On Methuselah's Trail: Living Fossils and the Great Extinctions

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9780716722038: On Methuselah's Trail: Living Fossils and the Great Extinctions
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Presents examples of animals, such as the horseshoe crab, which have existed through ice ages, changes in ocean levels, and more, while other species have died out

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Living fossils are species that have survived nearly unchanged since prehistoric times. For scientists they are a window to the past. Ward, an expert on the nautilus, tells us a fascinating story of scientific discovery through a combination of personal narratives and examples of how the study of living creatures helps to interpret the fossil record. Some of the episodes are even dramatic, like the discovery of the lobe-finned coelacanth that had been thought to be extinct also recounted in Keith Stewart Thomson's Living Fossil , LJ 5/15/91, or Ward's struggle to save a living nautilus for an aquarium. In Wonderful Life ( LJ 9/1/89), Stephen Jay Gould made the point that it is impossible to guess from fossils alone which creatures would survive to the present and which would become extinct. The study of "Methuselahs" such as brachiopods or horseshoe crabs shows how different sets of circumstances allowed a few species to endure. Good, entertaining popular science.
- Amy Brunvand, Fort Lewis Coll. Lib., Durango, Col.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780716724889: On Methuselah's Trail: Living Fossils and the Great Extinctions

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ISBN 10:  071672488X ISBN 13:  9780716724889
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 1993
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