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Paleontology: A Brief History of Life (Templeton Science and Religion Series) [Kindle Edition]

Ian Tattersall
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"Endlessly absorbing and informative. It would be hard to imagine a better introduction to this most important and fascinating field.”—Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything

Paleontology: A Brief History of Life is the fifth title published in the Templeton Science and Religion Series, in which scientists from a wide range of fields distill their experience and knowledge into brief tours of their respective specialties.
In this volume, Ian Tattersall, a highly esteemed figure in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and paleontology, leads a fascinating tour of the history of life and the evolution of human beings.
 
Starting at the very beginning, Tattersall examines patterns of change in the biosphere over time, and the correlations of biological events with physical changes in the Earth’s environment. He introduces the complex of evolutionary processes, situates human beings in the luxuriant diversity of Life (demonstrating that however remarkable we may legitimately find ourselves to be, we are the product of the same basic forces and processes that have driven the evolutionary histories of all other creatures), and he places the origin of our extraordinary spiritual sensibilities in the context of the exaptational and emergent acquisition of symbolic cognition and thought.
 
Concise and yet comprehensive, historically penetrating and yet up-to-date, responsibly factual and yet engaging, Paleontology serves as the perfect entrée to science's greatest story.



Editorial Reviews

Book Description

"Endlessly absorbing and informative. It would be hard to imagine a better introduction to this most important and fascinating field." mdash;Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything

Paleontology: A Brief History of Life is the fifth title published in the Templeton Science and Religion Series, in which scientists from a wide range of fields distill their experience and knowledge into brief tours of their respective specialties. In this volume, Ian Tattersall, a highly esteemed figure in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and paleontology, leads a fascinating tour of the history of life and the
evolution of human beings.

Starting at the very beginning, Tattersall examines patterns of change in the biosphere over time, and the correlations of biological events with physical changes in the Earth’s environment. He introduces the complex of evolutionary processes, situates human beings in the luxuriant diversity of Life (demonstrating that however remarkable we may legitimately find ourselves to be, we are the product of the same basic forces and processes that have driven the evolutionary histories of all other creatures), and he places the origin of our extraordinary spiritual sensibilities in the context of the exaptational and emergent acquisition of symbolic cognition and thought.

Concise and yet comprehensive, historically penetrating and yet up-to-date, responsibly factual and yet engaging, Paleontology serves as the perfect entrée to science’s greatest story.

 

About the Author

Ian Tattersall is a curator in the division of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Trained in archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge, and in vertebrate paleontology at Yale, Tattersall has concentrated his research since the 1960s in three main areas: the analysis of the human fossil record and its integration with evolutionary theory, the origin of human cognition, and the study of the ecology and systematics of the lemurs of Madagascar. He is also a prominent interpreter of human paleontology to the public.


Product Details

  • File Size: 1239 KB
  • Print Length: 238 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1599473429
  • Publisher: Templeton Press (July 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005J5ROCI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,100 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars depth and interest April 27, 2012
By david
Format:Audible Audio Edition
I am retired so bit of a fossil myself. I am on my third listen to this book I have enjoyed it so much. With understandable depth (not a pun) and adequate challenge to my knowledge level I cannot leave it alone. Tied with other readings and my personal monologue of 50,000 words discussing the evolution/creation debate it is a valuable resource. I cannot repeat enough the great information and kindle professional reading of this work. I also read 'Your Inner Fish' by Neil Shubin - also an excellent book on fossil records. If this is your interest level you will get a lot out of this work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paleo July 21, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is excellent book that providea a brief overview of the field of paleontology. A great book for nonscientists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Paleontology A Brief History of Life" by Ian Tattersall
It is difficult for human beings to grasp the very long time scales and complicated processes that are responsible for the evolution of life on Earth. “Paleontology,” by Ian Tattersall, is intended to be a brief introduction, something like a field guide, or a tourist manual to the history of life. It succeeds as a lucid summary by an expert.
This book was written under a confining agenda, since it was commissioned by the Templeton Science and Religion Series. It fits within a framework of “short and compelling books that are concise and convenient…for a general audience with interests in the sciences or humanities…”
The good news is that this book fulfills its agenda, and can be counted on by the general reader for its brevity and authority. The bad news is that Ian Tattersall has written much better books, and that much better books already exist to help the general reader to understand the history of life. This book is too rushed and compressed to be truly evocative of the wonder of its subject matter.
This book begins with the origin of planet Earth and it ends with the cognitive revolution of the human brain. It covers about four billion years in two hundred pages. Examples of its fine passages include this one: “ Sit back and watch the passing parade of animal life changing before your eyes as the epochs unroll.”
An example of its frantic, over-stuffed prose would be: “Taeniodonts, tillodonts, pantodonts, and the archaic ungulate genera all virtually disappeared.” Thus we are too quickly swept along through epochs and eras, animals, bone structures, fish, frogs and people.
“Paleontology” is at its best when Tattersall is discussing human evolution, on which he is a world-class expert.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Logical February 26, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An enjoyable romp through the last four and a half billion years. Tattersall touches on all of the interesting aspects of geological and lifeforms development to the present. The work is enjoyable because all aspects of animal life development are sequentially described as they evolved. The closing chapters wrap the myriad details into a pleasing and thought provoking whole. Recent discoveries are included in a way that is informative and perfect for tying the time span together.
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