. Carl Werner. He spent over 18 years in field study researching in many countries, interviewing scientist and visiting many museums to help find the answers that he published in this book.
I am a home school parent and I recommend this book for both public, private and home school families. The book is geared towards grades 6th through 12th. I plan on ordering the teacher addition to use for our home study program. I like the idea, that both of my high school aged children, can study this text together. I am sure this book will open up the minds of our children, allowing for many wonderful discussions on the subject of creation and evolution.
Be on the look out for Volume III Human Evolution by Dr. Carl Werner.