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Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution

Fortey, Richard

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9780375706219: Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution

With Trilobite, Richard Fortey, paleontologist and author of the acclaimed Life, offers a marvelously written, smart and compelling, accessible and witty scientific narrative of the most ubiquitous of fossil creatures.

Trilobites were shelled animals that lived in the oceans over five hundred million years ago. As bewilderingly diverse then as the beetle is today, they survived in the arctic or the tropics, were spiky or smooth, were large as lobsters or small as fleas. And because they flourished for three hundred million years, they can be used to glimpse a less evolved world of ancient continents and vanished oceans. Erudite and entertaining, this book is a uniquely exuberant homage to a fabulously singular species.

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With his new book Trilobite! Eyewitness to Evolution, Richard Fortey confirms his status as one of the best communicators of science around today. His hugely enjoyable previous book, Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth, was shortlisted for the 1998 Rhone-Poulenc science book prize, but Trilobite! is sure to receive even greater acclaim. Whereas Life took the reader on a whistle-stop tour of evolution from start to present--a huge undertaking that necessarily granted little space to each time period or taxonomic group-- Trilobite! sees Fortey indulging in a whole book about his overriding paleontological passion, the long extinct and enigmatic creatures of the title. The result is a joy.

Trilobites--woodlicelike creatures that dominated the world's oceans long before the time of the dinosaurs--are, arguably, the most beautiful animals that have ever been chipped out of the fossil record. Fortey certainly seems to think so. His enthusiastic, almost loving explanations of the anatomy, ecology, and long evolutionary history of these fascinating vanished creatures carry the reader on an inspirational journey into the Earth's distant past. But the book is much more than a technical treatise on trilobites. We learn about Fortey himself, his formative years as an amateur then professional paleontologist, about his much-loved teachers and colleagues, and above all, about that strange but addictive pastime known as science. You may not find arthropods as charming as Fortey does, but you will not fail to be charmed by the author. A delightful read. --Chris Lavers, Amazon.co.uk

From the Publisher:

"In Richard Fortey's capable hands the humble gray trilobite has been transformed into the E.T. of the Lower Palaeozoic - a lovable and highly instructive animal, amply deserving of the enthusiasm and affection with which it is memorialized in this remarkable and fascinating book."
-- Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman

"This is the way science should be written: so engagingly that it makes you forget that you're actually learning something (actually, you're learning a lot), and carrying you swiftly from page to page so that before you know it, you've let the kettle boil over and you're at the end, where the 'suggested reading' list shows you that Fortey has read practically everything about trilobites so that he could condense it here for you, and make you feel that if it's not too late, you'd better call him up at the National History Museum and see if he needs an assistant in the trilobite section. If I had five thousand words I couldn't do Trilobite! justice. There's just no way to condense Fortey's glittering book so filled with insight, science, history, charm and wit. The book speaks brilliantly for itself. You must read it!"
-- Richard Ellis, author of Deep Atlantic and Encyclopedia of the Sea

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 130 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. With Trilobite, Richard Fortey, paleontologist and author of the acclaimed Life, offers a marvelously written, smart and compelling, accessible and witty scientific narrative of the most ubiquitous of fossil creatures. Trilobites were shelled animals that lived in the oceans over five hundred million years ago. As bewilderingly diverse then as the beetle is today, they survived in the arctic or the tropics, were spiky or smooth, were large as lobsters or small as fleas. And because they flourished for three hundred million years, they can be used to glimpse a less evolved world of ancient continents and vanished oceans. Erudite and entertaining, this book is a uniquely exuberant homage to a fabulously singular species. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780375706219

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