The story of how the Burgess Shale came to be, of its creatures, attempts to classify them, and where they fit into the scheme of evolution is one of the greatest stories--and one of the hottest controversies--in science.The story of how the Burgess Shale came to be, of its creatures, attempts to classify them, and where they fit into the scheme of evolution is one of the greatest stories--and one of the hottest controversies--in science.Read Less
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New in None as Issued jacket. BRAND NEW Copy w/trace corner tip wear. The Burgess Shale Formation, discovered by Charles Walcott in 1909, is tucked into the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia some 8, 000 feet above sea level. It is one of the world's most celebrated fossil fields for preservation of the soft parts of its fossils dating to some 500 million years ago (Cambrian). In this volume paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) conjectures the extraordinary diversity of the fossils in the Burgess Shale indicate that life forms of the Cambrian period were far more diverse than those that have managed to survive to today; other scientists find much of Cambrian fauna can be reasonably classified into modern day phyla. A moment in intellectual scientific history.
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The investigation of the Burgess Shale fossils is presented as an unfolding mystery (and a riveting one it is), ultimately upending the way science has understood evolution. Professor Gould writes clearly, with enthusiasm and humor, and the subject will give you a renewed sense of the wonder and tenuousness of life on earth.
Apr 5, 2007
A great and well-delivered interpretation of the Cambrian Explosion - the sudden appearance of hard body parts and vastly different body plans - by one of the people who could best put it all together. Don't read this for the most up-to-date information (see Conway Morris's much more recent book for that) but for a very engaging and compelling history of life on earth.
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