By Ian Tattersall
"Endlessly soaking up and informative. it might be not easy to visualize a larger creation to this most crucial and engaging field.”—Bill Bryson, writer of A brief historical past of approximately Everything
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This ebook chronicles the invention and research of animal fossils present in probably the most very important paleontological websites within the world-Porcupine Cave, situated at an elevation of 9,500 ft within the Colorado Rocky Mountains. With tens of hundreds of thousands of pointed out specimens, this web site has develop into the foremost resource of knowledge at the fauna of North America's larger elevations among nearly 1 million and 600,000 years in the past, a interval that observed the improvement and retreat of glaciers various instances.
British Fossil reptile websites are of overseas significance seeing that they comprise continues to be that fill the time gaps poorly identified somewhere else. They contain wealthy vintage reptile beds which were the resource of dozens of vital specimens. This quantity info all these websites that experience yielded fossil reptiles.
South American ecosystems suffered one of many maximum biogeographical occasions, after the institution of the Panamian land bridge, known as the “Great American Biotic Interchange” (GABI). This refers back to the trade, in numerous stages, of land mammals among the Americas; this occasion began throughout the past due Miocene with the looks of the Holartic Procyonidae (Huayquerian Age) in South the United States and keeps this present day.
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Additional resources for Paleontology: A Brief History of Life
At one time these last were thought related to today’s sea pens, opening the way to construing many Ediacaran forms as precursors of living groups. 2. Dickinsonia, a probable animal that is one of the classic Ediacaran fossil forms. Courtesy of Niles Eldredge. group of altogether uncertain affinities. If this is the case, the core Ediacaran biota was a natural experiment that ultimately failed, leaving no descendants in the post-Precambrian world. Still, this is controversial, and molecular clock estimates suggest that ancestors of today’s metazoans were already in existence 600 million years ago.
Living things were either animals (Kingdom Animalia) or plants (Kingdom Plantae). And although early microscopists such as Antony van Leeuwenhoek had, by the late seventeenth century, already observed and described tiny single-celled bacteria, it was a long time before most biologists realized that things were a whole lot more complicated than Linnaeus and his contemporaries had thought. Attachment to the older view had much to do with the fact that the basic quality believed to distinguish animals from plants was motility—the ability to move around—which meant that van Leeuwenhoek’s tiny single-celled organisms could conveniently be classified into one 38 • cha p ter thr ee group or the other simply on the basis of whether they sat still on a microscope slide or not.
What’s more, most selection is clearly devoted to the maintenance of ongoing integration and function—that is, assuring nonchange. Indeed, looking across the entire range of living things, it is altogether remarkable how many basic genes are still shared by the most disparate-looking organisms. It’s been estimated that we share 40 percent of our genome with a banana. Remarkably, although they have huge amounts of DNA, organisms have rather few genes. In humans, only twenty-five thousand genes control the vast array of functions necessary to produce and maintain a fully functioning adult individual.