Evolution What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters

ISBN-10: 0231139624

ISBN-13: 9780231139625

Edition: 2007

Authors: Donald R. Prothero, Carl Buell

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Description:

Over the past twenty years, paleontologists have made tremendous fossil discoveries, including fossils that mark the growth of whales, manatees, and seals into 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. Evolutionis an absorbing combination of firsthand observation, scientific discovery, and trenchant analysis. With the battle over the teaching of evolution still raging in the United States, 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.
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Book details

List price: $35.00
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 11/6/2007
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 480
Size: 7.25" wide x 10.50" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 2.904
Language: English

Foreword: Why People Do Not Accept Evolution
To the Reader: Is Evolution a Threat to Your Religious Beliefs?
Prologue: Fossils and Evolution
Evolution and the Fossil Record
The Nature of Science
Science and Creationism
The Fossil Record
The Evolution of Evolution
Systematics and Evolution
Evolution? The Fossils Say Yes!
Life's Origins
Cambrian "Explosion" - or Slow Fuse?
Spineless Wonders of Evolution
Fish Tales
Fish Out of Water
Onto the Land and Back to the Sea: The Amniotes
Dinosaurs Evolve - and Fly
Mammalian Explosion
Bossies and Blowholes
The Ape's Reflection?
Why Does It Matter?
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