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Bringing Fossils To Life: An Introduction To Paleobiology Paperback – May 8, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0073661704 ISBN-10: 0073661708 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math; 2 edition (May 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0073661708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0073661704
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Donald R. Prothero has taught geology for over 33 years as Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and currently at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, CA. He earned M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in geological sciences from Columbia University in 1982, and a B.A. in geology and biology (highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of California, Riverside. He is currently the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 33 books and over 250 scientific papers, including five leading geology textbooks and three trade books as well as edited symposium volumes and other technical works. He is on the editorial board of Skeptic magazine, and in the past has served as an associate or technical editor for Geology, Paleobiology and Journal of Paleontology. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Linnaean Society of London, and has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Science Foundation. He has served as the Vice President of the Pacific Section of SEPM (Society of Sedimentary Geology), and five years as the Program Chair for the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. In 1991, he received the Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society for the outstanding paleontologist under the age of 40. He has also been featured on several television documentaries, including episodes of Paleoworld (BBC), Prehistoric Monsters Revealed (History Channel), Entelodon and Hyaenodon (National Geographic Channel) and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (BBC).

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dean Welch on September 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
In my opinion, this book provides a great introduction to the study of paleobiology. It is an introductory book in the sense that it does not require any previous knowledge, but it is a serious textbook that would typically require more that just casual reading.

The first few chapters cover the basic material need to understand the history of life on Earth. It starts with fossilization and fossils, which provide the currently existing record of life in the past. The next few chapters cover the concepts of species, cladistics and evolution. There are also chapters on functional morphology which is very important when trying to determine how animals lived by studying their fossils and paleoecology which is important to understanding how they interacted. This material provides the backbone for the rest of the book. I thought it was really well done and was definitely written by someone that wanted the reader to understand the material.

The next several chapters cover the evolution of animals. It is broken up in terms of phyla, with one or more phyla being covered per chapter. The coverage is not excessively deep for any phyla, if it were the book would be far too large.

The final two chapters were quite interesting. One covered the fossil evidence for animal behavior. The other covered the evolution of plants. Since the evolution of plants seems to be ignored in most books on evolution, I found this to be particularly nice.

There is no coverage of human evolution. I thought this was a good choice because there are so many other resources for this topic.

In addition to being a good book on paleobiology, I thought this was a good book on science in general.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Curtis Pehl on February 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book has got to be one of the finest introductory paleontonlogy books on the market. I actually took Paleontology class from Don Prothero and found that this book was an excellent guide and very well written. At times I could hear his vocie reading the chapters to me. Thre are considerable references to outside sources and Don does an excellent job of removing many of the rote memorization that introductory books of this type often have. Some sections appear to be dwelled on for much longer than seems necessary, but about a week later you find yourself realizing that those subjects really are deserving of the in depth coverage they recieve. I cannot heap enough praise on this book.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Libin Zhang on May 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Like a fellow reviewer, I also took the a class from Don Prothero (using this book, obviously) at Caltech, and I actually did hear his voice reading the book back at us. The book is fairly detailed for a general class, while still maintaining excellent readability, since Don uses a very conversational tone. It should be enough for an undergraduate interested in the subject. He also includes classic research experiments along with the descriptive passages and offers rare insight into what paleontologists do besides looking at specimens.
For the advanced specialist in geobiology, something more detailed would probably be necessary, but if you're simply interested in knowing about fossils and paleontology theory, this book is not bad at all.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
Excellent coverage of both the biological and geological aspects of this most fascinating science. Well illustrated with both 'further readings' and bibliography. Includes glossary. An essential text suitable for both the interested enthusiast and first/second year university students.
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By Leslee on January 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
So far this is a rather good textbook. I find it easy to read an very informative. The chapters are not disgustingly long so it encourages others to read for longer periods of time. Also it is good to supplement with Sedimentary Geology by the same author. These two books together are very good tools.
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