No one illuminates the wonderful workings of the natural world as perceptively and enjoyably as Stephen Jay Gould. In this volume of reflections on biology, history and culture, Gould addresses the burning issues of ecological crisis and contemporary species extinctions as well as giving us fascinating insights into evolution - such as the fact ...
No one illuminates the wonderful workings of the natural world as perceptively and enjoyably as Stephen Jay Gould. In this volume of reflections on biology, history and culture, Gould addresses the burning issues of ecological crisis and contemporary species extinctions as well as giving us fascinating insights into evolution - such as the fact that the first land vertebrates had up to eight toes on each foot, and that the ichthyosaur had a very significant kink in its tail.
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Publishers Weekly, 1992-12-07 In his latest collection of essays originally published in Natural History magazine, paleontologist Gould examines diverse and diverting topics. The title piece refers to toes, and we learn that five is not necessarily the optimum number. Gould re-examines the work of astronomer Edmund Halley and 16th-century Irish Archbishop James Ussher, who pinpointed the moment of creation (Oct. 23, 4004 B.C.); Gould finds an ``invisible hand'' connecting William Paley, Charles Darwin and Adam Smith. His recollection of an incident in his childhood leads to a discussion of selective memory. Other topics are the extinction of land snails on Moorea, development of the tiny bones of the ear, romanticism about the past and Gould's own ecological ``Golden Rule'' for our planet. He writes about the threatened red squirrel of Arizona and the ``evolution'' of old tires into sandals. This collection, easily equal to The Panda's Thumb and Bully for Brontosaurus , will not disappoint Gould's fans. Illustrations. BOMC, QPB and History Book Club selections. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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