Applying skills honed in the controversial field of paleoanthropology, Shipman (The Evolution of Racism: Human Differences and the Use and Abuse of Science, LJ 6/1/94) draws from a diversity of scientific fields to present a comprehensive analysis of the ideas explaining how adaptations needed for animal flight came about. Using the well-known Archaeopteryx fossils as a keystone, she discusses historical and current hypotheses about bird evolution, along with the provocative debates they spurred. Shipman draws the reader into the debate by providing the science and physical evidence for each point of view, along with rebuttals of its critics. Highly recommended for interested lay readers and science buffs.?Frank Reiser, Nassau Community Coll., Garden City, N.Y.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
An anthropologist (Penn State Univ.) examines one of the most famous fossil organisms ever discovered, and discusses its meaning in the ongoing debates about evolution. The first hint of Archaeopteryx--the impression in stone of a solitary feather--was unearthed in the limestone quarries of Solnhofen, Germany, in 1861. At an estimated age of 150 million years, it was immediately hailed as representing the earliest known bird. The fossil, and seven more specimens later uncovered, reveal a creature much like many small dinosaurs--but with the unmistakable impressions of feathers around its forelimbs. The first discovered skeleton appeared to be a clear-cut example of the sort of intermediate form, part reptile and part bird, that Darwin's brand-new theory of evolution needed to bolster its case. But was it really? One German scientist tried to rename it Griphosaurus, classifying it not as a bird, but as a feathered coelurosaur. Others argued that the feather impressions were faked--a claim that still surfaces in anti-evolutionary tracts. Thomas Huxley led the evolutionists' countercharge in several seminal articles, deploying evidence for the now widely accepted position that birds are the direct descendants of dinosaurs. Shipman (The Evolution of Racism, 1994) presents a detailed history of the fossils and the debate around them, including quotations from many of the original articles. Shipman pays particular attention to the question of flight itself--how and why over many generations, a small dinosaur developed anatomical structures that allowed it to take to the air. In the process of answering this question, the author investigates aerodynamics, the anatomy of birds and other flying creatures from insects to pterosaurs to bats, modern theories of dinosaur life and ecology, and other issues that will fascinate natural-history buffs. Lively and well written, offering a good sense not only of the intriguing first bird, but of the way science works. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
Book in very good condition, although may have been in a humid environment as some buckling or page warping has occurred. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kimm J. Hamann
What a great read. Deals with much of how and why birds evolved flight and how archaeopteryx fits into the picture. Read morePublished 20 months ago by craftycrofty
Very suitable for all spans of fossil knowledge and vernacular. Shipman rights very well and can appeal to the amateur and experienced scientists alike.Published 23 months ago by Claire
Pat Shipman is an anthropologist at Pennsylvania State University, as well as the author/coauthor of books such as The Animal Connection: A New Perspective on What Makes Us Human,... Read morePublished on May 7, 2013 by Steven H Propp
Archaeopteryx is known as the first bird, and its fossils are strikingly beautiful. They are also still extremely controversial, even 150 years after their discovery in Germany. Read morePublished on August 23, 2012 by Craig Rowland
Very well written tale about the possible ancestor of birds. I should think that even casual bird watchers would enjoy learning the theories of evolution of their favorite... Read morePublished on October 26, 2005 by Jessie loves to read
Archaeopteryx has aroused the interest of specialists and the general public alike since its first fossils were discovered in the 1860s, only a short time after The Origin of... Read morePublished on February 16, 2005 by John Duncan
This is a rapidly evolving subject and things have moved on since the book was written.
The author has researched very intensively and the book is heavy on facts,... Read more
This book is rich in detail and a great study of the tactics taken by paleontolgists in proposing theories and testing those proposals by working with fossils and similar living... Read morePublished on April 1, 2003 by A. G. Plumb