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The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero 
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Post The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
I've been exploring the world of fossils lately (thanks to Flann!). It's really quite a fascinating subject. If there's interest, maybe we can start a discussion. I would suggest this one by Donald Prothero . . .

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https://www.amazon.com/Story-Life-25-Fo ... +Evolution

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Every fossil tells a story. Best-selling paleontology author Donald R. Prothero describes twenty-five famous, beautifully preserved fossils in a gripping scientific history of life on Earth. Recounting the adventures behind the discovery of these objects and fully interpreting their significance within the larger fossil record, Prothero creates a riveting history of life on our planet.

The twenty-five fossils portrayed in this book catch animals in their evolutionary splendor as they transition from one kind of organism to another. We witness extinct plants and animals of microscopic and immense size and thrilling diversity. We learn about fantastic land and sea creatures that have no match in nature today. Along the way, we encounter such fascinating fossils as the earliest trilobite, Olenellus; the giant shark Carcharocles; the "fishibian" Tiktaalik; the "Frogamander" and the "Turtle on the Half-Shell"; enormous marine reptiles and the biggest dinosaurs known; the first bird, Archaeopteryx; the walking whale Ambulocetus; the gigantic hornless rhinoceros Paraceratherium, the largest land mammal that ever lived; and the Australopithecus nicknamed "Lucy," the oldest human skeleton. We meet the scientists and adventurers who pioneered paleontology and learn about the larger intellectual and social contexts in which their discoveries were made. Finally, we find out where to see these splendid fossils in the world's great museums.

Ideal for all who love prehistoric landscapes and delight in the history of science, this book makes a treasured addition to any bookshelf, stoking curiosity in the evolution of life on Earth.


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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
Another good one, Donald, is The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World's Oldest Symbols by Genevieve Von Petzinger. https://www.amazon.com/First-Signs-Unlo ... st+symbols



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Wed Oct 19, 2016 9:49 am
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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
djkirk wrote:
Another good one, Donald, is The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World's Oldest Symbols by Genevieve Von Petzinger. https://www.amazon.com/First-Signs-Unlo ... st+symbols

That does look good, djkirk. Have you read it?


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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
Yes, a good account of cave symbols, where they are at, and how often they occur. I was surprised that over a 30 thousand year period 32 of these symbols re-occur over and over. It gives one the impression that over several millennia, folks were dealing with a similar idea. If it has it fault, it's that the author hints at an educated guess at what the symbols mean yet doesn't deliver. I'm certainly going to look at the 25 fossil book you recommended above. Plus I'm sorry, I referred to you as Donald instead of GEO. I'm new to this chat room.



Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:41 pm
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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
geo wrote:
If there's interest, maybe we can start a discussion.


I searched two local book stores for "25 Fossils" and ended up ordering a copy from amazon (pricy, 34$). I found it interesting that there are so few books dealing directly with skeletal fossils on the store shelves. Paleontology seems not to be a highly popular subject. In thinking on the subject, I realize that paleontology is more often just referenced in the larger scale discussion of evolution rather than through stand alone book volumes. I also realized that I've relied almost exclusively on articles and or documentary films for my information about the fossil discoveries.

I'm there with you in any discussion of the Prothero book.



Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:52 am
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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
-Hi Taylor, this is good news! I'm almost ready to start reading.

Agreed that this is a pricey book. I bought mine from Abebooks for a little less. I do think the physical book is the way to go because there are a lot of illustrations that wouldn't work well on a Kindle.

You're right that there aren't a lot of paleontology books out there. I'm still looking at Gregory S. Paul's The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs. But Prothero focuses at least some attention on birds and whales, which is ultimately why I selected this one.

Great to have you on board.


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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
A good guide for this layman is The Complete World of Human Evolution by Stringer & Andrews. This is more of a reference book which provides the most agreed upon timeline of where the different species were and when. I'm going to buy the Prothero book and will up for a discussion as well. Maybe we can get the author of join us?



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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
Thanks, djkirk. Welcome board!

The Complete World of Human Evolution sounds like a great book too. The story of human evolution is changing fast. I think there are two recent discoveries of hominids since the last revision of this book.

I'm hesitant to ask for author participation at this point. Let's see if we actually get a good discussion going first. Some books are great to read, but there's not much to discuss. I don't know that Prospero's book is the type that will lead to discussion or not. That's my opinion anyway. Taylor, what do you think?


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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
djkirk wrote:
Another good one, Donald, is The First Signs: Unlocking the Mysteries of the World's Oldest Symbols by Genevieve Von Petzinger. https://www.amazon.com/First-Signs-Unlo ... st+symbols


djkirk wrote:
Yes, a good account of cave symbols, where they are at, and how often they occur. I was surprised that over a 30 thousand year period 32 of these symbols re-occur over and over.


Palaeolithic cave art is something else indeed, the art and associated symbols its been proposed come from the development of some unknown form of spoken language. Its interesting to think of how early homo sapiens communicated 'follow me' or 'look at this'. The art what's left to us as evidence for the rise of a theory of mind, The early recognition that we are social beings. George Zarkadakis writes about palaeolithic cave art and carvings in his book 'In Our Own Image' 'Savior or Destroyer? The History and Future of Artificial Intelligence'

djkirk wrote:
Maybe we can get the author of join us?
.

I agree that the potential for author involvement sounds exciting but Geo is correct, The book may simply not lend itself to an active discussion which sometimes happens when a book is agreeable. Also as we see with the Richard Carrier discussion we @booktalk can protract a discussion for a long time, I don't envision Prothero desiring to commite to the long haul. For instance I myself am still reading the Carrier book ten months on now!.



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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
Good point GEO and Taylor, I agree.



Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:13 pm
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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
djkirk wrote:
Good point GEO and Taylor, I agree.

We can revisit this idea anytime. Perhaps we can invite the author to an online chat session after we've discussed the book. We've done that before.

I think we can just start discussing the book right here. Since there's only three of us, I don't see the necessity for having 25 different threads. But I'm just tossing ideas out and really have no preference either way.

I don't know yet how much Prothero will tackle Creationist dogma that rejects evolution, but I think some of that is inevitable. For this discussion I'd suggest that we focus as much as possible on the evidence that shows how evolution works rather than get bogged down by arguments against Creationism. (This is a reminder to myself as anything.) I think we can assume that evolution is true for purposes of this discussion. If this thread gets too far off topic, we can simply create a separate thread.

Edit: On the other hand, we can present the Creationist argument to Fossil X and discuss how the evidence holds up. ?

I haven't started reading yet, but the author opens Chapter 1 with this quote from Darwin's Origin of Species, which is often referred to as "Darwin's Dilemma":

Darwin wrote:
If the theory (of evolution) be true, it is indisputable that before the lowest Cambrian strata was deposited, long periods elapsed . . . and the world swarmed with living creatures. (Yet) to the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these earlier periods . . . I can give no satisfactory answer.

Where is all that fossil evidence for these earlier life forms? I can't wait to find out.

You guys, please check in when you get your books! I'll keep posting "filler" to bump this thread in hopes of getting others to join in.


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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
Hey Geo :) I like the idea of a casual discussion layout. I should have my copy by this coming weekend, so till I'm reading I'll just try and add my thoughts to the subject as we go along.

Darwin's dilemma seems an appropriate place to start as the Precambrian and Cambrian explosion are somewhat in question exactly for the seeming lack of undeniable fossil evidence. It will be interesting to see if Prothero can put to rest that controversial period of earths evolution.



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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
I ordered my book yesterday. I'll let you know when I get it.



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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
From the first chapter, here's an artist's conception of shallow tidal pools that gave rise to early life on our planet. Here are microbial mats, a primitive kind of bacteria that has existed for billions of years on our planet.

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Post Re: The Story of Life in 25 Fossils by Donald R. Prothero
My book arrived yesterday, reading away.



Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:10 am
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