Fossil Revolution: The Finds that Changed Our View of the Past

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9780007118281: Fossil Revolution: The Finds that Changed Our View of the Past

The fossil discoveries that changed our understanding of the world are brought to life in this fascinating and beautifully-illustrated book.

Over the last 200 years the discovery of fossils has revolutionised our relationship with nature, our understanding of evolution and the story of the Earth.

Fossils – the remains of once-living organisms – from seashells to dinosaur bones have fascinated us for thousands of years. Early Cro-magnon man collected them and placed them as treasured objects in tombs with the dead.

The Fossil Revolution tells the stories of the discoveries that unlocked the secrets of the past. Told in the order they were found, the stories take you on an archaeological journey. Within 100 years we came to understand that we inhabited a fragile and unpredictable world where whole species dominate and are then wiped out. Each fossil discovery included is a fascinating story in its own right.

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Review:

Theories as to the nature of Earth, humankind and our place in the world are the grand themes of Douglas Palmer's Fossil Revolution. Our ideas of ourselves and our origins have never changed as dramatically as over the last two centuries. Once occupying a spot at the pinnacle of Creation, we now see ourselves as little more than an ape and no better-adapted than any other life form.

In Fossil Revolution, Palmer deftly argues the pivotal role of fossils in the successive scientific upheavals that have caused this paradigm shift. By taking the unusual step of telling the story in chronological order of fossil finds, rather than the chronological order of fossils themselves, he charts the evolution of ideas, revealing the unfolding enlightenment. To the Ancient Greeks, the giant shoulder blades and bones they found were semi-religious relics of their Olympian heroes; discovering dinosaur bones gave unequivocal support to extinction theories; and later finds helped to buttress the Darwin-Wallace theory of evolution.

Choosing to move from the earliest fossil finds to the most recent means that the illustrations throw light on the changing nature of imagery over time. Graphic representation is a crucial tool for palaeontologists and one that also reflects contemporary cultural bias. Depictions of dinosaurs in the Victorian period, for example, were rather imperial, compared to today's slimline versions.

Well-conceived, Fossil Revolution is also well-told. Palmer uses his expansive knowledge to provide plenty of colourful details and render the actors with personality. --Dan Green

From the Back Cover:

Over the last 200 years the discovery of fossils has revolutionised our relationship with nature, our understanding of evolution and the story of the Earth.

Fossils – the remains of once-living organisms – from seashells to dinosaur bones have fascinated us for thousands of years. Early Cro-magnon man collected them and placed them as treasured objects in tombs with the dead.

The Fossil Revolution tells the stories of the discoveries that unlocked the secrets of the past. Told in the order they were found, the stories take you on an archaeological journey. Within 100 years we came to understand that we inhabited a fragile and unpredictable world where whole species dominate and are then wiped out. Each fossil discovery included is a fascinating story in its own right.

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Palmer, Douglas
Published by Trafalgar Square (2003)
ISBN 10: 0007118287 ISBN 13: 9780007118281
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Book Description Trafalgar Square, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007118287

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Douglas Palmer
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Palmer, Douglas
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Book Description Collins, London, U.K., 2003. Cloth. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. 144pp; b/w and col illus. Reading. Index. Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall. Hardback. Bookseller Inventory # 007707

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