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Prothero, Donald R
Evolution : what the fossils say and why it matters / Donald R. Prothero ; with original illustrations by Carl Buell
New York : Columbia University Press, c2007
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  QE721.2.E85 P76 2007    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Evolutionary paleobiology
Evolution (Biology)
Physical Description xxi, 381 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 27 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. 361-371) and index
Contents Foreword : why people do not accept evolution -- To the reader : is evolution a threat to your religious beliefs? -- Prologue : fossils and evolution -- Acknowledgments -- pt. I. Evolution and the fossil record -- 1. The nature of science -- What is science? -- Science and belief systems -- Belly buttons and testability -- Natural and supernatural -- Science, pseudoscience, and baloney detection -- Follow the evidence wherever it may lead -- 2. Science and creationism -- Mything links -- The genesis of genesis -- What is creationism? -- Twentieth-century creationism -- "Intelligent design", or "breathtaking inanity"? -- The monkey business of creationism -- 3. The fossil record -- Lucky accidents of fossilization -- Faunal succession or "flood geology"? -- The surreal world of "flood geology" -- The Grand Canyon through the looking glass -- Shop of foolishness? -- Dates with rocks -- Punk eek, transitional forms, and quote-miners -- 4. The evolution of evolution -- Before Darwin -- The evolution of Darwin -- The Neo-Darwinian evolutionary synthesis -- Challenges to Neo-Darwinism -- Unfinished synthesis -- Lamarck revisited -- Neutralism, junk DNA, and molecular clocks -- Macroevolution and evo/devo -- The evidence of evolution -- The family tree of life -- Homology -- Vestigial structure and other imperfections -- Embryology -- Biogeography -- Evolution happens all the time! -- 5. Systematics and evolution -- What is systematics? -- What is taxonomy? -- Ladders, bushes, mosaics and "missing links" -- The cladistic revolution -- Ancestor worship -- The molecular third dimension -- The branching tree of life --
pt. II. Evolution? : the fossils say YES! -- 6. Life's origins -- To the blazing hot North Pole -- Recipe for primordial soup -- Mosh pits, fool's gold, kitty litter, black smokers, and mud -- Communal living builds complex cells -- Probability and the origin of life -- 7. Cambrian "explosion", or slow fuse? -- The creationists' favorite myth -- Step 1 : planet of the scum -- Step 2 : the garden of Ediacara -- Step 3 : the little shellies -- Step 4 : in with a whimper, not a bang -- 8. Spineless wonders of evolution -- Invertebrate transitions -- The incredible world of microfossils -- The story in the seashells -- What about macroevolution? -- 9. Fish tales -- Show some backbone! -- It's a long way from amphioxus -- Jaws : the evolutionary story -- 10. Fish out of water -- The great leap upward -- Lobe fins lead the way -- Four on the floor -- 11. Onto the land and back to the sea : the amniotes -- Innovative eggs -- Evolution of the great sea dragons -- Snakes with legs and hopping crocodiles -- 12. Dinosaurs evolve, and fly -- Dinosaur transitions -- Lifestyles of the huge and ancient -- Dinosaurs are alive! -- 13. Mammalian explosion -- From amniote to synapsid to mammals -- Furballs in the age of dinosaurs -- Radiation in the aftermath -- Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! -- 14. Bossies and blowholes -- Thundering hooves -- Tiny horses, hornless rhinoceroses, and thunder beasts -- Kingdom of cloven hooves -- Walking whales -- Dumbo and the mermaid -- 15. The ape's reflection? -- The only transition that really matters -- The truth about human fossils -- The third chimpanzee -- 16. Why does it matter? -- Deceit in the name of the Lord -- Why should we care? -- Choices for the future
Review "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, and yet it continues to come under attack by present-day creationists and advocates of Intelligent Design for not supporting the theory of biological evolution. With this engaging and richly illustrated book, leading paleontologist Donald R. Prothero sets the record straight." "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 creation-ism," 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 early primates to Homo sapiens, Prothero pays particular attention to the recent discovery of "missing links" that complete the fossil timeline and the controversy among contemporary scientists over the mechanisms of evolution."--BOOK JACKET
Alternate Author Buell, Carl Dennis

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