In early July 1899, an excavation team of paleontologists sponsored by Andrew Carnegie discovered the fossil remains in Wyoming of what was then the longest and largest dinosaur on record. Named after its benefactor, the Diplodocus carnegii—or Dippy, as it’s known today—was shipped to Pittsburgh and later mounted and unveiled at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in 1907. Carnegie’s pursuit of dinosaurs in the American West and the ensuing dinomania of the late nineteenth century coincided with his broader political ambitions to establish a lasting world peace and avoid further international conflict. An ardent philanthropist and patriot, Carnegie gifted his first plaster cast of Dippy to the British Museum at the behest of King Edward VII in 1902, an impulsive diplomatic gesture that would result in the donation of at least seven reproductions to museums across Europe and Latin America over the next decade, in England, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Russia, Argentina, and Spain. In this largely untold history, Ilja Nieuwland explores the influence of Andrew Carnegie’s prized skeleton on European culture through the dissemination, reception, and agency of his plaster casts, revealing much about the social, political, cultural, and scientific context of the early twentieth century.
Today, Michigan is home to many different animals and plants. Yet nearly 12,000 years ago it was home to very different kinds of animals and flora. Huge mastodons and mammoths roamed through southern Michigan. Whales, walruses, and giant rodents swam in the lakes, and shaggy musk oxen grazed in the woodlands. Now, 2000 years later, all but their fossils are gone.
Ancient Life of the Great Lakes Basin provides a one-of-a- kind look at ancient life in the Great Lakes. Written for the layperson and for the professional with biological or geological interest in the Great Lakes region, the book describes most of the common fossils found in this region. Detailed illustrations help identify many of the fossilized organisms that can be found today. Among the most interesting illustrations presented in the book are Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen's conceptions of what the fossilized creatures may have looked like when they were alive. In addition, color illustrations by van Frankenhuyzen depict spectacular scenes of ancient life in the Great Lakes area.
The book begins with a brief review of biological and geological principles and then offers a framework for the study of the fossil record. Methods of collection, preservation and maintenance of fossils are also presented. Throughout the book, common fossils found today embedded in rocks and other solid matter are emphasized.
J. Alan Holman is Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology in the Michigan State University Museum, and Professor of Geological Sciences, Michigan State University.
Lukas Rieppel shows how dinosaurs gripped the popular imagination and became emblems of America’s industrial power and economic prosperity during the Gilded Age. Spectacular fossils were displayed in museums financed by North America’s wealthiest tycoons, to cement their reputation as both benefactors of science and fierce capitalists.
Frank K. McKinney and Jeremy B. C. Jackson University of Chicago Press, 1991 Library of Congress QE798.M35 1991 | Dewey Decimal 564.7
The authors argue that the growth pattern and form of the colony in many bryozoans is an adaptive strategy rather than a stable genetic character.
"Bryozoan Evolution is profusely illustrated and has a bibliography of over 400 titles. It will find an appreciative audience of paleontologists, invertebrate zoologists, and ecologists thanks to its innovative and detailed evaluations of the roles of ecology, adaptive and functional morphology, life histories, biomechanics, developmental constraints, and chance on the evolution of the marine taxa of this speciose group."—Russel L. Zimmer, Science
"This book is an excellent source of information on the functional morphology and variety of colonial architecture in bryozoans, very well illustrated, and worth reading at least twice."-Robert L. Anstey, Paleobiology
"Even as one of the converted, I found the book a stimulating combination of paleobiology and ecology. In many ways it is a 'teaser'-the authors suggest a number of interesting hypotheses, and can test only some of them. Perhaps most important, McKinney and Jackson provide a plethora of fascinating ideas and examples that demonstrate the potential of this group of animals, and that should stimulate more work."-Michael S. Keough, TREE
"This stimulating book is sure to promote further interest in bryozoans. It will appeal to biologists and paleontologists alike."-Paul Taylor, Times Higher Education Supplement
For at least half a million years, people have been doing some very strange things with fossils. Long before a few seventeenth-century minds started to decipher their true, organic nature, fossils had been eaten, dropped in goblets of wine, buried with the dead, and adorned bodies. What triggered such curious behavior was the belief that some fossils could cure illness, protect against being poisoned, ease the passage into the afterlife, ward off evil spirits, and even kill those who were just plain annoying. But above all, to our early prehistoric ancestors, fossils were the very stuff of artistic inspiration. Drawing on archaeology, mythology, and folklore, Ken McNamara takes us on a journey through prehistory with these curious stones, and he explores humankind’s unending quest for the meaning of fossils.
At the turn of the nineteenth century, geology—and its claims that the earth had a long and colorful prehuman history—was widely dismissedasdangerous nonsense. But just fifty years later, it was the most celebrated of Victorian sciences. Ralph O’Connor tracks the astonishing growth of geology’s prestige in Britain, exploring how a new geohistory far more alluring than the standard six days of Creation was assembled and sold to the wider Bible-reading public.
Shrewd science-writers, O’Connor shows, marketed spectacular visions of past worlds, piquing the public imagination with glimpses of man-eating mammoths, talking dinosaurs, and sea-dragons spawned by Satan himself. These authors—including men of science, women, clergymen, biblical literalists, hack writers, blackmailers, and prophets—borrowed freely from the Bible, modern poetry, and the urban entertainment industry, creating new forms of literature in order to transport their readers into a vanished and alien past.
In exploring the use of poetry and spectacle in the promotion of popular science, O’Connor proves that geology’s success owed much to the literary techniques of its authors. An innovative blend of the history of science, literary criticism, book history, and visual culture, The Earth on Show rethinks the relationship between science and literature in the nineteenth century.
Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems
Paul A. Selden and John R. Nudds University of Chicago Press, 2005 Library of Congress QE721.2.E87S45 2004 | Dewey Decimal 560.45
Major advances in our understanding of the history of life on Earth have been achieved through the study of exceptionally well-preserved fossil sites, known scientifically as fossil Lagerstätten. The examination of such sites provides a surprisingly complete picture of the evolution of ecosystems throughout the ages. In Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems, Paul A. Selden and John R. Nudds celebrate these unique and rare preserves of ancient ecosystems with succinct summaries of fourteen of the better-known fossil Lagerstätten—including the Ediacara in South Australia, the Hunsrück Slate in Germany, the Santana and Crato Formations in Brazil, and the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.
Beginning with a general introduction to fossil Lagerstätten, Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems goes on, chapter by chapter, to consider each fossil site, detailing its evolutionary position and significance; a brief history of the locality; its background sedimentology, stratigraphy, and paleoenvironment; its biota and paleoecology; and its commonalities with similar Lagerstätten. Considering deposits both marine and terrestrial, the book covers one fossil site from the Precambrian era, five sites from the Paleozoic era, five sites from the Mesozoic era, and three sites from the Cenozoic era.
Illustrated with hundreds of color photographs and drawings, Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems is a sophisticated yet accessible guide to these critical sites. Containing useful appendixes listing important museums, instructions on how to visit the fossil sites, and additional suggested reading, this book will attract students, academics, and professionals in paleontology, evolution, and the earth and life sciences, as well as dedicated amateurs interested in fossils and geology.
The landscapes of Madagascar have long delighted zoologists, who have discovered, in and among the island’s baobab trees and thickets, a dizzying array of animals, including something approaching one hundred species of lemur. Madagascar’s mammal fauna, for example, is far more diverse, and more endemic, than early explorers and naturalists ever dreamed of. But in the past 2,500 or so years—a period associated with natural climatic shifts and ecological change, as well as partially coinciding with the arrival of the island’s first human settlers—a considerable proportion of Madagascar’s forests have disappeared; and in the wake of this loss, a number of species unique to Madagascar have vanished forever into extinction.
In Extinct Madagascar, noted scientists Steven M. Goodman and William L. Jungers explore the recent past of these land animal extinctions. Beginning with an introduction to the geologic and ecological history of Madagascar that provides context for the evolution, diversification, and, in some cases, rapid decline of the Malagasy fauna, Goodman and Jungers then seek to recapture these extinct mammals in their environs. Aided in their quest by artist Velizar Simeonovski’s beautiful and haunting digital paintings—images of both individual species and ecosystem assemblages reproduced here in full color—Goodman and Jungers reconstruct the lives of these lost animals and trace their relationships to those still living.
Published in conjunction with an exhibition of Simeonovski’s artwork set to open at the Field Museum, Chicago, in the fall of 2014, Goodman and Jungers’s awe-inspiring book will serve not only as a sobering reminder of the very real threat of extinction, but also as a stunning tribute to Madagascar’s biodiversity and a catalyst for further research and conservation.
From cave paintings to the latest Siberian finds, woolly mammoths have fascinated people across Europe, Asia, and North America for centuries. Remains of these enormous prehistoric animals were among the first fossils to be recognized as such, and they have played a crucial role in the birth and development of paleontology. In this lively, wide-ranging look at the fate of the mammoth, Claudine Cohen reanimates this large mammal with heavy curved tusks and shaggy brown hair through its history in science, myth, and popular culture.
Cohen uses the mammoth and the theories that naturalists constructed around it to illuminate wider issues in the history of science, showing how changing views about a single object reveal the development of scientific methods, practices, and ideas. How are fossils discovered, reconstructed, displayed, and interpreted? What stories are told about them, by whom, and how do these stories reflect the cultures and societies in which they are told?
To find out, Cohen takes us on a grand tour of the study of mammoth remains, from England, Germany, and France to Russia and America, and from the depths of Africa to the frozen frontiers of Alaska and Siberia, where intact mammoth corpses have been discovered in the permafrost. Along the way, she shows how paleontologists draw on myth and history, as well as on scientific evidence, to explore the deep history of the earth and of life. Cohen takes her history from the sixteenth century right up to the present, when researchers are using molecular biology to retrieve mammoth DNA, calling up dreams of cloning the mammoth and one day seeing herds of woolly mammoths roaming the frozen steppes.
The fossil record affords a fascinating glimpse at past environments and the kinds of plants and animals that inhabited them. Some sites, for instance, contain nearly complete preserved records of ancient life. Fourteen of these remarkable fossil depositories are found in North America, including Mistaken Point in Newfoundland, Mazon Creek in Illinois, and Rancho La Brea in Los Angeles.
Fossil Ecosystems of North America describes these and eleven other sites that range across the continent.
John R. Nudds and Paul A. Selden introduce each site and place the fossil findings in geologic and evolutionary context. They go on to describe the history of research at each site—the sedimentology, stratigraphy, biota, paleoecology—and offer comparisons to other localities of similar age or environment. Fossil Ecosystems of North America also includes an appendix of museums at which readers can see specimens from the sites and suggestions for visiting the sites in person. In some cases, new specimens can still be collected from these sites by professionals and amateurs alike.
Accessible and informative, this guide to Fossil-Lagerstätten will appeal to expert scientists and adventuresome lay paleontologists alike.
One of the first interdisciplinary discussions of taphonomy (the study of how fossil assemblages are formed) and paleoecology (the reconstruction of ancient ecosystems), this volume helped establish these relatively new disciplines. It was originally published as part of the influential Prehistoric Archeology and Ecology series.
"Taphonomy is plainly here to stay, and this book makes a first class introduction to its range and appeal."—Anthony Smith, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
Frozen mammals of the Ice Age, preserved for millennia in the tundra, have been a source of fascination and mystery since their first discovery over two centuries ago. These mummies, their ecology, and their preservation are the subject of this compelling book by paleontologist Dale Guthrie. The 1979 find of a frozen, extinct steppe bison in an Alaskan gold mine allowed him to undertake the first scientific excavation of an Ice Age mummy in North America and to test theories about these enigmatic frozen fauna.
The 36,000-year-old bison mummy, coated with blue mineral crystals, was dubbed "Blue Babe." Guthrie conveys the excitement of its excavation and shows how he made use of evidence from living animals, other Pleistocene mummies, Paleolithic art, and geological data. With photographs and scores of detailed drawings, he takes the reader through the excavation and subsequent detective work, analyzing the animal's carcass and its surroundings, the circumstances of its death, its appearance in life, the landscape it inhabited, and the processes of preservation by freezing. His examination shows that Blue Babe died in early winter, falling prey to lions that inhabited the Arctic during the Pleistocene era.
Guthrie uses information gleaned from his study of Blue Babe to provide a broad picture of bison evolutionary history and ecology, including speculations on the interactions of bison and Ice Age peoples. His description of the Mammoth Steppe as a cold, dry, grassy plain is based on an entirely new way of reading the fossil record.
Guide to Fossil Man
Michael H. Day University of Chicago Press, 1986 Library of Congress GN282.D39 1986 | Dewey Decimal 569.9
Michael H. Day's Guide to Fossil Man is the standard reference work on hominid remains found at the major palaeolithic sites throughout the world. This fourth edition now includes details of fifteen new sites, as well as new evidence from thirty-four previously known sites featured in earlier editions of the book.
Day begins with an introduction to the anatomy of human fossils. He then describes the forty-nine sites in Europe, the Near East, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Oceania that have yielded the most significant information on the development of hominid species and the appearance of early man. Grouped geographically, each site description includes data on the hominid remains, other finds such as tools and animal bones, the local geology and contemporary geomorphology and ecology, and dating and other references. Sites featured for the first time in this edition include Kow Swamp and Mungo in Australia; Dali and Maba in China; and West Turkana in Kenya, which contained the almost complete skeleton of a boy determined to be 1,600,000 years old.
Short essays on problems associated with neandertal, australpithecine, and Homo erectus remains are included, as well as a glossary, a geological time scale, charts and comprehensive illustrations. Day's Guide to Fossil Man is invaluable not only for working palaeontologists, palaeolithic archaeologists, and physical anthropologists, but also for anyone interested in human evolution.
The landscape of southwestern Wyoming around the ghost town of Fossil is beautiful but harsh; a dry, high mountain desert with cool nights and long, cold winters inhabited by a sparse mountain desert community. But during the early Eocene, more than fifty million years ago, it was a subtropical lake, surrounded by volcanoes and forests and teeming with life. Buried within the sun-baked limestone is spectacular evidence of the lush vegetation and plentiful fauna of the ancient past, a transitional ecosystem giving us clues to how North America recovered from a great extinction event that wiped out dinosaurs and the majority of all species on the planet.
Paleontologists have been conducting excavations at Fossil Butte for more than 150 years, and with The Lost World of Fossil Lake, one of the world’s leading experts on the fossils from this spectacular locality takes readers on a fascinating journey through the history of the discovery and exploration of the site. Deftly mixing incredible color photographs of the remarkable fossils uncovered at the site with an explanation of their evolutionary significance, Grande presents an unprecedented, comprehensive portrait of the site, its treasures, and what we’ve learned from them. Grande presents a broad range of fossilized organisms from Fossil Lake—from single-celled algae to palm trees to crocodiles—and together they make this long-extinct community come to life in all its diversity and splendor. A field guide and atlas round out the book, enabling readers to identify and classify the majority of the known fossils from the site.
Lavishly produced in full color, The Lost World of Fossil Lake is a stunning reminder of the intellectual and physical beauty of scientific investigation—and a breathtaking window onto our planet’s long-lost past.
"It is not often that a work can literally rewrite a person's view of a subject. And this is exactly what Rudwick's book should do for many paleontologists' view of the history of their own field."—Stephen J. Gould, Paleobotany and Palynology
"Rudwick has not merely written the first book-length history of palaeontology in the English language; he has written a very intelligent one. . . . His accounts of sources are rounded and organic: he treats the structure of arguments as Cuvier handled fossil bones."—Roy S. Porter, History of Science
The Murray Springs Site in the upper San Pedro River Valley of southeast Arizona is one of the most significant Clovis sites ever found. It contained a multiple bison kill, a mammoth kill, and possibly a horse kill in a deeply stratified sedimentary context. Scattered across the buried occupation surface with the bones of late Pleistocene animals were several thousand stone tools and waste flakes from their manufacture and repair. Because of the unique occurrence of an algal black mat that buried the Clovis-age surface immediately after abandonment, the distributional integrity of the artifacts and debitage clusters is exceptional for Paleoindian sites. Excavation of the Clovis hunters’ camp 50 to 150 meters south of the kills revealed artifactual evidence typical of hunting camp activity, including hide working and weapons repair. Impact flakes conjoining with Clovis points clearly tied the camp to the bison kill. The unique nature of the site and this comprehensive study of the excavated material constitute one of the most important contributions to our knowledge of Paleoindian hunters in the New World.
This revised and expanded edition of Oregon Fossils includes a record of all known fossils in Oregon going back 400 million years, along with collecting localities by county, age, rock formation, and published source. The book also provides a geologic overview of the state, from ocean beaches to the high desert, from the Blue Mountains to the Siskiyous.
Unique among fossil field guides, Oregon Fossils includes both specimen identification and interesting notes about their discovery, naming, and conservation. The narrative is sprinkled with biographical sketches of paleontologists who have contributed to the state’s fossil record, and the text is richly illustrated with photographs, line drawings, charts, and maps. A complete bibliography lists full citations to fossil material. The only single volume that provides Oregon’s fossil record and history, Oregon Fossils is a well-written, well-organized guide. It is an excellent reference for classroom and library use, for researchers, and for private collectors and hobbyists.
Owls, Caves, and Fossils is the first comprehensive, fully illustrated account of small mammal taphonomy. The study of small mammal remains has previously been neglected in favor of such large mammals as elephants, bovids, and carnivores, and Andrews remedies this deficiency by analyzing the taphonomic processes significant in the preservation of small mammal fauna in caves.
The first English translation of Johannes Weigelt's 1927 classic makes available the seminal work in taphonomy, the study of how organisms die, decay, become entombed in sediments, and fossilize over time. Weigelt emphasized the importance of empirical work and made extensive observations of modern carcasses on the Texas Gulf Coast. He applied the results to evidence from the fossil record and demonstrated that an understanding of the postmortem fate of modern animals is crucial to making sound inferences about fossil vertebrate assemblages and their ecological communities.
Weigelt spent sixteen months on the Gulf Coast in the mid-1920s, gathering evidence from the carcasses of cattle and other animals in the early stages of preservation. This book reports his observations. He discusses death and decomposition; classifies various modes of death (drowning, cold, dehydration, fire, mud, quicksand, oil slicks, etc.); documents and analyzes the positions of carcasses; presents detailed data on carcass assemblages at the Smither's Lake site in Texas; and, in a final chapter, makes comparisons to carcass assemblages from the geologic past. He raises questions about whether much of the fossil record is a product of unusual events and, if so, what the implications are for paleoecological studies.
The English edition of Recent Vertebrate Carcasses includes a foreword and a translator's note that comment on Weigelt's life and the significance of his work. The original bibliography has been brought up to date, and, where necessary, updated scientific and place names have been added to the text in brackets. An index of names, places, and subjects is included, and Weigelt's own photographs of carcasses and drawings of skeletons illustrate the text.
Two tiny trilobites in a vast Cambrian ocean drift past sea cucumber parasols and a shaggy, tree-like sponge. Snail tracks loop enigmatically against brushed-gray Silurian slate, and ghostly white crinoids feather a Devonian seascape. A delicate pterosaur flies bravely into the Jurassic gloom, while a Tyrannosaurus rex so big that its teeth fill our field of vision stalks the deep orange sands that mark the end of the Cretaceous period.
These are just a few scenes from the magnificent drama that unfolds in glorious full color and three-dimensional texture in Rock of Ages, Sands of Time. Each of Barbara Page's 544 contiguous painted panels represents a million years of the history of life on earth, with fossil plants and animals depicted at the same scale and in association with each other just as they might be found by a paleontologist in the field. A muted rainbow of background colors evoke the rocks in which the fossils were found—the Texas Red Beds, for instance, or the yellow Solnhofen limestone—and keystone events are shown metaphorically, with fat rolls of paint marking major extinctions or continental drift.
To fully experience the awesome impact of an eon's worth of time spread across 500 feet of bas-relief panels, you'd have to visit the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York, where Page's specially commissioned work will be installed when the museum opens in 2002. But this book is the next best thing. Not only does it contain crisp color reproductions of each painting, but it also includes an accessible essay from paleontologist Warren Allmon giving the scientific context behind the art.
For fossil lovers of all ages, and anyone interested in the merging of art and science, Rock of Ages, Sands of Time will be the find of a lifetime.
For roughly two thousand years, the veneration of sacred fossil ammonites, called Shaligrams, has been an important part of Hindu and Buddhist ritual practice throughout South Asia and among the global Diaspora. Originating from a single remote region of Himalayan Nepal, called Mustang, Shaligrams are all at once fossils, divine beings, and intimate kin with families and worshippers. Through their lives, movements, and materiality, Shaligrams then reveal fascinating new dimensions of religious practice, pilgrimage, and politics. But as social, environmental, and national conflicts in the politically-contentious region of Mustang continue to escalate, the geologic, mythic, and religious movements of Shaligrams have come to act as parallels to the mobility of people through both space and time. Shaligram mobility therefore traverses through multiple social worlds, multiple religions, and multiple nations revealing Shaligram practitioners as a distinct, alternative, community struggling for a place in a world on the edge.
Although the species is one of the fundamental units of biological classification, there is remarkably little consensus among biologists about what defines a species, even within distinct sub-disciplines. The literature of paleobiology, in particular, is littered with qualifiers and cautions about applying the term to the fossil record or equating such species with those recognized among living organisms. In Species and Speciation in the Fossil Record, experts in the field examine how they conceive of species of fossil animals and consider the implications these different approaches have for thinking about species in the context of macroevolution.
After outlining views of the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary disciplines and detailing the development within paleobiology of quantitative methods for documenting and analyzing variation within fossil assemblages, contributors explore the challenges of recognizing and defining species from fossil specimens—and offer potential solutions. Addressing both the tempo and mode of speciation over time, they show how with careful interpretation and a clear species concept, fossil species may be sufficiently robust for meaningful paleobiological analyses. Indeed, they demonstrate that the species concept, if more refined, could unearth a wealth of information about the interplay between species origins and extinctions, between local and global climate change, and greatly deepen our understanding of the evolution of life.
Throughout the four hundred thousand years that humanity has been collecting fossils, sea urchin fossils, or echinoids, have continually been among the most prized, from the Paleolithic era, when they decorated flint axes, to today, when paleobiologists study them for clues to the earth’s history.
In The Star-Crossed Stone, Kenneth J. McNamara, an expert on fossil echinoids, takes readers on an incredible fossil hunt, with stops in history, paleontology, folklore, mythology, art, religion, and much more. Beginning with prehistoric times, when urchin fossils were used as jewelry, McNamara reveals how the fossil crept into the religious and cultural lives of societies around the world—the roots of the familiar five-pointed star, for example, can be traced to the pattern found on urchins. But McNamara’s vision is even broader than that: using our knowledge of early habits of fossil collecting, he explores the evolution of the human mind itself, drawing striking conclusions about humanity’s earliest appreciation of beauty and the first stirrings of artistic expression. Along the way, the fossil becomes a nexus through which we meet brilliant eccentrics and visionary archaeologists and develop new insights into topics as seemingly disparate as hieroglyphics, Beowulf, and even church organs.
An idiosyncratic celebration of science, nature, and human ingenuity, The Star-Crossed Stone is as charming and unforgettable as the fossil at its heart.
Lavishly illustrated with full-color geological maps, tables of strata, geological cross-sections, photographs, and fossil illustrations from the archives of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the Geological Society, the London Natural History Museum, and others, Strata provides the first complete presentation of the revolutionary work of nineteenth-century geologist William Smith, the so-called father of English geology. It illustrates the story of his career, from apprentice to surveyor for hire and fossil collector, from his 1799 geological map of Bath and table of strata to his groundbreaking 1815 geological strata map, and from his imprisonment for debt to his detailed stratigraphical county maps.
This sumptuous volume begins with an introduction by Douglas Palmer that places Smith’s work in the context of earlier, concurrent, and subsequent ideas regarding the structure and natural processes of the earth, geographical mapping, and biostratigraphical theories. The book is then organized into four parts, each beginning with four sheets from Smith’s hand-colored, 1815 strata map, accompanied by related geological cross-sections and county maps, and followed by fossil illustrations by Smith contemporary James Sowerby, all organized by strata. Essays between each section explore the aims of Smith’s work and its application in the fields of mining, agriculture, cartography and hydrology. Strata concludes with reflections on Smith’s later years as an itinerant geologist and surveyor, plagiarism by a rival, receipt of the first Wollaston Medal in recognition of his achievements, and the influence of his geological mapping and biostratigraphical theories on the sciences—all of which culminated in the establishment of the modern geological timescale.
Featuring a foreword by Robert Macfarlane, Strata is a glorious testament to the lasting geological and illustrative genius of William Smith, a collection as colossal and awe-inspiring as the layers of the Earth themselves.
Whether the fossil record should be read at face value or whether it presents a distorted view of the history of life is an argument seemingly as old as many fossils themselves. In the late 1700s, Georges Cuvier argued for a literal interpretation, but in the early 1800s, Charles Lyell’s gradualist view of the earth’s history required a more nuanced interpretation of that same record. To this day, the tension between literal and interpretive readings lies at the heart of paleontological research, influencing the way scientists view extinction patterns and their causes, ecosystem persistence and turnover, and the pattern of morphologic change and mode of speciation.
With Stratigraphic Paleobiology, Mark E. Patzkowsky and Steven M. Holland present a critical framework for assessing the fossil record, one based on a modern understanding of the principles of sediment accumulation. Patzkowsky and Holland argue that the distribution of fossil taxa in time and space is controlled not only by processes of ecology, evolution, and environmental change, but also by the stratigraphic processes that govern where and when sediment that might contain fossils is deposited and preserved. The authors explore the exciting possibilities of stratigraphic paleobiology, and along the way demonstrate its great potential to answer some of the most critical questions about the history of life: How and why do environmental niches change over time? What is the tempo and mode of evolutionary change and what processes drive this change? How has the diversity of life changed through time, and what processes control this change? And, finally, what is the tempo and mode of change in ecosystems over time?
Distant relatives of modern lobsters, horseshoe crabs, and spiders, trilobites swam the planet’s prehistoric seas for 300 million years, from the Lower Cambrian to the end of the Permian eras—and they did so very capably. Trilobite fossils have been unearthed on every continent, with more than 20,000 species identified by science. One of the most arresting animals of our pre-dinosaur world, trilobites are also favorites among the fossil collectors of today, their crystalline eyes often the catalyst for a lifetime of paleontological devotion. And there is no collector more devoted—or more venerated—than Riccardo Levi-Setti. With The Trilobite Book, a much anticipated follow-up to his classic Trilobites, Levi-Setti brings us a glorious and revealing guide to these surreal arthropods of ancient Earth.
Featuring specimens from Bohemia to Newfoundland, California to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, and Wales to the Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Levi-Setti’s magnificent book reanimates these “butterflies of the seas” in 235 astonishing full-color photographs. All original, Levi-Setti’s images serve as the jumping-off point for tales of his global quests in search of these highly sought-after fossils; for discussions of their mineralogical origins, as revealed by their color; and for unraveling the role of the now-extinct trilobites in our planetary history.
Sure to enthrall paleontologists with its scientific insights and amateur enthusiasts with its beautiful and informative images, The Trilobite Book combines the best of science, technology, aesthetics, and personal adventure. It will inspire new collectors for eras to come.
Riccardo Levi-Setti University of Chicago Press, 1993 Library of Congress QE821.L46 1993 | Dewey Decimal 565.393
Long before dinosaurs roamed the earth, there were trilobites—one of the most striking animals to populate prehistoric seas and whose fossils are favorites among collectors today. From the giant trilobites of Newfoundland to fascinating new specimens from Morocco, Levi-Setti's magnificent book brings these "butterflies of the sea" to life for everyone curious about our remote past
This second edition features coverage of a greater variety of trilobites, an improved photographic atlas reorganized to present their evolutionary progression, and over 200 photographs.
Did you know that Benjamin Franklin examined the first dinosaur bone in America from Woodbury, Gloucester County, in 1787--decades before the word dinosaur was even coined? Or that when the first reasonably complete dinosaur skeleton in the world was unearthed in Haddonfield, Camden County, in 1858, it was a major scientific breakthrough which forced paleontologists to completely revise their picture of dinosaur anatomy? Few people know that New Jersey is the nursery of American vertebrate paleontology!
When Dinosaurs Roamed New Jersey provides a succinct and readable history of the geology and paleontology of New Jersey from the time the region was covered by Cambrian seas, 543 million years ago, to the Pleistocene Ice Age only 10-15,000 years ago. William Gallagher tells the stories of professional and amateur fossil hunters, their discoveries, and their impact on the history of paleontological thought. He points out places in New Jersey and nearby where specimens characteristic of each era were found. He shows how fossil evidence found in the state is helping paleontologists uncover the ecological interactions and behavior of dinosaurs, and discusses such ongoing scientific controversies as the reason for the extinction of the dinosaurs.
From tracking dinosaur footprints across the Newark basin, to digging for the last dinosaurs in the greensands of South Jersey, to finding a mushroom in ancient amber in East Brunswick, this book is the ideal introduction to the Garden State's fossils and prehistory.