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Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Donald R. Prothero , Carl Buell
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Kurzbeschreibung

11. Oktober 2007
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. In this engaging and richly illustrated book, Donald R. 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 creationism," 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 chimpanzee to human. Prothero pays particular attention to the recent discovery of "missing links" that complete the fossil timeline and details the debate between biologists over the mechanisms driving the evolutionary process. Evolution is an absorbing combination of firsthand observation, scientific discovery, and trenchant analysis. With the teaching of evolution still an issue, there couldn't be a better moment for a book clarifying the nature and value of fossil evidence. Widely recognized as a leading expert in his field, Prothero demonstrates that the transformation of life on this planet is far more awe inspiring than the narrow view of extremists.

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Produktinformation

  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 408 Seiten
  • Verlag: Columbia Univ Pr; Auflage: New. (11. Oktober 2007)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0231139624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231139625
  • Vom Hersteller empfohlenes Alter: Ab 22 Jahren
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 26 x 19 x 3 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 236.226 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

This book demonstrates the importance of paleontology to the study of evolution. Publishers Weekly 9/3/07 A must read...Brilliant and masterfully researched. -- Greg Sweatt Fossil News 6/1/2008 Engagingly written and scientifically accurate... Highly recommended. CHOICE 7/1/08 This is one of the best books of its kind. -- Christopher diCarlo Guelph Mercury 7/26/08 The book is very valuable as a demonstration of the quality of the fossil record, which has improved dramatically in the past decade. -- Peter Dodson Reports of the National Center for Science Education Vol. 29, #3 (T)o anyone who wishes to be informed on our current knowledge about fossils and their interpretation, and for anyone who is still not so sure whom to believe, this book will straighten things out and will be an unforgettable reading experience. Zentralblatt fur Geologie und Palaontologie Feb. 2011

Synopsis

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. In this engaging and richly illustrated book, Donald R. 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 creationism," 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 chimpanzee to human.Prothero pays particular attention to the recent discovery of "missing links" that complete the fossil timeline and details the debate between biologists over the mechanisms driving the evolutionary process.

Evolution is an absorbing combination of firsthand observation, scientific discovery, and trenchant analysis. With the teaching of evolution still an issue, there couldn't be a better moment for a book clarifying the nature and value of fossil evidence. Widely recognized as a leading expert in his field, Prothero demonstrates that the transformation of life on this planet is far more awe inspiring than the narrow view of extremists.


In diesem Buch (Mehr dazu)
Einleitungssatz
Many people find the topic of evolution and religion troubling and confusing. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
Ausgewählte Seiten ansehen
Buchdeckel | Copyright | Inhaltsverzeichnis | Auszug | Stichwortverzeichnis
Hier reinlesen und suchen:

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Good reference/Gute Diskussionsgrundlage 13. November 2010
Von Walter
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
A good part of part one of this book concentrates on US creationists and christian scripture.
The science is sound and sources are cited.
There is also an extensive literature recommendation at the end of every chapter.
The only qualm I have with this book is that the illustrations are all in black and white except 12 pages in the middle of the book and the especially illustrations copied from third source are of a substandard quality

If you are in discussion with creationists this is a good reference and also an insight in to background and believes of the creationist movement.
Recommended if you like to get an insight into the current state of palaeontological research and if you like to have a solid base for discussing evolution and fossils.

Ein recht großer Teil des Teil eins des Buches behandelt die US-amerikanische Ausprägung von Kreationismus und biblische Texte.
Dies ist vor allem hilfreich in Diskussionen mit nordamerikanischen Kreationisten.
Der wissenschaftliche Teil ist gut referenziert und am Ende jedes Kapitels gibt es eine umfangreiche Literaturliste.
Das einzig negative an dem Buch ist die Qualität der Abbildungen, vor allem aus anderen Werken kopierte Abbildungen wirken oft wie mit einem Kopierer vervielfältigt. Auch ist die Aufmachung recht schlicht, die Abbildungen sind bis auf 12 Seiten in der Mitte des Buches schwarz-weiß.
Empfohlen für jeden, der eine solide Diskussionsgrundlage und einen Überblick über den aktuellen Stand der Forschung haben möchte.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Höchst empfehlenswert! 4. Mai 2011
Von Niriuq
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Herr Prothero hat mit "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters" ein tolles Buch geschrieben, das die wichtigsten der aus Paläontologie und Geologie stammenden Belege für die Evolutionstheorie in übersichtlicher Weise zusammenstellt, wobei er speziell die logischen und sachlichen Schwächen von Kreationisten und "Intelligent Design"-Anhängern aufzeigt und ihre Argumentation demontiert. Das Buch ist in einem sachlichen, aber nicht zu rigiden Erzählerton geschrieben, der das Interesse des Lesers fesselt, und dürfte nicht nur für Naturwissenschaftler sondern auch für Laien eine verständliche und spannende Lektüre darstellen.

Das fachliche Fundament ist äußerst solide, wie es sich für einen angesehenen Paläontologen wie Herrn Prothero gehört, und die verwendeten Quellen sind gut recherchiert und dokumentiert, was dem interessierten Leser eine Vertiefung in die Thematik erleichtert. Veranschaulicht wird das Gesagte durch etliche Abbildungen und Fotos in Schwarz-weiß, die stets gut ausgewählt erscheinen und den Textinhalt ergänzen sowie näher verdeutlichen - nebst einigen Karrikaturen, die oft äußerst amüsant sind und die Atmosphäre auflockern.

Sprachlich weiß das Buch - wie gesagt - zu fesseln und ist sehr angenehm und spannend zu lesen. Höchst empfehlenswert für jeden, der sich für Paläontologie, Evolutionsbiologie und die Kreationismus-Debatte (sowie ihre Geschichte und Entwicklung, welche ebenfalls dargelegt wird) interessiert!
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Amazon.com: 4.3 von 5 Sternen  118 Rezensionen
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5.0 von 5 Sternen The best popular resouce on the importance of the fossil record to evolution to date 5. November 2007
Von Brian Switek - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
A cursory look at the science section of any bookstore will reveal a current glut of books about evolution and creationism, some works being excellent reviews of the debate while others are not worth the paper they're printed on. Prothero's book falls into the former category, being the best popular resource I've come across to date about evolution and the evidence from the fossil record.

One of the most important (and appealing) aspects of Prothero's book is that he takes a "gloves off" approach to creationism, not waffling on the subject like other recent works (i.e. Whitham's "Where Darwin Meets the Bible"). This more up-front tone allows Prothero to look at the claims of creationists and ID advocates in depth, his excellent review of the formation of the Grand Canyon (the only one I know of in the popular literature) being a fantastic example of melding positive scientific evidence with a thorough refutation of pseudoscience. Still, while Prothero takes a more aggressive approach than other recent authors the book is hardly a long diatribe against creationism; Prothero combines personal experience debating YEC stalwarts like Duane Gish with his extensive knowledge of paleontology, geology, and evolution, delivering a successful one-two punch that is informative on more than just one level.

If I have any complaint about this book, it is only that some of the sections require a little more fine-tuning or focus to bring out the important evolutionary trends. The chapter on Dinosaurs is a good example of this; while Prothero provides a good review of important fossil finds, the origin and diversification of sauropod dinosaurs, ceratopsians, and dromeosaurs could use some further clarification as there is certainly more to the story than was given room for discussion. This is a minor point, though, as the book proceeds at breakneck speed through geologic time, providing an overview of various transitional fossils and important evolutionary changes. Indeed, while this treatment might not entirely satisfy a reader looking for excruciating detail, it is an excellent primer for those largely unfamiliar with the fossil record.

As Prothero himself notes in the book, the fossil record is incredibly rich and paleontologists continue to accumulate knowledge with every new day in the lab and the field, but up until now many writers have avoided listing many of the important fossils with unfamiliar and tongue-twisting names in popular works. Fortunately for us, Prothero breaks from the older approach and acts as a guide to the diversity of the fossil record, recognizing that it is no longer sufficient to place a group of fossils in a straight line in an attempt to convince the reader that evolution has occurred without illuminating the "bushiness" the evolution produces.

In summary, Prothero's book is a joy to read and provides an excellent summary of the current richness of the fossil record for specialist and layman alike, with the added bonus of a comprehensive refutation of creationist claims about the fossil record. If you're looking for a comprehensive primer on evolution, or even a refresher on the current state of fossil finds important to evolution, you need look no further than this book.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent 25. November 2007
Von Santi Tafarella - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
The earth is old, and animals and plants have changed over time. If you know somebody who doubts these two well-established propositions, this is the book to share with them. I remember, as a teenager, in the early 1980s, reading Duane Gish's "Evolution: The Fossils Say No," as well as the other standard texts of creationism, and Prothero's book would have helped me think through (and past) creationism a lot quicker than I did. Prothero's book might have been aptly titled, "Evolution: The Fossils Say Yes." It is a lavishly illustrated, thoroughly readable, and authoritative dismantling of creationism. Because of the patient work of contemporary scientists writing accessible popular texts on evolution, no thoughtful 21st century young person need be intellectually derailed by creationist literature. Dr. Prothero's is perhaps the best of the current spate of these types of books. I especially liked the chapter on the origins of life, and the chapter on the Grand Canyon. One of the strengths of this book is that Dr. Prothero does not dodge difficult questions, but attempts to address them directly. It is always refreshing to read somebody who does not obfuscate or downplay contrary lines of evidence, and who is willing to say "I don't know" when something is uncertain. The book is thus, in addition to its overt purpose, also an excellent model of sane and measured reflection. A good companion volume to Dr. Prothero's book might be "The Counter-Creationism Handbook," by Mark Isaak, recently published by the University of California Press.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Evolution: The Fossils Say `Yes' To It And `No' To Creationism, Including Intelligent Design 12. Februar 2008
Von John Kwok - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
"Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters" is the best book I have ever read emphasizing the importance of the fossil record as the indisputable "facts" of biological evolution, documenting the history of life on Planet Earth. Its publication is long overdue, and yet, remains quite timely, when major publishers like Simon and Schuster have mistakenly published sterling examples of mendacious intellectual pornography like Michael Behe's "The Edge of Evolution". Indeed, Prothero's book ought to be viewed as the one that demolishes forever, Behe's inane assertion (which he had expressed in a private e-mail reply to me that I've posted elsewhere here at Amazon.com) that the fossil record is irrelevant, claiming that the "truth" will be found only at the molecular level (More than anything else, that terse comment from Behe merely demonstrates his profound ignorance and understanding of the fossil record. Incidentally, Prothero refers to Behe as an "Intelligent Design creationist".). It also demonstrates the absurdity of creationist claims from the likes of Behe's Discovery Institute colleagues Paul Nelson, Jonathan Wells, and Geoffrey Simmons, among others, that the fossil record does not have "transitional forms". Indeed, as Prothero clearly shows his readers again and again, the history of life on our planet is replete with "transitional forms" documenting the evolutionary transitions from fish to tetrapods, from terrestrial carnivorous dinosaurs to flying birds, from primitive ungulate mammals to whales, and from apes to mankind. He also stresses the relevance of the fossil record to other aspects of evolutionary biology, noting its relevance with respect to molecular - as well as comparative anatomical - data. All of this is told in clear, concise, and persuasive, prose that often reaches the same literary heights attained by Prothero's mentor and friend, the late Stephen Jay Gould; without question this splendid book ought to be regarded as among the finest published last year.

Prothero's book is also a superb guide to the history and - regrettably - ever-present danger posed by Intelligent Design advocates and other creationists. The first three chapters emphasize the profound intellectual differences between valid mainstream science like contemporary evolutionary biology and pseudoscientific religious nonsense like "scientific" creationism in all of its flavors, especially Intelligent Design. Prothero offers a detailed look at the scientific method in the very first chapter, comparing and contrasting it with creationism (He also provides a superb introductory guide too to the writing of the Judeo-Christian Old Testament.). The second chapter is an in-depth exploration of creationism, tracing its roots in early 20th Century American Fundamentalist Protestant Christianity, and, of course, describing the emergence of Intelligent Design and its zealous promotion by the Discovery Institute, the Seattle, Washington-based "conservative" think tank (However, much to my amazement, he does not emphasize sufficiently, the important work done by philosopher of science Barbara Forrest and biologist Paul Gross in their book "Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design" in exposing the Discovery Institute's crypto-Fascist agenda for a future United States. Yet, to his credit, he does acknowledge that agenda by referring to its infamous "Wedge Document" while noting the Discovery Institute's deceitful promotion of Intelligent Design at the expense of valid mainstream science like contemporary evolutionary biology.). Finally, in Chapter Three, Prothero exposes both the intellectual inanity of "Flood Geology" and the popular creationist pastime of "quote mining"; the latter, a practice that's still popular with Discovery Institute Senior Fellows Michael Behe, William Dembski and Jonathan Wells.

The next two chapters comprise an excellent introduction to the history and science of evolutionary biology and the theory and practice of cladistic systematics. In Chapter Four, Prothero discusses the history of evolutionary biology, tracing its intellectual roots from the ancient Greeks to Lamarck, Darwin, and those biologists who became the "architects" of the Modern Synthesis Theory of Evolution (also known as the so-called "Neo-Darwinian Synthesis", since it merged population genetics with paleontology, biogeography, ecology and systematics). He also discusses some of the current controversies in contemporary evolutionary biology, beginning with evolutionary developmentaly biology, better known as "Evo - Devo", and, ending, of course, with punctuated equilibrium, noting how often it has been twisted and bent out of shape by creationists of all stripes, who have excelled only in "quote mining" from the published scientific and popular publications written by Stephen Jay Gould and Niles Eldredge; the two American invertebrate paleobiologists responsible for "punk eke". In Chapter Five, Prothero offers an especially lucid account of the theory and history of cladistic systematics, emphasizing its importance as a tool for studying both Earth's current biodiversity and its history of life.

In "Part II Evolution? The Fossils Say YES!", Prothero gives us a whirlwind tour of the history of life on Planet Earth, emphasizing major episodes in the history of life on Planet Earth, beginning with the origin of life, and culminating with the emergence of mankind. In Chapter Six, Prothero offers clear, persuasive evidence for the relative ease in creating life from inert organic compounds, brushing aside creationist arguments to the contrary. He debunks the outdated notion of a "Cambrian Explosion" - which remains popular with creationists, including Intelligent Design advocates - in Chapter 7, observing that the fossil record points to instead, a "Cambrian Slow Fuse", involving the gradual diversification of hard-part skeletonized fauna over the span of eighty million years, from the Late Precambrian through early Ordovician. He discusses the emergence of tetrapods from limbless fish in Chapter 10, the rise of early amniotes (which includes the reptiles, birds and mammals) in Chapter 11, and the evolution of flight in avian dinosaurs in Chapter 12, demonstrating the existence of countless "transitional forms". Further chapters are devoted to the origin of whales (Chapter 14) and humans (Chapter 15), and thus, offer a terse, but still thorough, glimpse, at the history of life on this planet. Prothero's coverage is so superb, that I am surprised by his all too brief references to mass extinctions, especially when their very existence ought to raise ample questions about an Intelligent Designer and his ability to "design" life that is extinction resistant.

In the final chapter of his book (Chapter 16), Prothero makes a truly compelling argument explaining why creationism is a clear and present danger, not only to American education, but indeed, the very survival of the United States too. He quotes from an extended excerpt from the Los Angeles Times, describing creationist Ken Ham's indoctrination of young school children against evolution, conjuring up - at least for me - an image of Adolf Hitler's infamous Nuremberg Nazi Party rallies. He blames the advent of creationism since the late 1950s for fostering scientific illiteracy among Americans, and noting that this threatens our future economic success as we compete with other, better educated, countries like those in Europe and East Asia in a global economy increasingly dominated by science and technology. He also argues persuasively that denial of evolution is harmful to our health and well being, graphically illustrating this point by reminding us of the unsuccessful 1984 baboon to human heart transplant by a creationist Loma Linda University surgeon. Prothero's dire warning is a message I have read before, especially from Niles Eldredge, but here, Prothero's remarks are most compelling, and ones that ought to be heeded by all (Not surprisingly, Prothero compares and contrasts current denial of evolution with that of global warming, and finds obvious parallels with both.).
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A fascinating whirlwind tour through the fossil record 4. Dezember 2007
Von Puck Mendelssohn - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is, simply, a stunning book. It accomplishes two tasks which, it seems to me, are too seldom done in the same work.

First, the book is a thorough, devastating and decisive critique of creationism. Prothero does not settle for summarizing the creationists' main points and announcing, in broad and general terms, why those points fail. He destroys creationist arguments "root and branch," with patient and careful attention to detail, from flood geology to the history of religion, from misconceptions about the Cambrian explosion to the verbal shell-game of so-called "intelligent design" creationism; the result is a veritable evolutionary deluge, which leaves no creationist argument living.

Second, this is the most thorough and fascinating treatment of the fossil evidence for a wide range of evolutionary transformations I have ever seen in a book addressed to a general readership. The origins of the major phyla; the evolution of birds from dinosaurs; the origin of mammals from non-mammalian ancestors; all of these and more are treated in detail, with many clear and helpful drawings by Carl Buell to guide those of us who are not so adept at understanding anatomical lingo. "Everyone knows" that the fossil record is woefully inadequate to inform us much on these subjects; and what everyone knows is wrong. We all know archaeopteryx, for example, but most popular articles and books which address it fail to mention that archaeopteryx is only one of a whole range of interesting dinosaurian/avian transitional fossils; Prothero treats us to a glimpse of the real richness of the fossil record in this and other areas.

Often, books which address creationism in detail lack deep and detailed treatment of real science; and often, books which deal well with biological issues ignore or give only summary discussion of creationism. This book is well worth reading either for its treatment of creationism or for its treatment of the wonders of the fossil record; and these two go hand in hand because ultimately, of course, the best answer to creationism's negative arguments is the positive evidence for evolution.

Somewhere out there is a creationist who is looking for a good read. Would you like to better understand geology, paleontology and biology, whether it's to "know your enemy" or just to improve your general state of knowledge? Have you heard it said that there are no transitional forms in the fossil record? Would you like to see for yourself? I can think of no better book to read.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Another Smoking Gun 26. November 2007
Von foxfire1013 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Every once in a while, a book is written that completely changes how one thinks about life. This book is a MUST for every child or adult who has ever been captivated about dinosaurs and fossils. The Palentological evidence also relates to the current difference of opinion between science and certain fundamentalistic religion.

This book is another "smoking gun", distinctly pointing out how Paleontology complements the evidence of Molecular Biology. The first part of the book is devoted to understanding the issue. Chapter 5 "Systematics and Evolution" is very relevant in understanding the evidence in Part 2 of the book. Plus one gets a really good explanation of the "Flood Geology" perspective and the evidence that does not support that illusion.

The second part of this book is exquisite: One sees the evidence, learning how to do so by the expertise of the author (been there as opposed to just reading about it). The excellent drawings and recommended readings at the end of each chapter just encourages one to learn more.

Another objective of the book is clearly spelled out by explicit examples of how people with a particular fundamental religious agenda would abandon honor and reason, redefine science, to arrive at a predetermined conclusion. In other words, I think the author is really annoyed at the "there-are-no-transitional-fossils" from non-scientists who make big bucks on the talking-head circuit. Cool...those jerks irritate me too.

In summary, I LOVE this book - The climb up the cladistic tree of life is so well done. I want to learn more...
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