The Crucible of Creation

The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals

Author: Simon Conway Morris

Publisher: Peterson's

ISBN: 9780192862020

Category: Science

Page: 242

View: 2047

'tells a great story and manages to be informative at all levels. Conway Morris has a collector's eye for the sort of entertaining yet informative snippets that keep readers on their toes.' New Scientist Located in the west of Canada, the Burgess Shale contains a unique collection of fossil remains, and has become an icon for those studying the history of life. This remarkable book takes us on a fresh journey back in time through the Burgess Shale and its astonishing collection ofpre-Cambrian creatures. In an entertaining and readable style, Simon Conway Morris paints a vivid picture of the critical period which saw the diversification of all the major animal groups, and takes a controversial stance on current evolutionary theories that is sure to provoke much interest and debate. 'It is less bleak in its assessment of life on earth and it is spiritually uplifting, rather than dry and mechanistic as some would have us believe' THES R 'The centerpiece of The Crucible of Creation is a description, authoritative and readable, of the animals themselves. New York Times Book Review

The Crucible of Creation

The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals

Author: Simon Conway Morris

Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press

ISBN: N.A

Category: Science

Page: 242

View: 7518

An accomplished paleontologist describes the amazing Cambrian fossils of the Burgess Shale, a deposit in Western Canada, recreates the diversity of life as it existed when the fossils were formed, and critiques Stephen Jay Gould's observations on the find. UP.

FOSSILS OF BURGESS SHALE PB

Author: BRIGGS D

Publisher: Smithsonian

ISBN: 9781560986591

Category: Science

Page: 238

View: 8006

Photographs by Chip Clark. Main Selection of the Natural Science Book Club. This book provides the first comprehensive set of illustrations of the life forms revealed in the Burgess Shale. This century's most significant invertebrate fossil discovery, the Burgess Shale provides an unprecendented window ito the explosive evolution during the Cambrian Period.

The Runes of Evolution

How the Universe became Self-Aware

Author: Simon Conway Morris

Publisher: Templeton Foundation Press

ISBN: 1599474654

Category: Science

Page: 480

View: 7658

How did human beings acquire imaginations that can conjure up untrue possibilities? How did the Universe become self-aware? In The Runes of Evolution, Simon Conway Morris revitalizes the study of evolution from the perspective of convergence, providing us with compelling new evidence to support the mounting scientific view that the history of life is far more predictable than once thought. A leading evolutionary biologist at the University of Cambridge, Conway Morris came into international prominence for his work on the Cambrian explosion (especially fossils of the Burgess Shale) and evolutionary convergence, which is the process whereby organisms not closely related (not monophyletic), independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches. In The Runes of Evolution, he illustrates how the ubiquity of convergence hints at an underlying framework whereby many outcomes, not least brains and intelligence, are virtually guaranteed on any Earth-like planet. Conway Morris also emphasizes how much of the complexity of advanced biological systems is inherent in microbial forms. By casting a wider net, The Runes of Evolution explores many neglected evolutionary questions. Some are remarkably general. Why, for example, are convergences such as parasitism, carnivory, and nitrogen fixation in plants concentrated in particular taxonomic hot spots? Why do certain groups have a particular propensity to evolve toward particular states? Some questions lead to unexpected evolutionary insights: If bees sleep (as they do), do they dream? Why is that insect copulating with an orchid? Why have sponges evolved a system of fiber optics? What do mantis shrimps and submarines have in common? If dinosaurs had not gone extinct what would have happened next? Will a saber-toothed cat ever re-evolve? Cona Morris observes: “Even amongst the mammals, let alone the entire tree of life, humans represent one minute twig of a vast (and largely fossilized) arborescence. Every living species is a linear descendant of an immense string of now-vanished ancestors, but evolution itself is the very reverse of linear. Rather it is endlessly exploratory, probing the vast spaces of biological hyperspace. Indeed this book is a celebration of how our world is (and was) populated by a riot of forms, a coruscating tapestry of life.” The Runes of Evolution is the most definitive synthesis of evolutionary convergence to be published to date.

The Cambrian Fossils of Chengjiang, China

The Flowering of Early Animal Life

Author: Xian-guag Hou,Richard J. Aldridge,Jan Bergstrom,David J. Siveter,Derek J. Siveter,Xiang-Hong Feng

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0470999942

Category: Science

Page: 248

View: 901

The Chengjiang biota is one of the most remarkable fossil discoveries ever made. The Cambrian Fossils of Chengjiang is the first book in English to provide fossil enthusiasts with an overview of the fauna. 100 superb full color plates. First English language illustrated guide to this important fauna. A must-have for all palaeontologists worldwide. To see a collection of images from the book, click on the following link: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/chengjiang

Life's Solution

Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe

Author: Simon Conway Morris

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521603256

Category: Science

Page: 488

View: 1693

Life's Solution builds a persuasive case for the predictability of evolutionary outcomes. The case rests on a remarkable compilation of examples of convergent evolution, in which two or more lineages have independently evolved similar structures and functions. The examples range from the aerodynamics of hovering moths and hummingbirds to the use of silk by spiders and some insects to capture prey. Going against the grain of Darwinian orthodoxy, this book is a must read for anyone grappling with the meaning of evolution and our place in the Universe. Simon Conway Morris is the Ad Hominen Professor in the Earth Science Department at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St. John's College and the Royal Society. His research focuses on the study of constraints on evolution, and the historical processes that lead to the emergence of complexity, especially with respect to the construction of the major animal body parts in the Cambrian explosion. Previous books include The Crucible of Creation (Getty Center for Education in the Arts, 1999) and co-author of Solnhofen (Cambridge, 1990). Hb ISBN (2003) 0-521-82704-3

The Great Paleozoic Crisis

Life and Death in the Permian

Author: Douglas H. Erwin

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231074662

Category: Science

Page: 327

View: 5606

The culmination of more than fifty years of research by the foremost living expert on plant classification, Diversity and Classification of Flowering Plants is an important contribution to the field of plant taxonomy. In the last decade, the system of classifying plants has been thoroughly revised. Instead of describing every individual family, Takhtajan includes descriptions in keys to families, which he calls "descriptive keys." The advantage of descriptive keys is that they give both the characteristic features of the families and their differences. The delimitation of families and orders drastically differs from the one accepted by the Englerian school and from the one accepted in Arthur Cronquist's system. Takhtajan favors the smaller, more natural families and orders, which are more coherent and better-defined, where characters are easily grasped, and which are more suitable for information retrieval and phylogenetic studies, including cladistic analysis (because it reduces polymorphic codings).

The Garden of Ediacara

Discovering the First Complex Life

Author: Mark A. S. McMenamin

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 9780231105590

Category: Science

Page: 295

View: 2875

Including twenty-two photographs and more than fifty drawings of these strikingly beautiful early life forms, this book presents a mesmerizing documentary of a major scientific discovery: the oldest animal fossils ever discovered.

Improbable Destinies

Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution

Author: Jonathan B. Losos

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0399184937

Category: Science

Page: 384

View: 4851

A major new book overturning our assumptions about how evolution works Earth’s natural history is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. But evolutionary biologists also point out many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change—a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze—caused evolution to take a completely different course. What role does each force really play in the constantly changing natural world? Are the plants and animals that exist today, and we humans ourselves, inevitabilities or evolutionary flukes? And what does that say about life on other planets? Jonathan Losos reveals what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology can tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science. He takes us around the globe to meet the researchers who are solving the deepest mysteries of life on Earth through their work in experimental evolutionary science. Losos himself is one of the leaders in this exciting new field, and he illustrates how experiments with guppies, fruit flies, bacteria, foxes, and field mice, along with his own work with anole lizards on Caribbean islands, are rewinding the tape of life to reveal just how rapid and predictable evolution can be. Improbable Destinies will change the way we think and talk about evolution. Losos's insights into natural selection and evolutionary change have far-reaching applications for protecting ecosystems, securing our food supply, and fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria. This compelling narrative offers a new understanding of ourselves and our role in the natural world and the cosmos.

The Cambrian Explosion

The Construction of Animal Biodiversity

Author: Douglas H. Erwin,Erwin Douglas,James W. Valentine

Publisher: Roberts & Company

ISBN: 9781936221035

Category: Science

Page: 406

View: 6650

A book on the Cambrian period by two leaders in the field.

Seven Skeletons

The Evolution of the World's Most Famous Human Fossils

Author: Lydia Pyne

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0698409426

Category: History

Page: 336

View: 1844

An irresistible journey of discovery, science, history, and myth making, told through the lives and afterlives of seven famous human ancestors Over the last century, the search for human ancestors has spanned four continents and resulted in the discovery of hundreds of fossils. While most of these discoveries live quietly in museum collections, there are a few that have become world-renowned celebrity personas—ambassadors of science that speak to public audiences. In Seven Skeletons, historian of science Lydia Pyne explores how seven such famous fossils of our ancestors have the social cachet they enjoy today. Drawing from archives, museums, and interviews, Pyne builds a cultural history for each celebrity fossil—from its discovery to its afterlife in museum exhibits to its legacy in popular culture. These seven include the three-foot tall “hobbit” from Flores, the Neanderthal of La Chapelle, the Taung Child, the Piltdown Man hoax, Peking Man, Australopithecus sediba, and Lucy—each embraced and celebrated by generations, and vivid examples of how discoveries of how our ancestors have been received, remembered, and immortalized. With wit and insight, Pyne brings to life each fossil, and how it is described, put on display, and shared among scientific communities and the broader public. This fascinating, endlessly entertaining book puts the impact of paleoanthropology into new context, a reminder of how our past as a species continues to affect, in astounding ways, our present culture and imagination. From the Hardcover edition.

When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time (Revised edition)

Author: Michael J. Benton

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

ISBN: 0500773203

Category: History

Page: 352

View: 9083

“The focus is the most severe mass extinction known in earth’s history. The science on which the book is based is up-to-date, thorough, and balanced. Highly recommended.” —Choice Today it is common knowledge that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a meteorite impact 65 million years ago that killed half of all species then living. It is far less widely understood that a much greater catastrophe took place at the end of the Permian period 251 million years ago: at least ninety percent of life on earth was destroyed. When Life Nearly Died documents not only what happened during this gigantic mass extinction but also the recent renewal of the idea of catastrophism: the theory that changes in the earth’s crust were brought about suddenly in the past by phenomena that cannot be observed today. Was the end-Permian event caused by the impact of a huge meteorite or comet, or by prolonged volcanic eruption in Siberia? The evidence has been accumulating, and Michael J. Benton gives his verdict at the end of the volume. The new edition brings the study of the greatest mass extinction of all time thoroughly up-to-date. In the twelve years since the book was originally published, hundreds of geologists and paleontologists have been investigating all aspects of how life could be driven to the brink of annihilation, and especially how life recovered afterwards, providing the foundations of modern ecosystems.

Trilobite

Eyewitness to Evolution

Author: Richard Fortey

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307434672

Category: Science

Page: 320

View: 2447

With Trilobite, Richard Fortey, paleontologist and author of the acclaimed Life, offers a marvelously written, smart and compelling, accessible and witty scientific narrative of the most ubiquitous of fossil creatures. Trilobites were shelled animals that lived in the oceans over five hundred million years ago. As bewilderingly diverse then as the beetle is today, they survived in the arctic or the tropics, were spiky or smooth, were large as lobsters or small as fleas. And because they flourished for three hundred million years, they can be used to glimpse a less evolved world of ancient continents and vanished oceans. Erudite and entertaining, this book is a uniquely exuberant homage to a fabulously singular species. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Where Do Camels Belong?

Why Invasive Species Aren't All Bad

Author: Ken Thompson

Publisher: Greystone Books Ltd

ISBN: 1771640960

Category: Nature

Page: 262

View: 2588

Where do camels belong? You may be surprised to learn that they evolved and lived for tens of millions of years in North America-and also that the leek, national symbol of Wales, was a Roman import to Britain, as were chickens, rabbits and pheasants. These classic examples highlight the issues of "native" and "invasive" species. We have all heard the horror stories of invasives. But do we need to fear invaders? In this controversial book, Ken Thompson asks: Why do very few introduced species succeed, why do so few of them go on to cause trouble, and what is the real cost of invasions? He discusses, too, whether fear of invasive species could be getting in the way of conserving biodiversity and responding to climate change.

The Equations of Life

How Physics Shapes Evolution

Author: Charles S. Cockell

Publisher: Basic Books

ISBN: 154164459X

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 1596

A groundbreaking argument for why alien life will evolve to be much like life here on Earth We are all familiar with the popular idea of strange alien life wildly different from life on earth inhabiting other planets. Maybe it's made of silicon! Maybe it has wheels! Or maybe it doesn't. In The Equations of Life, biologist Charles S. Cockell makes the forceful argument that the laws of physics narrowly constrain how life can evolve, making evolution's outcomes predictable. If we were to find on a distant planet something very much like a lady bug eating something like an aphid, we shouldn't be surprised. The forms of life are guided by a limited set of rules, and as a result, there is a narrow set of solutions to the challenges of existence. A remarkable scientific contribution breathing new life into Darwin's theory of evolution, The Equations of Life makes a radical argument about what life can--and can't--be.

The Diversity of Life

Author: Edward O. Wilson

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 9780393319408

Category: Science

Page: 424

View: 2085

The classic story of how life on Earth evolved and how the diversity of the species is threatened unless whole ecosystems are rescued. Color plates.

Grave Secrets of Dinosaurs

Soft Tissues and Hard Science

Author: Phillip Lars Manning

Publisher: National Geographic Books

ISBN: 1426202199

Category: Nature

Page: 316

View: 3436

Dinosaur bones and skeletons, even dinosaur eggs are not unusual, but rare soft-tissue fossils give tantalizing clues about the appearance and physiology of the ancient animals. Here, paleontologist Manning presents the most astonishing dinosaur fossil ex

What Darwin Got Wrong

Author: Jerry Fodor,Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini

Publisher: Profile Books

ISBN: 1847651909

Category: Science

Page: 262

View: 9628

Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piatelli-Palmarini, a distinguished philosopher and scientist working in tandem, reveal major flaws at the heart of Darwinian evolutionary theory. They do not deny Darwin's status as an outstanding scientist but question the inferences he drew from his observations. Combining the results of cutting-edge work in experimental biology with crystal-clear philosophical argument they mount a devastating critique of the central tenets of Darwin's account of the origin of species. The logic underlying natural selection is the survival of the fittest under changing environmental pressure. This logic, they argue, is mistaken. They back up the claim with evidence of what actually happens in nature. This is a rare achievement - the short book that is likely to make a great deal of difference to a very large subject. What Darwin Got Wrong will be controversial. The authors' arguments will reverberate through the scientific world. At the very least they will transform the debate about evolution.

Rare Earth

Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe

Author: Peter D. Ward,Donald Brownlee

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 0387218483

Category: Science

Page: 338

View: 4556

What determines whether complex life will arise on a planet, or even any life at all? Questions such as these are investigated in this groundbreaking book. In doing so, the authors synthesize information from astronomy, biology, and paleontology, and apply it to what we know about the rise of life on Earth and to what could possibly happen elsewhere in the universe. Everyone who has been thrilled by the recent discoveries of extrasolar planets and the indications of life on Mars and the Jovian moon Europa will be fascinated by Rare Earth, and its implications for those who look to the heavens for companionship.