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Paleontology


Across the Bridge: Understanding the Origin of the Vertebrates

Across the Bridge: Understanding the Origin of the Vertebrates Lowest new price: $21.00
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Author: Henry Gee

Our understanding of vertebrate origins and the backbone of human history evolves with each new fossil find and DNA map. Many species have now had their genomes sequenced, and molecular techniques allow genetic inspection of even non-model organisms. But as longtime Nature editor Henry Gee argues in Across the Bridge, despite these giant strides and our deepening understanding of how vertebrates fit into the tree of life, the morphological chasm between vertebrates and invertebrates remains vast and enigmatic.

As Gee shows, even as scientific advances have falsified a variety of theories linking these groups, the extant relatives of vertebrates are too few for effective genetic analysis. Moreover, the more we learn about the species that do remain—from sea-squirts to starfish—the clearer it becomes that they are too far evolved along their own courses to be of much use in reconstructing what the latest invertebrate ancestors of vertebrates looked like. Fossils present yet further problems of interpretation. Tracing both the fast-changing science that has helped illuminate the intricacies of vertebrate evolution as well as the limits of that science, Across the Bridge helps us to see how far the field has come in crossing the invertebrate-to-vertebrate divide—and how far we still have to go.

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Biotic Interactions in Recent and Fossil Benthic Communities (Topics in Geobiology)

Biotic Interactions in Recent and Fossil Benthic Communities (Topics in Geobiology) Lowest new price: $138.60
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Paleoart: Visions of the Prehistoric Past

Paleoart: Visions of the Prehistoric Past Lowest new price: $67.55
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Author: Zoë Lescaze

Dinosaurs Are Forever
A pictorial history of paleoart

It was 1830 when an English scientist named Henry De la Beche painted the first piece of paleoart, a dazzling, deliciously macabre vision of prehistoric reptiles battling underwater. Since then, artists the world over have conjured up visions of dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, cavemen, and other creatures, shaping our understanding of the primeval past through their exhilarating images.

In this unprecedented new book, writer Zoë Lescaze and artist Walton Ford present the astonishing history of paleoart from 1830 to 1990. These are not cave paintings produced thousands of years ago, but modern visions of the prehistory: stunning paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, mosaics, and murals that mingle scientific fact with unbridled fantasy. The collection provides an in-depth look at this neglected niche of art history, and shows the artists charged with imagining these extinct creatures projected their own aesthetic whims onto prehistory, rendering the primordial past with dashes of Romanticism, Impressionism, Japonisme, Fauvism, and Art Nouveau, among other influences.

With incisive essays from Lescaze, a preface by Ford, five fold-outs, and dozens of details, the book showcases a stunning collection of artworks plucked from major natural history museums, obscure archives, and private collections, and includes new photography of key works, including Charles R. Knight’s seminal dinosaur paintings in Chicago and little-known masterpieces such as A. M. Belashova’s monumental mosaic in Moscow. From the fearsome to the fantastical, Paleoart: Visions of a Prehistoric Past 1830–1990 is a celebration of prehistoric animals in art, and a novel chance to understand our favorite extinct beasts through a new art historical lens.

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101 American Fossil Sites You've Gotta See

101 American Fossil Sites You've Gotta See Lowest new price: $18.38
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Author: Albert B Dickas

Examining in detail at least one amazing fossil site in every state, Albert Dickas clearly explains the critters preserved in the rocks, from sharks and rhinoceroses to trilobites and horn corals. At some sites, you can sift through the shale in search of fossils to keep; at other sites, you can watch professionals excavate museum-quality specimens.

The entertaining introduction discusses the history of paleontology, including nineteenth-century arguments about the age of Earth. Dickas also provides a short history of life on Earth, from microbes in 3-billion-year-old chert to massive mammals of the Pleistocene ice ages. Contained within the last 541 million years are the Cambrian explosion, the age of crinoids, and five mass extinctions, including the one that wiped out the dinosaurs.

This compendium of 101 fossil sites is the companion volume to the hugely popular 101 American Geo-Sites You've Gotta See, published in 2012. Amply illustrated with photographs and written in a clear yet playful prose, 101 American Fossil Sites You'veGotta See will entertain and inform amateur and seasoned fossil buffs, whether from an armchair or in the field.

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Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History Lowest new price: $5.91
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Author: Stephen Jay Gould
Brand: Gould, Stephen Jay

"[An] extraordinary book. . . . Mr. Gould is an exceptional combination of scientist and science writer. . . . He is thus exceptionally well placed to tell these stories, and he tells them with fervor and intelligence."―James Gleick, New York Times Book Review

High in the Canadian Rockies is a small limestone quarry formed 530 million years ago called the Burgess Shale. It hold the remains of an ancient sea where dozens of strange creatures lived―a forgotten corner of evolution preserved in awesome detail. In this book Stephen Jay Gould explores what the Burgess Shale tells us about evolution and the nature of history.

The Burgess Shale of British Columbia "is the most precious and important of all fossil localities," writes Stephen Jay Gould. These 600-million-year-old rocks preserve the soft parts of a collection of animals unlike any other. Just how unlike is the subject of Gould's book.

Gould describes how the Burgess Shale fauna was discovered, reassembled, and analyzed in detail so clear that the reader actually gets some feeling for what paleobiologists do, in the field and in the lab. The many line drawings are unusually beautiful, and now can be compared to a wonderful collection of photographs in Fossils of the Burgess Shale by Derek Briggs, one of Gould's students.

Burgess Shale animals have been called a "paleontological Rorschach test," and not every geologist by any means agrees with Gould's thesis that they represent a "road not taken" in the history of life. Simon Conway Morris, one of the subjects of Wonderful Life, has expressed his disagreement in Crucible of Creation. Wonderful Life was published in 1989, and there has been an explosion of scientific interest in the pre-Cambrian and Cambrian periods, with radical new ideas fighting for dominance. But even though many scientists disagree with Gould about the radical oddity of the Burgess Shale animals, his argument that the history of life is profoundly contingent--as in the movie It's a Wonderful Life, from which this book takes its title--has become more accepted, in theories such as Ward and Brownlee's Rare Earth hypothesis. And Gould's loving, detailed exposition of the labor it took to understand the Burgess Shale remains one of the best explanations of scientific work around. --Mary Ellen Curtin

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Vertebrate Palaeontology

Vertebrate Palaeontology Lowest new price: $61.68
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Author: Michael Benton
Brand: imusti

Vertebrate palaeontology is a lively field, with new discoveriesreported every week… and not only dinosaurs! This new editionreflects the international scope of vertebrate palaeontology, witha special focus on exciting new finds from China.

A key aim is to explain the science. Gone are the days ofguesswork. Young researchers use impressive new numerical andimaging methods to explore the tree of life, macroevolution, globalchange, and functional morphology.

The fourth edition is completely revised. The cladisticframework is strengthened, and new functional and developmentalspreads are added. Study aids include: key questions, research tobe done, and recommendations of further reading and web sites.

The book is designed for palaeontology courses in biology andgeology departments. It is also aimed at enthusiasts who want toexperience the flavour of how the research is done. The book isstrongly phylogenetic, and this makes it a source of current dataon vertebrate evolution.

Features:

  • Wiley-Blackwell

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Weird Dinosaurs: The Strange New Fossils Challenging Everything We Thought We Knew

Weird Dinosaurs: The Strange New Fossils Challenging Everything We Thought We Knew Lowest new price: $13.50
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Author: John Pickrell
Brand: COLUMBIA

From the outback of Australia to the Gobi Desert of Mongolia and the savanna of Madagascar, the award-winning science writer and dinosaur enthusiast John Pickrell embarks on a world tour of new finds, meeting the fossil hunters who work at the frontier of discovery. He reveals the dwarf dinosaurs unearthed by an eccentric Transylvanian baron; an aquatic, crocodile-snouted carnivore bigger than T. rex that once lurked in North African waterways; a Chinese dinosaur with wings like a bat; and a Patagonian sauropod so enormous it weighed more than two commercial jet airliners.

Other surprising discoveries hail from Alaska, Siberia, Canada, Burma, and South Africa. Why did dinosaurs grow so huge? How did they spread across the world? Did they all have feathers? What do sauropods have in common with 1950s vacuum cleaners? The stuff of adventure movies and scientific revolutions, Weird Dinosaurs examines the latest breakthroughs and new technologies that are radically transforming our understanding of the distant past. Pickrell opens a vivid portal to a brand-new age of fossil discovery, in which fossil hunters are routinely redefining what we know and how we think about prehistory's most iconic and fascinating creatures.

Features:

  • COLUMBIA

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Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors

Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors Lowest new price: $8.88
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Author: Nicholas Wade
Brand: Wade, Nicholas

Nicholas Wade’s articles are a major reason why the science section has become the most popular, nationwide, in the New York Times. In his groundbreaking Before the Dawn, Wade reveals humanity’s origins as never before—a journey made possible only recently by genetic science, whose incredible findings have answered such questions as: What was the first human language like? How large were the first societies, and how warlike were they? When did our ancestors first leave Africa, and by what route did they leave? By eloquently solving these and numerous other mysteries, Wade offers nothing less than a uniquely complete retelling of a story that began 500 centuries ago.

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Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science

Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science Lowest new price: $11.47
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Author: Jeff Meldrum
Brand: Meldrum, Jeff

In this landmark work on a subject too often dismissed as paranormal or disreputable, Jeffrey Meldrum gives us the first book on Sasquatch to be written by a scientist with impeccable academic credentials. He gives an objective look at the facts in a field mined with hoaxes and sensationalism. Meldrum reports on the work of a team of experts from a wide variety of fields who were assembled to examine the evidence for a large, yet undiscovered, North American primate. He reviews the long history of this mystery--which long predates the "Bigfoot" flap of the late fifties--and explains all the scientific pros and cons in a clear and accessible style, amplified by over 150 illustrations. Anyone who has pondered the mysteries of human evolution will be fascinated and eager to join Dr. Meldrum in drawing their own conclusion.

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Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy

Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy Lowest new price: $20.97
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Author: Mark P. Witton
Brand: imusti

For 150 million years, the skies didn't belong to birds--they belonged to the pterosaurs. These flying reptiles, which include the pterodactyls, shared the world with the nonavian dinosaurs until their extinction 65 million years ago. Some pterosaurs, such as the giant azhdarchids, were the largest flying animals of all time, with wingspans exceeding thirty feet and standing heights comparable to modern giraffes. This richly illustrated book takes an unprecedented look at these astonishing creatures, presenting the latest findings on their anatomy, ecology, and extinction.



Pterosaurs features some 200 stunning illustrations, including original paintings by Mark Witton and photos of rarely seen fossils. After decades of mystery, paleontologists have finally begun to understand how pterosaurs are related to other reptiles, how they functioned as living animals, and, despite dwarfing all other flying animals, how they managed to become airborne. Here you can explore the fossil evidence of pterosaur behavior and ecology, learn about the skeletal and soft-tissue anatomy of pterosaurs, and consider the newest theories about their cryptic origins. This one-of-a-kind book covers the discovery history, paleobiogeography, anatomy, and behaviors of more than 130 species of pterosaur, and also discusses their demise at the end of the Mesozoic.


  • The most comprehensive book on pterosaurs ever published

  • Features some 200 illustrations, including original paintings by the author

  • Covers every known species and major group of pterosaurs

  • Describes pterosaur anatomy, ecology, behaviors, diversity, and more

  • Encourages further study with 500 references to primary pterosaur literature

Features:

  • Princeton University Press

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