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1. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution
2. Evolution: What the Fossils Say
3. Tempo and Mode in Evolution: Genetics
4. Urban Paleontology: Evolution
5. Evolution: The Fossils Still Say
6. In The Blink Of An Eye: How Vision
7. Future Evolution
8. The Evolution Cruncher
9. The theories of evolution and
10. Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution
11. Fossils, Paleontology, and Evolution
12. Louis Dollo's Papers on Paleontology
13. The Paleontology of Gran Barranca:
14. Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales,
15. Dental Perspectives on Human Evolution:
16. The Rise of Fishes: 500 Million
17. The Paleobiological Revolution:
18. The Rise of Animals: Evolution
19. Basic Questions in Paleontology:
20. Collapse of Evolution, The

1. Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution
by Robert L. Carroll
Hardcover: 698 Pages (1990-01-01)
list price: US$66.95 -- used & new: US$115.00
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Asin: 0716718227
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"Carroll has to his credit an immense amount of useful labour in writing the book and will probably corner the market for a vertebrate paleontology text for the rest of this century."Nature ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars The book for bones!
I had Romer's Vertebrate Paleontology, which is an excellent book, until a paleontologist friend directed me to Carroll's book. He acknowledges Romer's work in the field but this is an updated version (for the time of publication).
It gives all the basic elements needed for a thorough understanding of this very important field of study. One caution: know your anatomy! The detailed information can be a bit overwhelming for the amateur (like me).
However, if you want to chart the course of evolution up to the present - read this book!

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the few college texybooks I kept.
This book was my textbook for Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution at the University of Rochester back in 1992.The book is very daunting to look at if you just flip through it.However, it does a nice job of introducing concepts and terms to the reader.Its organization is straightforward, starting with the simplest vertebrates and eventually finishing with mammals.Most groups are covered well, considering that the author's cover every group of vertebrates known.The biggest problem I had with the book was the section on dinosaurs, the biggest reason why I took the class. The information on them was limited to a few pages and much of the information was out-dated even in 1992.However, if you are looking for a good book on vertebrates, this is a must have.Just realize that some of the information may not reflect our current understanding since the book is over 10 years old and many new finds have come to light, new ideas have been introduced, and old ideas reexamined.

5-0 out of 5 stars I spent 2 weeks chewing on this book...

...the only easily available work that goes to any depth on this intensely interesting subject.A large book of medium thickness with an average of about two drawings per page, including familial relationship diagrams.

Since the late Paleozoic, there have been two significantbranches of terrestrial vertebrates: the diapsids (crocs, dinosaurs, birds)and synapsids (pelycosaurs, theraspids, mammals).Sharing a commonancestry and evolving at times in parallel, nevertheless distinctivefeatures appear early that, though not of immediately apparentsignificance, in fact consign the lines to their separate fates.

Thepelycosaur Dimetrodon, the familiar lizard-like reptile with a sail on itsback that is often reproduced as a toy, and which I have always associatedwith the dinosaurs, is in fact a member of the synapsid line.The bookpoints out how the process on the mandible that reaches up toward thetemporal lobe is the beginning of a shift away from the ancestralquadrate-angular jaw articulation maintained by the diapsids through thebirds.With the additional points of leverage provided, mammals weredestined to become better chewers, able to move their jaws sideways inaddition to up and down.The angular bone and one other bone in themandible, incidentally, become modified to help pick up soundwaves, andeventually migrate to become one of the three bones in the middle ear. (Birds only have one bone in their middle ear, though interestingly, theirhearing appears to be just as acute.)

Mammals continued to refine theirchewing mechanism, introducing improvements to their teeth.Instead ofthe saw of teeth possessed by dinosaurs and early reptiles, the mammalsdeveloped closely occluding teeth that allowed them to grind food moreefficiently.Apparently the price for this matching of the upper and lowerteeth is that mammals cannot replace their adult teeth once lost.

Ifyou are a specialist in one of the larger groups of vertebrates, such asthe dinosaurs or the mammals, the coverage of this book will beunsatisfying.Sometimes I had difficulty determining what the definingcharacteristics that distinguished groups were, so I still can't look at askeleton and know whether it's a pelycosaur or an early theraspid.On arelated note, the relationship diagrams are not cladograms, butold-fashioned family tree type drawings, indicating not only relationshipbut the time period in which the group lived, with a thickening of thelines to show abundance. ... Read more

2. Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
by Donald R. Prothero
Hardcover: 408 Pages (2007-10-11)
list price: US$29.50 -- used & new: US$21.50
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Asin: 0231139624
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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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.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (55)

5-0 out of 5 stars What This Reviewer Thinks And Why It Matters
If you are looking for a good overview of the history of life on this planet, you will love this book.In terms of understanding evolution, both how it works and the evidence to support it, this is one of the best, if not the best books I have read on the topic.It's filled with excellent photos and diagrams and it doesn't just tell you about evolution, it *shows* you.I used to be a young earth creationist myself, and while I encountered this book after I'd already accepted the evidence for evolution, I think this book would have certainly given me much pause had I encountered it earlier in my life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb
This is by far and away one of the very best books I have ever read on the topic of evolution. Prothero has a lively and engaging writing style and he does and outstanding job of laying out the facts regarding the fossil evidence of evolution. He also does a good job of highlighting the dishonesty and hypocrisy of creationists. This book is an absolute must for anybody with an interest in evolution.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice book
This book arrived in very good conditions.The content is very good and very understandable even for people who don't study biology.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Resource Through College Level on Evolution, Loaded with New Facts, Engaging to Read
The book will not disappoint, a great writer talking about a topic of which he has intimate familiarity, and for which he has a passionate concern to get across to the reader and public in general. Filled with up to date information clearly explained with copious charts and illustrations. A must have resource for those writing on the creationist/evolution controversy, with abundant jabs at the know-nothing purveyors of ID at the Creation Research Institute (where in fact, studies have shown, no scientific research is done).

1-0 out of 5 stars Selective evidence is not evidence at all.
It's getting more and more frustrating explaining the obvious to evolutionists.Yet, they insist on being blind to the facts.This book is a case in point.First of all, there are no life forms in the strata below the Cambrian, which proves that the fossils in the Cambrian appeared all at once without any transitional states.The author ignores this fact.Moreover, there are plenty of fossils of creatures in rock allegedly dating to 50 millions of years that we see today, such as turtles, crocodiles, insects of all kinds, horses, elephants which look just like the turtles, crocodiles, insects of all kinds, horses, elephants we see today.Apparently, they haven't changed a bit over that millions and millions of years time span.We also have fossiled human skulls (Peru), fingers and footprints (Paluxy Texas).We also have plenty of unfossiled dinosaur bones such as the ones of the Hadrosauridae and of the T-Rex bone examined by Mary Schweitzer who found fresh tissue and fresh blood in it.The author doesn't mention any of this.Dead silence on these contravening facts.The author thinks that it is absurd to think all the dogs in the world came from two dogs on Noah's ark yet he has no difficulty believing that all dogs came from a rock.If he can believe that, he should have no difficulty believing all the dogs in the world came from the two on Noah's ark.The author believes trilobites are over 500 million years old yet he ignores the fact of the fossil of the trilobite from Antelope Springs that was crushed by a human foot, with a child's foot print nearby that spot in the same Cambrian stone.The author connects unrelated species, such as birds and reptiles, and claims a lineage between the two as evidence of transitional forms.Yet, he ignores that every single one of these socalled transitional forms has been found in the same geological strata as the species they allegedly morphed from.Picking and choosing your facts is not scientific.It is chicanery.Why can't he admit that evolution is bunk and needs to be thrown in the trash can? ... Read more

3. Tempo and Mode in Evolution: Genetics and Paleontology 50 Years After Simpson
by for the National Academy of Sciences
Hardcover: 336 Pages (1995-01-26)
list price: US$54.95 -- used & new: US$45.00
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Asin: 0309051916
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Since George Gaylord Simpson published Tempo and Mode in Evolution in 1944, discoveries in paleontology and genetics have abounded. This volume brings together the findings and insights of today's leading experts in the study of evolution, including Francisco J. Ayala, W. Ford Doolittle, and Stephen Jay Gould. It covers morphological and genetic changes in human populations, contradicting the popular claim that modern humans descend from a single woman. ... Read more

4. Urban Paleontology: Evolution of Urban Forms
by Ming Tang, Dihua Yang
Paperback: 248 Pages (2008-10-01)
list price: US$28.95 -- used & new: US$28.95
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Asin: 1599429497
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More than ten years ago, when I first read Mario Gandelsonas’ book The Urban Context, the beautiful abstract diagrams that the book presented -the street network of Chicago- fascinated me with the profound historical and cultural background that they suggested. Without knowing how this would direct me, I started to draw something related with the street network of Beijing. That is the beginning of this book. Among tons of the diagrams that I have created, most of them have not been incorporated into this book, while they have directed me into this fascinating research area which focuses on the "mineralized skeleton," rather than the "soft tissue" of urban forms.It was not until the recent five years when Yang and I came across some theories and approaches in paleontology that we started to integrate them into the street network study in Beijing and Savannah. Paleontology methods lay the foundation and provide a systematic and scientific platform for our research. Then urban paleontology, as a new framework for urban form study, unfolds itself more and more apparently in front of us. It explores the evolution of "urban species" based on their remains- "urban fossils," which describe distinct urban forms with imprints of their street networks. Just as how a biological fossil serves as a factual documentation of certain life forms, an urban fossil provides clues of the existence and transformation of urban forms.The study of urban paleontology inevitably directs us to further exploration in the fields of biology, anatomy, archeology, geology, and the application of computer aided design in the excavation of urban sites. Upon finishing this book, we realize that our work is too inadequate to possibly incorporate all the influence that other disciplines may have on architecture and urban design. What it has suggested is that architecture presents such a wide array of connections with other disciplines and becomes more and more towards an interdisciplinary study. We hope this book has illustrated the diversity of problems that invite further study and can serve as a start point for architects to conceive the total spectrum.-Ming Tang ... Read more

5. Evolution: The Fossils Still Say No!
by Duane T. Gish
Paperback: 277 Pages (1995)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$4.50
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Asin: 0890511128
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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This captivating book written by the author of the bestsellers: "Dinosaurs: Those Terrible Lizards" and "Evolution: The Fossils Say No!" contains all the information in the latter plus it gives up-to-date information on the fossil record to challenge the evolution theory. --- from book's back cover ... Read more

Customer Reviews (65)

1-0 out of 5 stars Balderdash
If you really think the invisible man in the sky invented the world 6000 years ago or so, this will reinforce your dogmatic world view. If you want the science look elsewhere.

5-0 out of 5 stars Evolution is TRUE no matter WHAT you say!
I am not a biologist, but I have a degree and am a fairly well read guy. I found this book quite invigorating and accessible to non-scientists such as myself. One of the most striking things I have discovered about the vehement critiques of this book both at the Amazon website is the alarming degree of hatred and resentment that has been displayed by Gish's fellow scientists. Now, whether Gish is right or wrong is beside the point when one just considers how his attackers have chosen to respond to his book; using mere ad hominum tactics does not instill in me a sense of confidence in Gish's adversaries' actually knowing what they are talking about. After all, when one feels compelled to do nothing more than hurl insults at the author of a book instead of actually taking the time to engage the argument of the book, that tells me that the critic has an insecurity complex. And that is precisely what the majority of Gish's peers have done; they have basically said "How DARE he challenge Darwinian natural selection? " As the late Carl Sagan said so vociferously so many times, science is SUPPOSED to be an OPEN FORUM for discussion. No matter how smart a person is or what his or her credentials are, no one view is supposed to be categorically accepted or categorically rejected without due process. Categorically rejecting Gish's theory and trying to attack him personally tells me just how little so many of these "professional"scientists actually know about science.

Recently I read a critique about Michael Behe's book, who wrote about the Wistar Institute.

It addresses all of the reviewers who complained that Gish did not present his case to his scientific colleagues but instead wrote a book for the general public & thereby bypassed his colleagues. Well, I have a question for you: how many of you Darwinists have heard of the Wistar Institute? I would imagine very few. I have read about it elsewhere in other books & have always found it curious that so few people are aware of this discussion from the late 1960s. What Wistar was was a forum that put together many of the world's best biologists together with the world's best mathmaticians. It was designed to prove the mathmatcial validity of Darwinian natural selection. It was, however, a complete distaster. The odds proved so enormous that Darwinism seemed to be mathmatically impossible. Wistar was thereby shoved into the closet & hidden because it was an embarrasment to the Darwinists. Now, I ask the question: was Wistar bad science(like so many evolutionists have called Gish's book?). If so, WHY? One thing is for certain; nobody can accuse the scientists involved in Wistar to be Creationists - they were atheists to a last man, for heaven's sake. It was most definetly not a conspiracy in which the outcome was jury-rigged. Now, for all I know, some reason may preclude mathmatics from being a reliable tool to use in discussions of Darwinian natural selection. But if so, it must be PROVED thus. To date, all I have read of this critique of Darwinism have been strawman arguments that state that: well, just because it is highly improbable does not mean it can't happen by chance. After all, what are the odds of getting a winning hand in a poker game? Arguments like these (most famously instituted by pro-Darwinians such as Doolittle) grossly miss the point. The point is not that it is highly improbable but rather that the odds are so astronomical as to make the plausibility impossible. Now, to give an example: according to the laws of quantum mechanics, if all of the atoms on the moon had exactly the same spin at exactly the same second, the moon COULD leave it's orbit from the earth. This is a probabalistic fact. However, the point is, it WON'T. Even though it is mathmatically possible, it is realistically impossible because the moon has too many atoms to make this feat plausible. The same goes for the odds of Darwinian evolution happening just so in the mere 4 & a half billion years (or so) that the earth has been around. Now, I ask the question, yea hardcore Darwinists: why is it that the Wistar Institute does not warrant even so much as a footnote on any collegiate or high school biology text in the world? After all, if it had shown so much as a shred of evidence that Darwinism was mathmatically acceptable, I GUARANTEE you that it would be in EVERY student's biological textbook and would be as familiar to the layman's vocabulary as Einstein's theory of Relativity. Is this not a double-standard? If the scientists at Wistar were wrong (they could have been) then they must be PROVEN wrong. However, after 30 years, as MIT theoretical physicist Gerald Schoeder has attested, the odds have if anything gone UP. I find it rather fascinating that the same neo-Darwinists who find their paradigm so mathematically credible do not stay up at night with dark thoughts about the moon leaving the orbit of the Earth. So, where am I going with this, you ask? Well, this is my point: if the scientific community is and was unwilling to accept the findings of it's own old-boy-club happy-as-can-be atheists, how in the world do you expect them to pay attention to a molecular biologist who dares to mention the dirty G word? I think that Gish deserves some slack on this one. That is, unless you believe in the double-standards that Sagan so vehemently wanted to jettison from the realm of science....

2-0 out of 5 stars Dear Travis
Einstein's Relativity theories have had so many holes poked in them that they're starting to look like Swiss cheese and we have Quantum Physics to thank for it. Please refrain from putting them in the same context.

1-0 out of 5 stars Stupid and dishonest, typical for Gish
Gish recently retired, so let's take one last look at one of his most popular books, Evolution? The Fossils Say No! (ETFSN).

Throughout his creationist career, Gish was a prime example of the "lying for Jesus" strategy. ETFSN contains many examples of Gish's legendary dishonesty.

Let's start with Gish's ancient quotes and references.ETFSN, copyright 1995, has over 75 citations and/or quotations from 1970 or earlier!That's pathetic.

It also calls a 31-year old study on radiometric dating "recent."That's blatantly dishonest.

In debates in the '70s and `80s, Gish claimed that the geologic column is based on the assumption of evolution, but in 1982 Chris McGowan challenged him with a geology book written before Darwin had even been born, showing essentially the same geologic column used today.Faced with this evidence, Gish admitted his error and withdrew the argument.So, that seems reasonable.Gish made an innocent mistake, admitted the error, and withdrew the argument.End of story, right?Not quite.Despite having admitted that the argument was wrong, Gish continued using it in subsequent debates and included it again in ETFSN!That's contemptible.

Gish also makes numerous mistakes.For example, he insists that "fully functional" anatomical features, like feathers and wings, can't evolve step by step, and in fact would be completely useless in less than "fully functional" form.But recent fossil discoveries show ancient dinosaurs with very primitive feathers, little more than fuzzy hairs.Later there are dinosaurs with fluffy, not aerodynamic, feathers.Only much later do we finally find fully aerodynamic feathers on reptilian-looking birds.So fossils actually say YES to evolution!

Wings can exist in less than "fully functional" form, too.Richard Dawkins points out that some frogs use webbed feet for gliding, tree-snakes with flattened bodies can maneuver through the air, and some squirrels have flaps along their bodies for gliding.Not only are animals with half a wing common in nature, so are animals with a third of a wing, a fourth of a wing, or even less!

But even more critical than his many mistakes, Gish simply can't be trusted to tell the truth.Richard Trott reports a whole series of falsehoods by Gish during a 1994 talk at Rutgers.For example, Gish stated that there are no fossil precursors to the dinosaur Triceratops.In reality there are well known precursors, Monoclonius and Protoceratops, which appear in proper sequence in the fossil record and show the expected change in body size, number of horns, etc.Gish also indicated that all three ceratopsians were contemporaneous.In reality, Protoceratops came first, followed by Monoclonius, followed by Triceratops.Trott's article exposing Gish's falsehoods prompted a reply from Gish which contained still more dishonest statements!

Joyce Arthur reports another series of Gish falsehoods.In the 1979 version of ETFSN, Gish claimed that Dubois concealed his discovery of Wadjak Man for about 30 years.But in 1982 C. Loring Brace told Gish in a debate that Dubois had actually published, not one, but two reports about Wadjak Man shortly after its discovery.Nevertheless, Gish repeated the same falsehood in Evolution: The Challenge of the Fossil Record (1985) and again in a 1992 debate with Karl Fezer.Fezer even provided Gish with the references for Dubois's publications on Wadjak Man, but Gish repeated the same falsehood yet again in ETFSN. Arthur pointed out Gish's falsehood again in 1996, but Gish repeated it yet again in a 1997 debate.Such blatant, repetitive dishonesty is simply contemptible.

In a 1983 PBS broadcast, Gish dismissed the significance of the similarity of chimp and human proteins, claiming that some bullfrog proteins were more similar to human proteins than chimp proteins were.Asked to identify the specific proteins, Gish promised to do so, claiming that he had them in his records, but he never produced them, including in ETFSN.In fact, there were no such proteins.Gish simply made them up.

Gish has such a poor reputation, that even other creationists frequently just ignore him.For example, in 1985 Gish classified Java Man, Peking Man, and ER 1470 as clearly ape; but in 1992 Lubenow classified all three as clearly human!

Gish recently retired from the ICR, which worked hand in hand with Gish in spreading falsehoods.The ICR promotes and sells Gish's trashy books, including his comic book "Have You Been Brainwashed?" The ICR continued selling the original version for at least nine more years after Gish himself admitted that it contained numerous errors.The ICR is still selling a revised, 1994 version, but even the revised version still contains some of the same errors as the original!So who is brainwashing whom???

These examples (and many others) show how dishonest Gish is and help explain why creationists publish their ideas in oral debates and lectures, or in popular books like ETFSN, not in professional science journals.In debates, if Gish is caught in a falsehood in front of one audience, that doesn't prevent him from repeating the same falsehood in front of other audiences.And in books like ETFSN, Gish knows he can get away with lying, because most creationists aren't likely to check his statements.Such blatant dishonesty can't survive the peer-review process of professional science journals, however, which is why creationists like Gish never publish their creationist trash there.

1-0 out of 5 stars The book of lies~!
Shame on Gish. He once again throws together a manipulative pack of lies and distortions (and he knows it), with no factual evidence supporting his obsured ideas. I just can't see how this disgusting man still holds any bit of sway with anybody, but then again I've never undergone the misfortune of being brainwashed by a fundie church. Shame on you Gish, SHAME ON YOU~! ... Read more

6. In The Blink Of An Eye: How Vision Sparked The Big Bang Of Evolution
by Andrew Parker
Paperback: 336 Pages (2004-04-14)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$2.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0465054382
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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An accomplished young scientist solves one of the greatest mysteries of evolution: What caused the dramatic explosion of life half a billion years ago?

About 550 million years ago, there was literally an explosion of life forms, as all the major animal groups suddenly and dramatically appeared. Although several books have been written about this surprising event, known as the Cambrian explosion, none has explained why it occurred. Indeed, none was able to. Here, for the first time, Oxford zoologist Andrew Parker reveals his theory of this great flourishing of life. Parker's controversial but increasingly accepted"Light Switch Theory" holds that it was the development of vision in primitive animals that caused the explosion. Drawing on evidence not just from biology, but also from geology, physics, chemistry, history, and art, In the Blink of an Eye is the fascinating account of a young scientist's intellectual journey, and a celebration of the scientific method. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

2-0 out of 5 stars I still want to finish this... but its so hard to read!
The basic thesis, that vision was the cause of the "Cambrian Explosion" is interesting and I'd like to read about it. This wasn't the book I wanted, however. The author repeats his points and then poses rhetorical questions as if introducing the subject freshly, in almost every chapter.. A better editor was needed! Maybe a different narrative arc.

I've enjoyed Richard Fortey's "Trilobite!, eyewitness to evolution" and, "Life, the first 4 billion years", Gould's "Wonderful Life", Conway-Morris' "The Crucible Of Creation", and similar books like "When Life Almost Died", "Synapsida", "Taking Wing", "Life on Young Planet", "Your Inner Fish", as well as many other natural history and biology books. I like the subject, I enjoy reading about it. While I recognize this book is trying to tell me something and convince me that its true, I couldn't get started reading it from the beginning, or reading from a few chapter in, or reading at a random page.

Its unusual, because I really do go for this kind of subject, but this author and this information never 'gelled' for me.

Oh well!


3-0 out of 5 stars A reasonable theory presented in an annoying manner
The "Light Switch Theory" of the Cambrian Explosion can be summarized in Wikipedia or on the cover of the book.While I find it an interesting theory (thus, I gave the book 3 instead of 2 stars), I am not sure why it takes the author 299 pages to get to the point.Perhaps it is the seemingly endless digressions which illustrate how well-educated and how well-travelled the author is.Personally, I wish he would just stick to the science.

2-0 out of 5 stars Species and Specious
Author Parker posits that vision triggered the Cambrian explosion of variety in body styles, but his reasoning is specious.He assumes for instance that eyes developed spontaneously, all at once, allowing perfect vision on the first try ("That first eyed individual literally saw a whole new suite of niches open up.It observed areas of the sea floor in light and shade, which had previously been combined.But importantly it could easily identify the other animals sharing its environment.") Obviously, we know from the fossil record that the evolution of sight was a long and gradual process.

Second, although a professional zoologist (Oxford-trained no less!) Parker makes the common but unforgivable mistake of confusing evolutionary results with intention, or direction.Evolution does not "want" to create sight, and sight would not evolve merely because it is a good idea.There must be selective pressure to reinforce the mutational gains in sight's emergence, and these Parker cannot explain with his thesis.

Third, Parker has an unfortunate habit of tripping over his own ill-advised word choices.He describes the cuttlefish eye as a "red herring," convergence as a "stumbling block," and when recounting the historical record states "I should like to change the facts" when he means "I should like to clarify matters."It's jarring and one quickly learns not to trust what one is reading.

Sean Carroll presents a much richer, more logical and ontologically-supported explanation for the Cambrian explosion in his book Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo.Parker's vision, if it was a factor at all, would have been a minor footnote at best.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great work on evolutionary theory
When one thinks of prehistoric life, the first thoughts to come to mind are often dinosaurs, then maybe wooly mammoths and cavemen.But prehistoric life extended farther back, and one of the most intriguing periods is the Cambrian age when the diversity of animal life exponentially increased.This "Cambrian Explosion" is one of the most studied aspects of prehistoric life, and its origins is one of biology's greatest questions.This book answers the question by showing how the development of vision, that is the evolution of the eye, dramatically changed life on earth.The author comes to this answer as someone would piece together a puzzle, one piece at a time.Each piece is one chapter of this book.Some of the pieces include an explanation of how eyes and vision work, a study of color and its importance in ecosystems and the survival of individuals and species, a comparison of different ecosystems and how the amount of light in each one has affected evolution, and a review of life's evolution, covering both knowns and unknowns.Over the course of this book, the author very clearly and objectively shows that the development of eyes, sensory organs that could identify and locate objects, was the spark that accelerated the rate of species diversification and the onset of numerous external features such as skin color, teeth, spikes, horns, etc...All in all, a great work of science.

5-0 out of 5 stars Eyes Wide Open
Imagine what it must have been like to be the first creature that had eyes, that could see through the murky waters. The world is no longer just what you touch, or what chemicals drift your way. Now you can range widely to hunt for food, and your dinner can't even see you coming!

From an evolutionary perspective, this must have been the nuclear scenario for many species, and the true start of the evolutionary arms race. This is Andrew Parker's thesis, presented for a general audience. At times, you might feel like he's belaboring his points, but long before the end of the book you'll wonder why something this obvious never occurred to you. On the way you run into some uniquecharacters, some mysterious creatures, and get some fossil-digging history too.

Very interesting and easy to read. ... Read more

7. Future Evolution
by Peter Ward
Hardcover: 192 Pages (2001-11)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$37.25
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Asin: 0716734966
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Everyone wonders what tomorrow holds, but what will the real future look like? Not decades or even hundreds of years from now, but thousands or millions of years into the future.Will our species change radically?Or will we become builders of the next dominant intelligence on Earth- the machine?

These and other seemingly fantastic scenarios are the very possible realities explored in Peter Ward's Future Evolution, a penetrating look at what might come next in the history of the planet.Looking to the past forclues about the future, Ward describes how the main catalyst for evolutionary change has historically been mass extinction.While many scientist direly predict that humanity will eventually create such a situation, Ward argues that one is already well underway--the extinction of large mammals--and that a new Age of Humanity is coming that will radically revise the diversity of life on Earth.Finally, Ward examines the question of human extinction and reaches the startling conclusion that the likeliest scenario is not our imminent demise but long term survival--perhaps reaching as far as the death of the Sun!

Full of Alexis Rockman's breathtaking color images of what animals, plants and other organisms might look like thousands and millions of years from now, Future Evolution takes readers on an incredible journey through time from the deep past into the far future.
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Customer Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars On the extinction of species
Those familiar with "The Future is Wild" series based on the Dougal Dixon book of the same name will find a starkly different version of future evolution here.

Whereas Dixon's Future is Wild posits a future voluntarily abdictated by man leaving other creatures to fill the evolutionary void, Ward's future is one of desolation where man cotinues to reign, albeit with a diminishing small number of species left to join him.

The reason for such global catastrophie?Man's own abuse of his environment says Ward who notes that some eighty percent of megammamals worldwide have been brought to extinction in the past 20000 years owing to man's plunder.

Aside from domesticated animals Ward sees rats, snakes and weeds as the likely beneficiaries of a world dominated by man.Interestingly Ward and his artist collaborator Alexis Rockman draw out family trees of these creatures showing the various ways in which they may come to differentiate to occupy their various ecological niches.

Throuh it all he sees a mankind, safe from extinction owing to his sheer numbers and mastery of the environment around him.On the one hand the picture is optimistic in that it posits long years of survival by mankkind.On the other hand, the picture is bleak, basically of a species forced to live the consequences of its misdeeds and lay in its own bed for a very long time.

While obviously the future itself will alone ultimately reveal its secrets Ward's book is terrifying glimpse of would could be.

3-0 out of 5 stars Powered by Pessimism and Lack of Imagination
This book is not The Future is Wild, although it certainly looks as if it was marketed to be a similar account of the future's inhabitants. Instead, it's more like an editorial where Ward waxes long-winded about how humanity could never go extinct and how the biosphere of the future will be extremely impoverished until the end. That thesis is dubious at best, but the book manages to be informative and interesting anyway. Three stars worth of interestingness, anyway.

4-0 out of 5 stars Bleak yet convincing
This book is very depressing. It paints a picture nobody wants to view. Some of the prose in this book is poorly written, and there are some minor factual errors. It also makes a convincing case that an extinction level event is taking place around us. I don't feel that all of the reviews of this book are being fair.

The supporting artwork for the book is stunning. Alexis Rockman uses delicate lines and bright colors to bring the prose to life. Oddly, the majority of the artwork is not illustrations of future species. Instead the pictures diagram and explore life history and human influence.

Many parts of the book had me second-guessing the author's conclusions, or looking up things on the web. That's the sign of a great popular science book. This is not written for biologists, but it's significantly more scientifically grounded than most books on future evolution.

5-0 out of 5 stars interesting, readable, and quite convincing
I really liked this book.It's very easy to read for a non-scientist like myself.Ward is not nice or gentle in his look at the future.His reasoning for the predictions he makes are convincing to me, although unpleasant.This is not mere sci-fi like The Future Is Wild tv series.Rockman's artwork is a great addition to the work, as well.I learned a lot about past life on earth and mass extinctions and about the curent ecological situation reading this book.I highly recommend it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Future De-evolution
I am not fully sure where to begin. I have never really felt compelled to write a review but this book did indeed compel me to, and not to discuss how much I liked it. This one book has made me decide that I will not leave any good reviews for good books because people will take care of that. However, I do not think enough people leave reviews telling just how horrible some books are.

After getting through the second paragraph of the preface I knew I was probably not going to like this book. The only reason I read it all the way through was that I have a personal feeling that any book started should be finished. This book challenged that feeling with every page I progressed into it.

Since it was the preface that first gave me doubts then it is with the preface that I will begin. This book begins with _Professor_ Ward (and I address him as such because he seems to place so much value on being addressed in the proper manner) telling a story that sets the stage for the rest of the book. It also, though I do not think it was intentional, serves to show that Ward fully believes that his vision of the future of evolution is the one true version and that all others, who have put forth more "radical" futures to evolution (i.e. Dixon), are doing nothing more than playing at fantasy and are fools for behaving thus.

As I continued to read I began to wonder just how it was the Ward was able to hold a professorship given the absolute lack of education he seemed to have. There are numerous portions of this book that give me the impression that Ward has not read any serious scientific literature in at least 20 years. As a simple example, page 29, "...The dominant form of the Mesozoic, exemplified by... iguanodons and duck-billed dinosaurs, was bipedal." If you were to open any modern day dinosaur book you would find that iguanodons and the duck-billed dinosaurs are portrayed as quadrupeds. This has been the standing belief for at least 15 years. I first read about it in Robert Bakker's book (1986) and it was considered fairly common knowledge even then.

Ward's ignorance of modern science continued throughout the book. Page 104, "...scientists and doctors waged a campaign of eradication against bacterial illness, using the then newly developed antibiotic drugs. The result was a mass extinction of bacteria... Smallpox, rabies, typhoid, rubella, cholera: the ancient scourges of humankind were wiped out." For the record, only cholera is a bacterium, the rest are all viruses and as such they are treated against using vaccines and not by administering antibiotics. It is also worth noting that none of these was ever "wiped out" though smallpox might have been considered such at one point. Another display of ignorance, page 164, "...what if a 100% fatal disease such as HIV..." HIV is not 100% fatal; no recorded disease is 100% fatal, at least a single organism in the population will have an immunity that is the whole point of evolution. In fact HIV in and of itself is not fatal at all, it is the secondary infections that can establish once HIV infects a person that are the cause of death in AIDS patients.

I could go on in this manner but the amount of space it would take up and the amount of time it would take me are unacceptable. However I must cite one more "mistake" to move on. If all of Ward's "mistakes" were related to fields that he was not familiar with (though as a scientist I would assume he would have at least passing familiarity with many sciences) then it might be understand able. However, his "mistakes" extend even into basic understandings of math. Page 134, "There are over 4700 species of mammals... the smallest... have an adult weight of 2.5 grams, whereas the largest... weighs about 1.6 x 10^8 grams - a difference of twenty orders of magnitude." Anyone with even a high school level education in math knows that one order of magnitude is equal to one power of ten. So the difference between the weights is only eight orders of magnitude. There is no reasonable way the numbers can be fudged to "accidentally" come up with an additional 12 orders of magnitude. There are only 2 possibilities I can see for Ward adding in those 12 orders of magnitude. The first is that Ward really is completely ignorant of basic math (which I doubt, though it could explain the similar math error I have heard about in _Rare Earth_). The second is that Ward knows full well that his statement is wrong but he actually believes he is significantly more intelligent than his readers and that, as such, they will be too stupid to catch him if he puts something in writing that is just blatantly false. While I can not prove it I am convinced that the second of these statements is the truth.

After I came to this conclusion I began to notice other things that support it. Throughout the book, Ward refers to the works of other people, however, if one were to check the bibliography they would find that only about 40% of those people are actually cited. This is actually a rather old trick that many (unethical in my opinion) scientists resort to when they do not want the reader to learn that the un-cited material has arguments that destroy those of the author. I also found that the vast majority of the material in the book had no follow through. Ward would talk about how new selective pressures would effect human parasites but then not actually discuss either the selective pressures or the effects. Ward proposed that snakes would become one of the best fit species for continued evolution in a human dominated world while totally ignoring his own earlier argument that any animal that man found to be a threat would not be allowed to evolve up. And considering how many people would just as soon kill a snake as look at it I would have to group them into the group that could not evolve because of the (perceived) threat that pose. Again I could go on and on with examples like this.

In all this book is nothing more that Ward going on and on about how great his ideas are and how stupid every one else is. I found this particularly annoying, especially given how critical he is of those who delve into "fantasy" by imagining a world without humans while he himself spouts off so many fantasies of his own in the book. This book is an insult to any educated person or any person that wants an educated view on evolution. There is no real basis for his conclusions and his logic could be picked apart by anyone who has ever taken a basic logic course. If you are totally devoted to Ward or just like being talked down to then go ahead and pick up this book. Otherwise steer clear.

One final thing before closing. I abhor plagiarism. The painting on page 31 of this book is a blatant plagiarism of the Troodon on page 399 of Gregory S. Paul's book _Predatory Dinosaurs_(1989). That Rockman tries to hide this and deny Paul credit by calling it a Velociraptor is reprehensible.
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8. The Evolution Cruncher
by Vance Ferrell
Paperback: 928 Pages (2001)

Asin: B0006S99JE
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (12)

1-0 out of 5 stars Same Tired Old Arguments
I've read this book online. It presents the same tired old arguments that have been debunked decades ago. This includes the moon dust argument, which doesn't even have anything to do with evolution. Most of the time this book tries to disprove evolution instead of proving their young earth claims. Only the scientifically illiterate would be convinced by this book's arguments. I recommend this book for those who are majoring in any scientific field, only because it's a good laugh.

I used to be a creationist, but now I see no problem integrating scientific facts with my faith. This book obviously does absolutely nothing in bringing me back to a belief in biblical literalism.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disrespectful, Misleading with FALSE FACTS
This book is very disrespectful to the scholars and scientist who worked hard to prove facts about evolution through research and mathematics. There is hard working people that spend there whole life experimenting, researching, and using mathematical equations to prove their facts about evolution. While this author just disrespects them by giving you misleading facts that falsely disprove their actual facts about evolution they worked so hard on.

This book has no scholarly sources backing up any of the facts. You learn you have to back up facts by a scholarly source in 9th grade! So why is there not one cited statement in a book that is trying to disapprove actually facts proved by scholars and scientist? Because the author has no facts backing his theories.

I don't care if you agree with evolution or not! You don't make up lies, and say that the people that have proved factual research are wrong, when you have no research to back up your claims. It's actually idiotic, and not very Christian like to produce a book of lies.

So please don't disrespect the people that spent there life doing the scholarly research to prove facts by buying this book to support someone who isn't a Doctor or scholar who claims that the actual Doctors and scholars facts are wrong.

1-0 out of 5 stars Same old creationist hogwash...
I really wish creationists would at least have the intellectual vigor to come up with something new. Even if you exclude the usual misquotes and other dishonest arguments, Ferrell's book contains absolutely nothing that hasn't long ago been refuted by mainstream science. Frankly, I found the book to be a sad, pathetic diatribe that seems to have ignored the advances of 20th century science, let alone the discoveries of the 21st century. Even worse, books like this only make Christians look foolish in the eyes of rational people and are a big part of why a majority of young people today reject Christianity as a backwards, crackpot religion run by people who refuse to accept modern science. Ferrell's book isn't just bad, it only hurts the cause of the very people it is aimed at.

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW! Great reference book - LOTS of information !!
In any book on this subject, you will find ideas you agree with, and ideas you don't. There were a few of the summaries that I felt were fairly accurate, but perhaps a bit oversimplified - however, the author almost always went on to explain his thought process, etc.I also found it helpful to remember that this book (containing a small mountain on information) summarizes and refers to information and quotations from various scientists and authors which are given other places, (i.e. the website, or the three-part series).

I would strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in this subject. I identified very strongly with the author, and it sounds like his story is similar to mine.I had to search through oceans of data and mountains of books to find similar information when I had my own questions on the subject years ago.

While it is perhaps not the most professionally produced book I have ever read, I have done considerable research in this area, and I found no blatant binaccuracies. I also felt that the typeset was readable, and had no problem with the bolding, etc. as the author explains this in a "key" in the book's Preface.There is certainly no question as to the author's viewpoint. In many ways, I could identify with the "passion" of his arguments, as I have been through the same struggle myself.

Besides, where else can you get so much good, solid information for so cheap ??

1-0 out of 5 stars Stopped reading after the "introduction"
"Stellar evolution is based on the concept that nothing can explode and produce all the stars and worlds. Life evolution is founded on the twin theories of spontaneous generation and Lamarckism (the inheritance of acquired characteristics);--yet, although they remain the basis of biological evolution, both were debunked by scientists over a century ago."

When so you see so many lies crammed into such a short paragraph you realize there's not much point in reading further. I did skim a
little further and was treated to wonderfully imaginitive tall tales like this:

"It is not commonly known that *Charles Darwin, while a naturalist aboard the Beagle, was initiated into witchcraft in South America by nationals. During horseback travels into the interior, he took part in their ceremonies and, as a result, something happened to him. Upon his return to England, although his health was strangely weakened, he spent the rest of his life working on theories to destroy faith in the Creator."

If you are morbidly curious and have a strong stomach, you don't have to spend a cent to read this sub-Hovind nadir in the history of crationist "literature", the whole thing is available online at the ironically titled evolution-facts.org site. ... Read more

9. The theories of evolution and the facts of paleontology
by Harry Rimmer
Unknown Binding: 32 Pages (1935)

Asin: B00088HPDO
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10. Genetics, Paleontology and Evolution
by Adolph Knopf, Curt Stern, Warren P. Spencer, D.M.S. Watson, D. Dwight Davis, Theodor Just, Alfred Sherwood Romer
 Paperback: 474 Pages (1963-01-31)
list price: US$1.95
Isbn: 0689701101
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11. Fossils, Paleontology, and Evolution
by David Leigh, Clark
 Paperback: Pages (1976-01)
list price: US$3.95
Isbn: 0697050009
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12. Louis Dollo's Papers on Paleontology and Evolution: Original Anthology (History of Paleontology)
by Louis Dollo
 Hardcover: 512 Pages (1980-05)
list price: US$69.95 -- used & new: US$69.95
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Asin: 0405127529
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13. The Paleontology of Gran Barranca: Evolution and Environmental Change through the Middle Cenozoic of Patagonia
Hardcover: 458 Pages (2010-07-26)
list price: US$150.00 -- used & new: US$112.43
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Asin: 0521872413
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Gran Barranca in Patagonia exposes the most complete sequence of middle Cenozoic paleofaunas in South America. It is the only continuous continental fossil record of the Southern Hemisphere between 42 and 18 million years ago, when climates at high latitudes transitioned from warm humid to cold dry conditions. This volume presents the geochronology of the fossil mammal sequence and a compilation of the latest studies of the stratigraphy, sedimentology, mammals, plants, invertebrates and trace fossils. It is also the first detailed treatment of the vertebrate faunal sequence at Gran Barranca, providing important new evidence about biotic diversity and evolution in the native species. A revised taxonomy allows a reevaluation of the origination and extinction of herbivorous mammals, marsupials, and xenarthrans, and the earliest occurrence of rodents and primates in southern latitudes. Academic researchers and advanced students in vertebrate paleontology, geochronology, sedimentology and paleoprimatology will value this wealth of new information. ... Read more

14. Beasts of Eden: Walking Whales, Dawn Horses, and Other Enigmas of Mammal Evolution
by David Rains Wallace
Paperback: 368 Pages (2005-09-13)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$10.97
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Asin: 0520246845
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Mammals first evolved at about the same time as dinosaurs, and their story is perhaps the more fascinating of the two--in part because it is also our own story. In this literate and entertaining book, eminent naturalist David Rains Wallace brings the saga of ancient mammals to a general audience for the first time. Using artist Rudolph Zallinger's majestic The Age of Mammals mural at the Peabody Museum as a frame for his narrative, Wallace deftly moves over varied terrain--drawing from history, science, evolutionary theory, and art history--to present a lively account of fossil discoveries and an overview of what those discoveries have revealed about early mammals and their evolution.
In these pages we encounter towering mammoths, tiny horses, giant-clawed ground sloths, whales with legs, uintatheres, zhelestids, and other exotic extinct creatures as well as the scientists who discovered and wondered about their remains. We meet such memorable figures as Georges Cuvier, Richard Owen, Edward D. Cope, George Gaylord Simpson, and Stephen Jay Gould and learn of their heated disputes, from Cuvier's and Owen's fights with early evolutionists to present controversies over the Late Cretaceous mass extinction. Wallace's own lifelong interest in evolution is reflected in the book's evocative and engaging style and in the personal experiences he expertly weaves into the tale, providing an altogether expansive perspective on what Darwin described as the "grandeur" of evolution. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars The story of mammals
Mammals appeared in the Triassic, having evolved from mammal-like reptiles with a reptilian skull but differentiated teeth. Most Mesozoic mammals were small and unspecialized, like the squirrels and rats of today's cities, though by the Cretaceous modern orders started appearing: we have a skull showing typical lagomorph circulation and another with typical ungulate teeth. After the dinosaurs died off, there was of course an explosion of mammalian ecological diversity, producing whales, horses, and different now-extinct Tertiary mammals, including carnivorous ungulates with meter-long skulls and enormous browsers that looked like a cross between the rhino and the giraffe. All of this was discovered from the fossils in the 19th and the 20th century, and confirmed by genetic analysis in the 21st century; the discoveries were the raw material for the evolutionary theories of George Gaylord Simpson (who wrote a novella, published posthumously, about a scientist thrown into the Cretaceous by a time machine accident) and his student Stephen Jay Gould.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good but not great
I think the biggest disappointment I had with this book was the lack of pictures.Sure, partly my fault because I didn't notice that there were only 18 black and white illustrations, but when a book uses two very famous murals as a starting point and then doesn't have 1 color picture of the murals, I am disappointed.The pictures from the Age of Mammals were muddy at best.

The writing was average.Wallace is no stylist but he is a solid writer conveying technical information.

I picked up this book after I read an article on Buffon in Natural History so I was surprised at how Wallace treated him.Now I need to know more about Buffon to see which representation is more accurate.

The book is a couple of years old but the only thing I noticed was the comment that mammals were small and rat-like during the Age of Reptiles.Within the past 2 years there have been several large mammal species discovered which co-existed with the dinosaurs.Although not megafauna, they were over three feet in length and preyed on dinosaurs.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rollin' dem mammal bones
For every book about mammal fossils, it seems there are 10 or 20 about dinosaurs; and popular books about sharks outnumber books about flounders by about 100 to one.
"A thundering brute gets our attention," says naturalist David Wallace, but "fights over mammal fossils have probably played a greater part in the growth of evolutionary ideas than any other paleontological phenomenon."
Fights about mammalian evolution cut to the quick in ways that uncertainties about the evolution of, say, oysters do not.
And the duelists in the mammal wars were a colorful, feisty bunch. Natural history was red in tooth, claw and inkwell when the likes of Othniel Marsh and Edward Cope competed for fossils.
The stories about Marsh and Cope, about Alfred Wegener andcontinental drift, about punctuated equilibrium and the old guard have all been told before, though seldom with as much style.
The appeal of Wallace's "Beasts of Eden" is that it brings the controversies almost down to the minute. Mammalian evolution is "still a mystery story," but many of the "gaping holes" have been plugged in the last decade as bone hunters invaded virgin territory.
When Charles Darwin published "Origin of Species" in 1859, the paleontological record was almost all gaps, though the theory of "descent with modification" was supported by a wide array of other evidence, such as the distribution of living plants and animals.
But there were few bones. It is a testimony to the analytical power of comparative anatomy that the 19th century bone men made so few mistakes. There were, still are difficult cases; but even after a flood of new fossils was dug up, most of the affinities that were first inferred are still compatible with all the latest evidence.
Wallace takes the whole world for his study, but his launching point is a fresco, "The Age of Mammals," painted at the Yale Peabody Museum in the 1960s by Rudolph Zallinger.
Zallinger's bigger and earlier "Age of Reptiles" in the same museum is better known, but most of us have seen reproductions of Zallinger's mammal painting, even if we don't know his name.
Both frescoes re-create the American West, whence the best and most Peabody fossils came.
Zallinger's scientific advisers were among the top paleontologists of the time, but the painter apparently placed his specimens in landscapes to tell a story, not just present unconnected portraits. At least, Wallace is able to analyze the iconography of Zallinger the way a Berenson would a tercento Italian fresco.
But Zallinger left no written statement, and some of Wallace's deductions seem fanciful.
However that may be, "Beasts of Eden" is, with one exception, a reliable guide to the shifting interpretations of the fossil record, a continuation of a story that many of us heard first long ago when the evidence was less detailed. The book also presents a charming personal account of Wallace's encounters with living animals over the decades.
The exception comes in the chapter that should have been the most valuable in the book.
Anti-evolutionists never mention plants, because plant evolution neither threatens nor interests them. Real naturalists do take account of plants, although popular books about fossil plants are rare.
While "Beasts of Eden" is mostly about mammals, Wallace does include a chapter on the plant evidence.
This contains a shocking misconception for a book published by the press of one of our great universities when Wallace tries to explain the significance of the evolution of grasses in a cooling, drying world for the evolution of mammals.
Grasses use carbon by what is called the C4 pathway, as opposed to earlier-evolved plants which use the far less efficient C3 pathway.
But these monikers are not, as Wallace supposes, isotope numbers -- those atomic numbers would fit hydrogen or helium -- but simply arbitrary labels; and the way the pathways are used in paleontology has nothing to do with the differences in the isotopes of carbon, such as the famous carbon-14.
The superefficiency in carbon oxidation of the C4 path accounts for the superiority of slender grasses over mighty oaks, in many environments; and the way grasses store starch has a big part in how the mammals reading this review get by. So C4 is really important.
That warning aside, "Beasts" is a fine survey.

2-0 out of 5 stars More about recent human mammals!
Do not buy this if you want an overview of mammalian evolution.Most of the text is devoted to the humans that found the first mammalian fossils and how they inspired the AGE OF MAMMALS mural at the Peabody Museum.A great deal of the text is quotes of early paleontologists (Owen, Cope, Marsh, et al.), and when the actual mammals are mentioned, the reader is referred to the mural.Unfortunately, if you haven't committed the mural to memory, or you haven't studied mammalian evolution, you may have a tough time following the text, as there are few illustrations.If you are interested in the history of the discovery of these early mammal fossils, you may enjoy this book more than I.If, however, you are more interested in the evolution and systematics of those mammals, you may want to reconsider.In fact, I would recommend searching for a more thorough text(s) regarding these paleoworkers.There are other books that examine the Cope and Marsh battle from a broader platform, and there are numerous biographies of Owen, Huxley, Darwin, Cuvier and other covered in this book.This is not a book worthy of a paleontologist's library, but your local library should have a copy.

3-0 out of 5 stars You'd better be in the field...
On plus side, I learned a lot from reading this book.At times, it's extremely interesting and delightful to read.At times it grinds like a college text book.If you don't have a great background on the subject matter---paleontology---you're going to have a struggle with terms and names.I called it "that damn book" because I wanted to finish it, which I did, but I can't say it was fun.It deserves 3 or better stars because it's well-researched and written---just too technical for the layperson and not that enjoyable to slog through.In other words, when called to dinner, you'll be able to put it down but you won't want to give up entirely.

Chris ... Read more

15. Dental Perspectives on Human Evolution: State of the Art Research in Dental Paleoanthropology (Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology)
Paperback: 409 Pages (2010-11-02)
list price: US$129.00 -- used & new: US$129.00
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Asin: 9048174554
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The objective of the volume is to bring together, in one collection, the most innovative dental anthropological research as it pertains to the study of hominid evolution. In the past few decades both the numbers of hominid dental fossils and the sophistication of the techniques used to analyze them have increased substantially. The book’s contributions focus on dental morphometrics, growth and development, diet and dental evolution.

... Read more

16. The Rise of Fishes: 500 Million Years of Evolution
by John A. Long
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2010-12-23)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$43.87
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Asin: 0801896959
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Fishes that walk, fishes that breathe air, fishes that look like -- and are -- monsters from the deep. These and many more strange creatures swim through The Rise of Fishes, John A. Long's richly illustrated tour of the past 500 million years. Long has updated his classic work with illustrations of recent fossil discoveries and new interpretations based on genetic analyses. He reveals how fishes evolved from ancient, jawless animals, explains why fishes have survived on the Earth for so long, and describes how they have become the dominant aquatic life-form. Indeed, to take things a step further, we learn much about ourselves through this book, for all amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals are descendants of ancient fishes.

Clear, accessible, and engaging, The Rise of Fishes combines scientific expertise with entertaining stories about Long's own excursions, which span the oceans and continents. The book includes photographs of fossils from around the world as well as dramatic color illustrations depicting what those fishes may have actually looked like.

... Read more

17. The Paleobiological Revolution: Essays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology
Hardcover: 584 Pages (2009-06-15)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$43.87
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Asin: 0226748618
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Paleontology has long had a troubled relationship with evolutionary biology. Suffering from a reputation as a second-tier science and conjuring images of fossil collectors and amateurs who dig up bones, paleontology was marginalized even by Darwin himself, who worried that incompleteness in the fossil record would be used against his theory of evolution. But with the establishment of the modern synthesis in the 1940s and the pioneering work of George Gaylord Simpson, Ernst Mayr, and Theodosius Dobzhansky, as well as the subsequent efforts of Stephen Jay Gould, David Raup, and James Valentine, paleontology became embedded in biology and emerged as paleobiology, a first-rate discipline central to evolutionary studies.

This incredible ascendance of this once-maligned science to the vanguard of a field is chronicled in The Paleobiological Revolution. Pairing contributions from some of the leading actors of the transformation with overviews from historians and philosophers of science, the essays here capture the excitement of the seismic changes in the discipline. In so doing, David Sepkoski and Michael Ruse harness the energy of the past to call for further study of the conceptual development of modern paleobiology.

(20090821) ... Read more

18. The Rise of Animals: Evolution and Diversification of the Kingdom Animalia
by Mikhail A. Fedonkin, James G. Gehling, Kathleen Grey, Guy M. Narbonne, Patricia Vickers-Rich
Hardcover: 344 Pages (2008-01-09)
list price: US$77.00 -- used & new: US$40.95
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Asin: 0801886791
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Among the major events in evolutionary history, few rival in importance the appearance of animals. The Rise of Animals -- a significant reference providing a comprehensive synthesis of the early radiation of the animal kingdom -- fully captures this moment in geologic time.

Five of the world's leading paleontologists take us on a journey to the most important fossil sites that serve as unique windows to the earliest animal life -- including the Ediacara Hills of Australia, the Russian taiga and tundra, the deserts of southwest Africa, and the rugged coasts of Newfoundland. Each of these places holds a rich fossil record that reveals how the animal form came into existence and why some groups succeeded while others failed. The authors describe the diversification of the Kingdom Animalia into the familiar body plans of today: from simple animals such as sponges to complex groups like mollusks, arthropods, echinoderms, and chordates that appear explosively in the Cambrian.

This exquisitely illustrated book reveals the early moments of an evolutionary process that eventually resulted in our own species. An essential resource for paleontologists, biologists, geologists, and teachers, The Rise of Animals is the best single reference on one of earth's most significant events.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wrong Title
I have to agree with Dennis R. Maccaskie, the title is misleading. The correct title would be something like "Every Single Ediacaran Animal Ever Found with Lots of Pictures".
I'm neither a geologist nor a paleontologist. I need a lot more help in discovering the patterns and the relationships. The five authors all seem to have wanted to describe their area of expertise, the places they have dug for fossils and what they found there. The book is therefore organized by geographical area which is most unhelpful. There are a few attempts to create some cohesion. Near the end three classifications (Phylum, class, family, etc.) are presented, unfortunately as lists instead of a graphical tree form. This would have been a great opportunity to discuss the pros and cons for each tree, marshal the arguments presented in the previous hundreds of pages and provide an overview for the bewildered reader.
There are very few books accessible to a lay reader about the Ediacaran. This was supposed to be one.

Getting five experts to write a book together can't have been easy. In the end the result is a little disappointing.
Apparently they want to create an updated version in a few years time. I suggest that they collaborate with an expert in the field of popular science writing. Michael Benton, Nicholas Lane and Peter Ward are some of the names that come to my mind.

PS The illustrations really are excellent.

3-0 out of 5 stars misleading title, Strangely Organized
The title is Extremely Misleading. A much better title would be "Ediacaran Fossils and Their Localities". There's basically no discussion at all of the rise or evolution of animals, instead the book focuses on the major Ediacaran fossil localities. In fact, there's almost no discussion on what the individual Ediacaran critters are. What is the relation of Dickinsonia sp to any modern organism? (Yes, I KNOW there's no agreement, but what are the data and arguments?) Why should I have to read 3/4 of the book to discover that Dickinsonia sp is believed to have flopped onto microbial mats for lunch, over and over?

The organization of the book is Strange: it is organized by the localities in which the fossils were discovered. I really can't think of anyone who would prefer this organization over any other; it would make much more sense to me to organize the book by the history of discovery and interpretation, or to organize it by the various genera of fossils, or in fact, just about any way but the way it's been done.

The saving graces of the book are two. First, it is well illustrated. Second, there are several good anecdotes of the various geologists who performed the important field work.

In contrast to the rest of the book the first two chapters are in desperate, desperate need of an editor. They're full of typographic problems, unclear sentences, and other issues.

4-0 out of 5 stars good for the beginner
this book is amazing,full of pictures and details about Ediacaran life.
Maybe the first section could be kind of more upated,but after all the origin of life wasn't the main purpose.A must for who attempts to begin the knowledge of the Ediacaran metazoans.

5-0 out of 5 stars From one, many (cells that is)
I quite agree with the enthusiasm of the two reviwers. Yes, this is truly a fantastic book, very well illustrated, very balanced in presenting conflicting views etc. I also agree that the introduction by Arthur C. Clark could have been eliminated and replaced by a really good glossary. I would add that the book has an excellent Atlas of Precambrian Metazoans (Ediacaran animals)that I believe is the only one around. This gives a description of the organism and an illustration along with locality or localities where found, specific rock units, detailed description of fossil, type specimen location and tentative classification. I have read other reports of Ediacarans but this is the first that brings together what is know and published by many authors and all the various names and synonyms found in the literature. Not only is animal life covered but important algal species such as the acritarchs used in time dating sediment layers discussed. Again a first for this excellent book. This is a volume that will be read and reread many times.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent content, evocative locations, honourable people!
"The Rise of Animals" is a wonderful book.Much of the history of life on Earth was dominated by single-cell organisms and, until relatively recently, little was known of the origins of multi-cellular life before the "Cambrian Explosion" of life.This book describes those origins in what is now called the ediacaran fauna.More particularly, the most important fossil sites are very well described by leading palaeontologists

The authors show great respect for scientific rigor and academic balance - and dedication to their subject.They are also sufficiently humble to admit that much of what we know about the remote past is based on fragmentary evidence subject to different interpretations, and that new discoveries will almost certainly lead to revisions of matters currently considered to be settled.

You won't find self-serving selection of facts and argument to serve partisan stances.Nor will you find chest-beating self-promotion.

These are not light matters in an age where science is often trivialised and even distorted to serve partisan interests.One has only to follow the "intelligent design" controversy to see how pernicious such misrepresentation can be.

Where there are competing explanations for certain events, the central arguments on both sides are fairly given.Where uncertainty exists it is acknowledged.Significant information is fully attributed and referenced.

Such an approach fully informs the reader and provides valuable starting points for students to investigate particular matters more deeply.

The reader is also impressed by the dedication of early ediacaran investigators, who worked under difficult field conditions and then may have had to contend with professional opposition to their novel claims when back in the office!The progress of science owes much to such people, who, having the strength of their convictions, live to see their ideas embraced by their peers.

But this book is also about people other than palaeontologists.Often important sites lie on private property, or in remote areas, that require the cooperation of local people to enable palaeontologists to carry out field work.There is a moving story of one such couple, Tatiana and Timofei, who endured great hardships in the Soviet era, but who also provided accommodation and help to scientists in the field.Such people often go unrecognised in the scientific literature and it is greatly to the credit of the writers of this book that their contributions are recorded in text and photos.

There are also vivid descriptions of the difficulties (and pleasures) of doing fieldwork in remote locations such as the Arctic coast of Siberia.

The book is crammed with wonderful photos, illustrations and diagrams.The latter in particular are models of clarity.They manage to make very clear the essential features of complex systems.Colour-coded text boxes are frequently used for definitions and to describe important topics (eg radiometric dating) without disturbing the flow of the narrative.

Many of the fossil photos are breathtakingly beautiful.They are a tribute to the fossil discoverers, to those who revealed them from the host rock, and to those who prepared the illustrations for this book.

This book requires a reasonable level of scientific literacy to enjoy fully.The authors do not shy away from correct scientific terminology, but they make an effort to define many terms and to explain important topics in the text boxes.

Readers familiar with chemistry, biology and the earth sciences at senior high school or undergraduate level will have few problems.

Anyone studying palaeontology or related earth sciences would be motivated by the book, and would yearn to visit the wonderful locations of important fossils.

Science teachers looking to expand their horizons will also get much from the book, including insights into how science should be objectively studied and reported.Perhaps this is the most important duty of science teachers:to impart the moral and philosophical aspects of science, not only facts and techniques.

There is a text box on page 221 that describes the problems of sample contamination and the proper use of controls.Such experimental techniques should be taught to all students early in their careers, because the acquisition of trustworthy data is the bedrock upon which all science is built.

The book is not really suitable for general readers with no scientific knowledge at all - although such readers will certainly enjoy the illustrations and may be prompted to learn more about the origins of animals.The book is not amenable to skimming, as one reads a novel. Most non-specialist readers will have to engage with the text to take in the information.

There is no Glossary, which is a pity.Specialist terms unfamiliar to the general reader like "rangeomorphs" and "taphonomy" are used a number of times before they are defined in passing in the text.It would also have been helpful to include a classification diagram showing the major divisions of life (eg domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species) and some of the key taxa mentioned in the text.Only specialists will know where, for example, "chordate" or "arthropods" fit on the tree of life when these terms arise in the text.

Another small criticism is the rather jarring and self-serving Foreword written by Arthur C Clarke, whose promotion of his own science fiction books seems quite out of place after one has read the book.

There is an extensive bibliography, as you would expect in a book of this quality.There is also an "atlas" describing all the key fossils.Internet references are also given in some places.

The bottom line:I really enjoyed this book. It is well worth the money for general readers like myself, not only for its scientific content and descriptions of evocative places, but also for its insight into the professional activity of honourable people engaged in scientific work that they love and respect - in a field that unfortunately does not always generate the public acclaim or recognition enjoyed by high-profile fields such as space research and medicine.

Books like this deserve a wider readership so that proper recognition may accrue to scientists who are unravelling the mysteries of life on our planet - surely one of the noblest scientific endeavours of all.
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19. Basic Questions in Paleontology: Geologic Time, Organic Evolution, and Biological Systematics
by Otto H. Schindewolf
Paperback: 494 Pages (1994-01-15)
list price: US$46.00 -- used & new: US$8.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226738353
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Now available in English for the first time, Basic Questions in Paleontology is a landmark work in twentieth-century evolution and paleontology. Originally published in German in 1950, Schindewolf's book was highly controversial for its thoroughgoing anti-Darwinism, but today his ideas are remarkably relevant to current research in evolutionary biology.

"[This book] would rank number one on my list of items awaiting translation from the history of twentieth-century evolutionary theory."—Stephen Jay Gould
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Customer Reviews (2)

Otto Schindewolf (1896-1971) was a German paleontologist, also famous as a "saltationist" (i.e., the idea that evolution can proceed in "leaps," and not only gradually, as Darwin had suggested).In this famous work (not translated until this 1993 edition), he states that "The gaps that exist in the continuity of forms, which we always encounter at those very points, are not to be blamed on the fossil record; they are not illusions but the expression of a natural, primary absence of transitional forms."He then adds, "in spite of tireless search, the hoped-for series of connecting forms---the 'missing links' of the cliche---have never been found ... the closed evolutionary lineages we have before us regularly break off as we near their roots.Nothing in the future will change this."

The "poverty of the fossil record" cannot be blamed for this; "there is no longer any reason to resign outselves to some perceived insufficiency of fossil material; rather, we see in the regularly recurring pattern of the fossil record a reflection, incomplete in detail yet on the whole faithful, of the actual situation: a natural lack of intermediate forms and the existence of real gaps between individual types."

The problem is greater than this: "there is no way that there could be transitional forms as they have often been envisaged and required, namely, forms that are intermediate in every aspect.A placenta cannot be absent and present simultaneously; the two circulatory systems leading from the heart cannot be both separate and non-separate ... Intermediate forms in the true sense cannot be expected in these cases; the most one will find are composite types, which combine features of one group with those of another..." and "Gradual, smooth transitions between these two different developmental types are unknown and scarcely even imaginable."

Schindewolf is not a creationist, however: "there is no doubt that the supposition of a bridging between those designs by some kind of evolutionary process presents far fewer intellectual difficulties than does he claim for independent creation of an entire new type."Instead, he proposes that "Evolutionary development is episodic---it proceeds in phases, or in quantum leaps," and that "Macromutations are the determining factors of evolution."

Schindewolf suggests that genetic "monstrosities"---such as the "hopeful monsters" proposed in Goldschmidt's work The Material Basis of Evolution: Reissued (Silliman Milestones in Science)---are a possible solution.Schindewolf supports Goldschmidt's work: "Goldschmidt's inferences completely meet the challenge that fossil material appears to me to pose, and that he, a leading geneticist, has presented a complete interpretation that does justice to the tangible, historical phylogenetic data."

Stephen Jay Gould wrote the introduction to this edition.

This book is essential reading for anyone interested in evolutionary theory.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great introductory book
This book is a great introduction to paleontology. My 14 year old daughter is reading it, but it is good for any person who is interested in learning more at the beginning level. ... Read more

20. Collapse of Evolution, The
by Scott M. Huse
Paperback: 224 Pages (1997-11-01)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$5.99
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Asin: 0801057744
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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The Collapse of Evolution, now in an improved and updated third edition, has long been one of the most successful books on flaws in the evolutionary theory. It confronts evolutionists on their own turn, exposing the weaknesses of Darwinian theories.ing at the heart of the Christian faith. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (63)

3-0 out of 5 stars snakes out from under rocks
my review is of the critics of this and all creation literature. as is common with the worshipers of all that is hedonistic and secular, their god is evolution and their faith is in the religion of something from nothing. they troll the book sites looking specifically for books on creationism or other Christian topics and proceed to toss out empty, witless, ad hominem {look it up} attacks. no facts: nothing but slogans, cliched liberal insults, name calling, and liberal doses of long ago dis-proven "facts" and theories supposedly supporting the religion of something from nothing called evolution. notice the reviewers' lack of any science {remember, the definition of science is "observable and repeatable", anything less must, of necessity, be taken by faith.} in their criticism of the above book or any other creation-science material. as is typical in all of liberalism; be it societal, religious, or evolutionary, when the facts fail you- make up your own set of "facts" or call on old debunked arguments. that doesn't quite bring people to your point of view? go for the "all 'reputable' ...... agree with me." who's reputable? those who agree with them. the majority of the critics of this book- and other similar books- more often than not fall back on insults and name-calling to avoid dealing with the science behind the creation-evolution debate. unfortunately, that works more often than not in today's society. people today are looking for their chosen "experts"- be they evolution espousing scientists, politicians, shrinks, religious cults, or ministers of mainline protestantism/catholicism- to soothe their convicting consciences that all is not well with their souls.p.s. you do not believe the above are the tactics of the proponents of evolution? check out transcripts of college campus debates between evolutionary minded professors of the science departments and top p.h.d.'s of the sciences representing creationism. you be the judge.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Truth About Evolution
I have read many a good book on evolution verses creationism, by far this is the best and most complete book of proof I have ever read. I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to know the facts involved, as to the realistic impossibility for random evolution. Mr. Huse quotes Bible verses as they pertain to what's written, and I love the quote he used from Pascal's famous Great Wager on page 171.

1-0 out of 5 stars What was he smoking ?
What a load of unmitigated tripe !
As another reviewer stated, (mis)quote mining at its best.
This surely demonstrates the dishonesty associated with these lunatic young earth 'creationist' types.
"Lying for Jesus" at its best.
Its not evolution that has collapsed, rather 'creationist' integrity.
Whatever he was smoking, its powerful stuff.
Save your money and go for a good read - maybe one of Richard Dawkins sensible and properly argued books.
The only reason it has one star is that the review would accept unless it had at least one.

1-0 out of 5 stars Garbage in, Garbage out
I should begin this review with the book's Appendix A, which is a single page and is titled: "Scientific Facts that Prove Evolution." The page is Huse's little joke, for the page is blank. Actually, as it turns out, the Appendix should have been titled: "What Scott Huse Knows about the Scientific facts that Prove Evolution." The page, of course, would remain blank.

Anyone who believes that this book presents valid arguments against evolution is as severely deluded as is the author. This book is a prime example of the maxim "garbage in, garbage out." Scott Huse has simply made a survey of various creationist books, extracted various items and gathered them together in a volume that shows extremely well the intellectual and scientific bankruptcy of creationism.

Where to start?

Let's start with his argument that evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics, supposedly because that law prohibits order from arising from disorder. The laws of thermodynamics are statements about the dynamics of energy (thermo = heat). What the Second Law actually states in its most understandable form is "In a closed system there can be no net increase in available energy." Another way of saying it is "Any process occurring in a closed system will result in less available energy in the system." In a closed system, a process can produce order as long as there is energy available in the system. However, once the available energy is used up in the system, the process can no longer produce order. In thermodynamic systems, the degree of the lack of energy is called entropy--another term that creationists frequently misuse. The earth, of course, is not a closed system because it receives energy from the sun, which drives processes on the earth, including evolution. What the Second Law actually prohibits is perpetual motion machines.

Huse also declares that during the nineteenth century geologists "arranged the earth's strata according to the various types of fossils they contained." He continues, "Strata with simpler fossils (presumed to have evolved first) were put on the bottom of the column while strata containing more complex forms (presumed to have evolved later) were placed toward the top of the column. Thus the entire geologic column was founded and built on the assumption that organic evolution was a fact." The problem with that is the geologic column was developed by geologists who were also creationists, and they did their work many years before Darwin proposed his theory of evolution. The structure of the geologic column reflects real nature of the strata. You will find that the layering of the strata reflects a change in life forms over time. The strata certainly do not reflect the creationist model which is based on the idea that the fossil record is the result of the biblical flood. Their argument is that the flood arranged the remains of the animals according to their density or weight. So why don't we find the remains of elephants with dinosaurs, or fossils of modern birds with archaeopteryx? Incidentally, Huse falsely said that modern bird fossils were found with archaeopterix. Huse is therefore flat-out wrong and shows his basic ignorance in the matter.

Huse also used Nebraska Man and Piltdown Man as evidence against human evolution. One could argue in the same vein that Christianity is false because of the falsehoods and errors that have been promulgated in its name. Huse totally ignores (or, more likely, is ignorant of) the very large number of genuine fossils that have been found in support of human evolution. Just do a search on human fossils on Amazon, and you will come up with a multitude of books. Just make sure any you select are not by creationists. Such books tend to be full of misrepresentations.

Huse also refers to the finding of the Neanderthal fossil in the 19th century as the supposed link between humans and their early ancestors, but says it was just a human with arthritis. Huse fails to mention that scores of Neanderthal fossils have been found ranging in age from infants to old individuals and both sexes and that all of these have typical Neanderthal characteristics that are distinctly different from modern humans. Though Huse couldn't have known it at the time he wrote his book, DNA analysis of some Neanderthal bones shows, in fact, that they are also different in their DNA from modern humans. Even when Huse wrote his book, it was generally considered that Neanderthals were not in the direct line of the descent of modern humans, but were a side branch that died out without any living descendants. See In Search of the Neanderthals, by Christopher Stringer and Clive Gamble.

Huse refers to Thomas G. Barnes, who proposed that the study of the earth's magnetic field shows that it has been decaying. Barnes extrapolated the decay to indicate that it would have been impossibly strong more than 10,000 years ago--therefore, the reasoning is, the earth cannot be more than 10,000 years old. The faulty assumption is that the decay rate has held consistently over that time. However, paleomagnetic studies have shown that the earth's magnetic field waxes and wanes in cycles over time, and is not consistently acting the way Barnes assumes.

Huse also claims that there are no transitional fossils, which is also one of the big lies of the creationists. Fossilization is an extremely rare occurrence, and it is to be expected that there would be many transitional fossils missing. Nevertheless, there have been numerous transitional fossils that have been found. Amazon has numerous books on the matter. Check out, for instance, Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters, by Donald Prothero.

I could go on and on, but you should get the idea. Huse's book is no different from most other creationist books. It is full of falsehoods, misrepresentations, and ignorance of the real evidence for evolution.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally -- the truth!
If I had to choose just one book for an overview of how real science supports Genesis rather than Darwin, this would be it. Dr. Huse covers an amazing amount of territory in relatively short order, using language that anyone can understand. Highly recommended!

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