The celebrated lower Cambrian Chengjiang biota of Yunnan Province, China, represents one of the most significant ever paleontological discoveries. Deposits of ancient mudstone, about 520 million years old, have yielded a spectacular variety of exquisitely preserved fossils that record the early diversification of animal life. Since the discovery of the first specimens in 1984, many thousands of fossils have been collected, exceptionally preserving not just the shells and carapaces of the animals, but also their soft tissues in fine detail. This special preservation has produced fossils of rare beauty; they are also of outstanding scientific importance as sources of evidence about the origins of animal groups that have sustained global biodiversity to the present day. Much of the scientific documentation of the Chengjiang biota is in Chinese, and the first edition of this book was the first in English to provide fossil enthusiasts with a comprehensive overview of the fauna. The second edition has been fully updated and includes a new chapter on other exceptionally preserved fossils of Cambrian age, exciting new fossil finds from Chengjiang, and a phylogenetic framework for the biota. Displaying some 250 figures of marvelous specimens, this book presents to professional and amateur paleontologists, and all those fascinated by evolutionary biology, the aesthetic and scientific quality of the Chengjiang fossils.
This photographically rich volume provides a synthetic overview of a wide sample of Lagerst?tten from marine environments reaching back in time to the Precambrian, more than 500 million years ago. These occurrences of exceptional fossil preservation are providing scientists with a new source of evidence to understand how life has evolved in the Earth's oceans.
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.
This book was first published in 2006. Palaeontology has developed from a descriptive science to an analytical science used to interpret relationships between earth and life history. Applied Palaeontology adopts a holistic, integrated approach to palaeontology, highlighting its key role in the study of the evolving earth, life history and environmental processes. After an introduction to fossils and their classification, each of the principal fossil groups are studied in detail, covering their biology, morphology, classification, palaeobiology and biostratigraphy. The latter sections focus on the applications of fossils in the interpretation of earth and life processes and environments. It concludes with case histories of how our knowledge of fossils is applied, in industry and elsewhere. This is a valuable reference for anyone involved in the applications of palaeontology, including earth, life and environmental scientists, and petroleum, minerals, mining and engineering professionals.
A book on the Cambrian period by two leaders in the field.
Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems describes all of the main Fossil Lagerstätten (sites of exceptional fossil preservation) from around the world in a chronological order. It covers the history of research, stratigraphy and taphonomy, main faunal and floral elements, and the palaeoecology of each site and gives a comparison with coeval sites around the world. It includes all of the well-known fossil sites, such as the Burgess Shale, the Solnhofen Limestone, Mazon Creek, Rancho La Brea etc., and includes an appendix giving information on how to visit the sites and where to see the fossils in museum displays. Available now in its second edition, Lagerstätten included for the first time include Chengjiang, the Herefordshire Nodules and the Jehol Group. A welcome addition to the list of important localities of Cenozoic age is the White River Group, which preserves the finest examples of mammals around the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, including many now-extinct groups. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with over 450 colour photographs and diagrams, and it is extensively referenced. Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems is essential reading to a wide range of students and professionals in palaeontology and related sciences, and to amateur enthusiasts.
When Charles Darwin finished The Origin of Species, he thought that he had explained every clue, but one. Though his theory could explain many facts, Darwin knew that there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. During this event, the “Cambrian explosion,” many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record without apparent ancestors in earlier layers of rock. In Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen C. Meyer tells the story of the mystery surrounding this explosion of animal life—a mystery that has intensified, not only because the expected ancestors of these animals have not been found, but because scientists have learned more about what it takes to construct an animal. During the last half century, biologists have come to appreciate the central importance of biological information—stored in DNA and elsewhere in cells—to building animal forms. Expanding on the compelling case he presented in his last book, Signature in the Cell, Meyer argues that the origin of this information, as well as other mysterious features of the Cambrian event, are best explained by intelligent design, rather than purely undirected evolutionary processes.
Major advances in our understanding of the history of life on Earth have resulted from the study of exceptionally well-preserved fossil sites (Lagerstätten). Study of such sites from around the world and from different periods in geological time can provide a fairly complete picture of the evolution of ecosystems down the ages.With this aim in mind, the authors have brought together succinct summaries of 14 of the better-known fossil Lagerstatten, beautifully illustrated throughout by over 250 colour photographs and diagrams.Following a general introduction to fossil Lagerstätten, each chapter deals with a single fossil site and follows the same format: its evolutionary position and significance; its background sedimentology, stratigraphy and palaoenvironment; a description of the biota and palaeoecology, and a comparison with other similar Lagerstätten. There are appendices of further reading, relevant museums and suggestions for visiting the sites.This book will be of value to a wide range of students and professionals in palaeontology and related sciences, and to amateur enthusiasts.
A study of the Burgess Shale, a sea bed 530 million years old, and attempts to tackle what the findings are and what it means
Several years ago, we realized that the most prominent ideas that had been ex pressed about the origin and early evolution of the Metazoa seemed to have been developed chiefly by zoologists using evidence from modern species without reference to the fossil record. Paleontologists had, in fact, put forth their own ideas but the zoological and the paleontological evidence were about the problem, seldom considered together, especially by zoologists. We believed that the paleon tological documentation of the first Metazoa was too scattered, too obscure to Western readers, and much of it too recent to have been readily available to our colleagues in zoology. Whether or not that was entirely true, we thought that a single volume reviewing the fossil record of the earliest Metazoa would be useful to many in both paleontology and zoology, especially since so much new informa tion has been developed in the last few years. Some of this information has been summarized in general articles recently, but an overview of most of the field does not exist. We therefore organized this book in five parts so that the evidence could be placed in perspective and summarized and inferences made from it. Part I intro duces the previous hypotheses that have been proposed for the origin and early radiation of Metazoa. Part II consists of two summary chapters that set the sedi mentological, geochemical, and biological background to the known radiations of Metazoa.
This volume includes a general introduction, a chapter on fossil representatives of the Cycloneuralia and chapters on the taxa Nematomorpha, Priapulida, Kinorhyncha and Loricifera. The taxa described herein include the parasitic horsehair worms (Nematomorpha) and the marine priapulids, kinorhynchs and loriciferans, the latter of which belong to the smallest metazoan animals and have fascinating life cycles and ecological capabilities. The volume presents a detailed insight into the morphology, ecology and systematics of each of these groups.
More than 10,000 years ago spectacularly large mammals roamed the pampas and jungles of South America. This book tells the story of these great beasts during and just after the Pleistocene, the geological epoch marked by the great ice ages. Megafauna describes the history and way of life of these animals, their comings and goings, and what befell them at the beginning of the modern era and the arrival of humans. It places these giants within the context of the other mammals then alive, describing their paleobiology—how they walked; how much they weighed; their diets, behavior, biomechanics; and the interactions among them and with their environment. It also tells the stories of the scientists who contributed to our discovery and knowledge of these transcendent creatures and the environment they inhabited. The episode known as the Great American Biotic Interchange, perhaps the most important of all natural history "experiments," is also an important theme of the book, tracing the biotic events of both North and South America that led to the fauna and the ecosystems discussed in this book.
After the mass extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, mammals became the dominant terrestrial life form on our planet. Roaming the earth were spectacular beasts such as saber-toothed cats, giant mastodonts, immense ground sloths, and gigantic giraffe-like rhinoceroses. Here is the ultimate illustrated field guide to the lost world of these weird and wonderful prehistoric creatures. A woolly mammoth probably won't come thundering through your vegetable garden any time soon. But if one did, this would be the book to keep on your windowsill next to the binoculars. It covers all the main groups of fossil mammals, discussing taxonomy and evolutionary history, and providing concise accounts of the better-known genera and species as well as an up-to-date family tree for each group. No other book presents such a wealth of new information about these animals—what they looked like, how they behaved, and how they were interrelated. In addition, this unique guide is stunningly illustrated throughout with full-color reconstructions of these beasts—many never before depicted—along with photographs of amazing fossils from around the world. Provides an up-to-date guidebook to hundreds of extinct species, from saber-toothed cats to giant mammoths Features a wealth of color illustrations, including new reconstructions of many animals never before depicted Demonstrates evolution in action—such as how whales evolved from hoofed mammals and how giraffes evolved from creatures with short necks Explains how mass extinctions and climate change affected mammals, including why some mammals grew so huge
This ebook edition does not include illustrations. An awe-inspiring journey through the eons and across the globe, in search of visible traces of evolution in the living creatures which have survived from earlier times and whose stories speak to us of seminal events in the history of life.
Originally published in Mexico in 1970, Indigenous and Popular Thinking in América is the first book by the Argentine philosopher Rodolfo Kusch (1922–79) to be translated into English. At its core is a binary created by colonization and the devaluation of indigenous practices and cosmologies: an opposition between the technologies and rationalities of European modernity and the popular mode of thinking, which is deeply tied to Indian ways of knowing and being. Arguing that this binary cuts through América, Kusch seeks to identify and recover the indigenous and popular way of thinking, which he contends is dismissed or misunderstood by many urban Argentines, including leftist intellectuals. Indigenous and Popular Thinking in América is a record of Kusch's attempt to immerse himself in the indigenous ways of knowing and being. At first glance, his methodology resembles ethnography. He speaks with and observes indigenous people and mestizos in Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. He questions them about their agricultural practices and economic decisions; he observes rituals; he asks women in the market the meaning of indigenous talismans; he interviews shamans; he describes the spatial arrangement and the contents of shrines, altars, and temples; and he reproduces diagrams of archaeological sites, which he then interprets at length. Yet he does not present a "them" to a putative "us." Instead, he offers an inroad to a way of thinking and being that does not follow the logic or fit into the categories of Western social science and philosophy. In his introduction, Walter D. Mignolo discusses Kusch's work and its relation to that of other twentieth-century intellectuals, Argentine history, and contemporary scholarship on the subaltern and decoloniality.
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.
Over the past decade, fossil finds from China have stunned the world, grabbing headlines and changing perceptions with a wealth of new discoveries. Many of these finds were first announced to English speakers in the journal Nature.Rise of the Dragon gathers together sixteen of these original reports, some augmented with commentaries originally published in Nature's "News and Views" section. Perhaps the best known of these new Chinese fossils are the famous feathered dinosaurs from Liaoning Province, which may help end one of the most intense debates in paleontology—whether birds evolved from dinosaurs. But other finds have been just as spectacular, such as the minutely preserved (to the cellular level) animal embryos of the 670 million-year-old Duoshantuo phosphorites, or the world's oldest known fish, from the Chengjiang formation in southwestern Yunnan Province. Rise of the Dragon makes descriptions and detailed discussions of these important finds available in one convenient volume for paleontologists and serious fossil fans.
Four billion years of evolution in 48 pages, told in simple words and stunning images, using the latest scientific research. A must for adults as well as children.