Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters / Edition 1by Donald R. Prothero, Carl Buell
Pub. Date: 10/30/2007
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Over the past twenty years, paleontologists have made tremendous fossil discoveries, including fossils that mark the growth of whales, manatees, and seals from land mammals and the origins of elephants, horses, and rhinos. Today there exists an amazing diversity of fossil humans, suggesting we walked upright long before we acquired large brains, and new evidence
Over the past twenty years, paleontologists have made tremendous fossil discoveries, including fossils that mark the growth of whales, manatees, and seals from land mammals and the origins of elephants, horses, and rhinos. Today there exists an amazing diversity of fossil humans, suggesting we walked upright long before we acquired large brains, and new evidence from molecules that enable scientists to decipher the tree of life as never before.
The fossil record is now one of the strongest lines of evidence for evolution. In this engaging and richly illustrated book, Donald R. Prothero weaves an entertaining though intellectually rigorous history out of the transitional forms and series that dot the fossil record. Beginning with a brief discussion of the nature of science and the "monkey business of creationism," Prothero tackles subjects ranging from flood geology and rock dating to neo-Darwinism and macroevolution. He covers the ingredients of the primordial soup, the effects of communal living, invertebrate transitions, the development of the backbone, the reign of the dinosaurs, the mammalian explosion, and the leap from chimpanzee to human. Prothero pays particular attention to the recent discovery of "missing links" that complete the fossil timeline and details the debate between biologists over the mechanisms driving the evolutionary process.
Evolution is an absorbing combination of firsthand observation, scientific discovery, and trenchant analysis. With the teaching of evolution still an issue, there couldn't be a better moment for a book clarifying the nature and value of fossil evidence. Widely recognized as a leading expert in his field, Prothero demonstrates that the transformation of life on this planet is far more awe inspiring than the narrow view of extremists.
- Columbia University Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 7.00(w) x 10.10(h) x 1.10(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Table of Contents
Foreword: Why People Do Not Accept EvolutionTo the Reader: Is Evolution a Threat to Your Religious Beliefs?Prologue: Fossils and EvolutionAcknowledgmentsPart I: Evolution and the Fossil Record1. The Nature of Science2. Science and Creationism3. The Fossil Record4. The Evolution of Evolution5. Systematics and EvolutionPart II: Evolution? The Fossils Say YES!6. Life's Origins7. Cambrian "Explosion"or Slow Fuse?8. Spineless Wonders of Evolution9. Fish Tales10. Fish Out of Water11. Onto the Land and Back to the Sea: The Amniotes12. Dinosaurs Evolveand Fly13. Mammalian Explosion14. Bossies and Blowholes15. The Ape's Reflection?16. Why Does It Matter?BibliographyIndex
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book really shows how evolution is derived from the fossil record. Its a great book, amazingly comprehensive and convincing. I lent it to someone who believed that evolution and creationism should get equal time in the classroom, and he totally changed his mind, and now understands why creationism has no place in a Science classroom. My only complaint with the book is that the author spends a little too much time refuting creationism, and this tends to get a bit trying after a while. But no part of the science of evolution as it relates to the fossil record is left out, and as an interested layman, found it explained clearly and completely.
Donald Prothero wrote this book to present the evidence for evolution and to expose the falsehoods put out by the creationists and advocates of intelligent design (ID), and he does it admirably. He shows that, contrary to the claims of the creationists and IDers, there are numerous transitional fossils and that the stratigraphic record of past life forms follows an evolutionary pattern. One notable example he presents concerns the Cambrian ¿Explosion,¿ which was not really an explosion. He shows that there were predecessors to the Cambrian life forms in the pre-Cambrian and that the statements about the Cambrian made by the creationists grossly misrepresent the facts. He also provides specific examples of the transition of certain body structures over time in the evolutionary development of various animals. His comments about creationists and IDers are at times quite harsh, but understandable in light of the misrepresentations and outright lies that real scientists have to repeatedly deal with from the advocates of creationism and ID. Prothero presents an enormous amount of material and his book is well worth the price.
This is a great science book which I have read several times from beginning to end. I learned something new with each reading.