A History of Life in 100 Fossils showcases 100 key fossils that together illustrate the evolution of life on earth. Iconic specimens have been selected from the renowned collections of the two premier natural history museums in the world, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, and the Natural History Museum, London. The fossils have been chosen not only for their importance in the history of life, but also because of the visual story they tell. This stunning book is perfect for all readers because its clear explanations and beautiful photographs illuminate the significance of these amazing pieces, including 500 million-year-old Burgess Shale fossils that provide a window into early animal life in the sea, insects encapsulated by amber, the first fossil bird Archaeopteryx, and the remains of our own ancestors.
Paul D. Taylor and Aaron O'Dea
PAUL D. TAYLOR has worked in the Department of Paleontology at the Natural History Museum, London, for 30 years, heading the Invertebrate and Plants division between 1990 and 2003. His research focuses on fossil and living bryozoans, with subsidiary interests in evolution, paleoecology, and fossil folklore. He is the author of Fossil Invertebrates. AARON O'DEA is an Associate Staff Scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. He uses the fossil record to understand past climactic changes in the seas and their role in extinction and speciation, and how life in the past can help us predict the future.
From single-celled foraminifera to gigantic steppe mammoths, this volume presents a sweeping panorama of ancient life and is recommended for nonspecialists interested in paleontology or evolutionary biology.
The fossils provided inspiration for the authors to muse on many aspects of evolution, geologic change, and the diversity of life over time. Their prose is further enlivened by accounts of the colorful historical personalities who made key discoveries. Each essay and photo is used as an opportunity to illustrate at least one major concept in paleobiology. It is a perfect book for public libraries.