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Evolution [Hardcover]

Jean-Baptiste De Panafieu , Patrick Gries , Linda Asher
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 15, 2011 160980368X 978-1609803681 Updated
Now updated and presented in a smaller format with fifteen new gorgeous photographs, Evolution steps beyond the debate and presents the undeniable truth of Darwin's theory, showing through skeletons both obscure and commonplace, but always intriguing, the process by which life has transformed itself, again and again.

Here is a powerful pairing: two hundred stark black-and-white photographs produced by Patrick Gries in collaboration with the Museum of Natural History in Paris are accompanied by text from scientist and documentarian Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu. The result is a revealing collection that profoundly illustrates the key themes of evolution--homology, convergence, adaptation, polymorphism, and more. 

Spectacular, mysterious, elegant, or grotesque, the vertebrate skeletons of Earth's fossil record carry within them the traces of several billion years of evolution. Evolution, a resounding success on its initial publication in 2007, is a unique and beautiful attempt to provide a map of those billion years in time. 

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Evolution + Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley's Curious Collection
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JEAN-BAPTISTE DE PANAFIEU is a professor of natural sciences and a doctor of biological oceanography, as well as a documentarian and author. Photographer PATRICK GRIES has photographed over two thousand artworks for the Quai Branly Museum and collaborated with the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art. LINDA ASHER is a former fiction editor at the New Yorker and the translator of works by writers such as Victor Hugo, Georges Simenon, and Milan Kundera.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press; Updated edition (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160980368X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609803681
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent resource on evolution November 19, 2007
There are plenty of glossy, coffee table books out there, but while many are filled with beautiful photography very few offer anything of value in the text. Evolution by Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu (text) and Patrick Gries (photography) is a striking exception, however, the informative prose wonderfully framing some of the best black and white photography that I've seen.

There is something strangely alluring about skeletons; they are not only the functional architecture of the bodies of vertebrates, but also have a strange aesthetic charm, hundreds of millions of years of evolution creating forms that even the most imaginative among us could not dream up. For some creatures, all that we have are bones, the great fossil halls of the world's museums featuring creatures that we are only familiar with due to occasions when taphonomy smiled upon the fortunes of paleontologists that would not be born for millions of years later, themselves creatures that did not have to come into existence had evolution taken a different turn. Indeed, when we want to understand evolution through the mysteries of osteology it is often to fossils that we turn, but evolution is not a directional process with a beginning and an end, the impressiveness of fossils sometimes overshadowing what the bones of living creatures can tell us about evolution. This is the domain of the new book be de Panafieu and Gries, peeling back the layers of flesh that cover bones that will one day be relics of an inaccessible past themselves, and the result is nothing short of impressive.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loses a little in this smaller version December 19, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Terrific text and wonderful pictures, but I have to say that if you've seen the older, larger version of this book, you may be disappointed. I bought this for my 8 year old who loves animal skeletons. It's sized right for him, but we'd previously had the coffee table book from the library and I wish I'd bought that instead (As I write this, it's still available, used, at less than fifty dollars from third party sellers here on Amazon). It's huge and a little unwieldy, but with that larger version, the pictures take your breath away. Here, well...not so much. In fact, when they're spread over two pages in this smaller version it's actually hard to see what's missing deep in the binding. I recommend that you look for a good used copy of the larger, older edition. This smaller format just doesn't do the photos justice.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reference February 22, 2008
My 5 year old daughter, who has declared she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up, loves this book! We paged through and looked at many skeletons and compared differences. Then the next night we watched a Planet Earth segment and related the living animal to the skeleton. Very cool book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just got this today. I bought it as an illustrator and concept artist to be used primarily for reference. The photos are nothing short of brilliant. However the relatively small physical size of the book is a little disappointing and makes the photos difficult to really appreciate - its smaller than a standard A4 page. In addition there are some photos that are double page - however the seam of the book cuts these photos in two - straight through the middle - and with the additional bulk of the book seeing these photos completely is next to impossible. Making it even more painful to use this book for reference. Had the publisher merely printed this book in a larger format - it would be an indispensable source of reference and its photos might have been fully appreciated. Ive yet to read the book - but this wasnt the reason i bought it - i havent seen too many books that show full skeletons of animals and this was why i bought this book - hence the three stars. If anyone knows of any books that have great and extensive pictures of animal bones plz do msg me. Cheers.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars eVOLUTION December 23, 2007
This book is simply gorgeous, skeletons as art objects, interesting to everyone including young boys. The best coffee table book of the year, except maybe for the U of Chicago's book on deep sea creatures that is just as beautiful. A tie for best of the year.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning photos, instructive text December 1, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is easy to spend hours with this book. The amazing b&w photographs are spare and beautiful, and invite the reader/viewer to look for similarities and differences in all sorts of vertebrates (and a few invertebrates too!)

I think what I did not expect (and which is explained in the text), is that I got a real sense of all of these skeletons as once belonging to individuals; my cousins in the animal kingdom and not just the apes, either. Although, there's one frontal picture of the skull of a small ape/monkey/tree-dweller that looks just like a modern human skull. I mean *just like!*

The text includes rational discussion about evolution and the teaching thereof, plus introduced this American reader to some French scientists and naturalists from the 18th century who were arriving at various non-theological answers to questions about life on earth.

Really, really good. I have seldom encountered a "coffee table" book that offered so much intellectual and visual stimulation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a picture book
Picked this book as an artist as reference for its pictures but was surprised by its content. Very educational as well as beautiful.
Published 3 months ago by Lucy
3.0 out of 5 stars Stunning photos merit careful scrutiny...and better writing!
The starkness of these photographs caught my eye in a book review in the Wall Street Journal, so I bought the book. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Molly Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
I encountered this book at the home of a friend and my kids and I were entranced by the skeleton photos inside without even knowing the subject matter or reading any of the words. Read more
Published 16 months ago by C. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Muy buenas fotografias
Es un libro que buscaba hace un tiempo, el arte en las fotografías que ilustran este libro son un plus que bien valen la pena.
Published 18 months ago by CRISTIAN BECKER ALVAREZ
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and intellectually nourishing
I don't think I need to repeat what many reviewers have already written, but I simply want to add that I absolutely LOVE this book. Read more
Published on March 7, 2012 by Maryasha
3.0 out of 5 stars Introduction with many errors
This book is good overall. As a professional evolutionary biologist and entomologist I was disappointed in the several if not many mistakes made by the author in the General... Read more
Published on January 22, 2012 by Nom de plume
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and scientific photographs but not good binding
About 200 scientific pictures of skulls and skeletons are beautifully illustrated in the view of comparative morphology. Read more
Published on January 6, 2012 by Countryman
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable book, surprisingly informative
This book is divided into 44 mini-articles about various topics in skeletal anatomy, then photographs of skeletons illustrating that topic. Read more
Published on November 18, 2011 by T. Cobbs
5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution
Thsi book made the day for our daughter, who is a biological anthropologist. It is superb.
Published on December 25, 2009 by Cabrina G. Moran
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Gift Idea!
I bought this book for a high school graduate whose interests are sculpture and drawings of skulls. I thought he would appreciate this book.
Published on May 27, 2008 by R. A. McBride
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