Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA

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Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA
Title Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA
Author
Publisher Pantheon
Release DateMarch 17, 2020
Category Science Fiction & Fantasy
Total Pages 224 pages
ISBN B07RYHNGZY
Book Rating 4.6 out of 5 from 254 reviews
Language EN, ES, BE, DA ,DE , NL and FR
Book Review & Summary:

he author of the best-selling Your Inner Fish gives us a lively and accessible account of the great transformations in the history of life on Earth--a new view of the evolution of human and animal life that explains how the incredible diversity of life on our planet came to be. Over billions of years, ancient fish evolved to walk on land, reptiles transformed into birds that fly, and apelike primates evolved into humans that walk on two legs, talk, and write. For more than a century, paleontologists have traveled the globe to find fossils that show how such changes have happened. We have now arrived at a remarkable moment—prehistoric fossils coupled with new DNA technology have given us the tools to answer some of the basic questions of our existence: How do big changes in evolution happen? Is our presence on Earth the product of mere chance? This new science reveals a multibillion-year evolutionary history filled with twists and turns, trial and error, accident and invention. In Some Assembly Required, Neil Shubin takes readers on a journey of discovery spanning centuries, as explorers and scientists seek to understand the origins of life's immense diversity.

Similar books related to " Some Assembly Required: Decoding Four Billion Years of Life, from Ancient Fossils to DNA " from our database.

Some Assembly Required by Neil Shubin

Title Some Assembly Required
Author Neil Shubin
Publisher Pantheon
Release Date 2020
Category SCIENCE
Total Pages 288
ISBN 9781101871331
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

"The author of the best-selling Your Inner Fish, now gives us a lively and accessible account of the great transformations in the history of life, that enable us to further understand whether our presence on this planet is an accident or inevitable. The great transformations in the history of life brought about whole scale shifts in how animals live and how their bodies are organized: the evolution of fish to land-living creature, the origin of birds, the beginnings of bodies in single-celled creatures. Shubin describes how over the last half-century, scientists have been able to explore how genetic recipes build bodies during embryological development--how these inventions and adaptations occur in a nonprogressive manner in different contexts, at different speeds. Paleontology has been transformed over the last 50 years by tools and techniques of molecular biology--and it is that revolution in our understanding of the evolution of life that Shubin traces here. Each of us is a mosaic of precursors that came about at different times and places, with deep rooted connections across species that Darwin, for all he understood, could never even have imagined"--

The Universe Within by Neil Shubin

Title The Universe Within
Author Neil Shubin
Publisher Vintage
Release Date 2013-01-08
Category Science
Total Pages 240
ISBN 9780307907868
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

From one of our finest and most popular science writers, the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish, comes the answer to a scientific mystery story as big as the world itself: How have astronomical events that took place millions of years ago created the unique qualities of the human species? In his last book, Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human anatomy—our hands, our jaws—and the structures in the fish that first took over land 375 million years ago. Now, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, he takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we are the way we are. Starting once again with fossils, Shubin turns his gaze skyward. He shows how the entirety of the universe's 14-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. From our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system), he makes clear, through the working of our eyes, how the evolution of the cosmos has had profound effects on the development of human life on earth.

Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin

Title Your Inner Fish
Author Neil Shubin
Publisher Vintage
Release Date 2009
Category Science
Total Pages 237
ISBN 9780307277459
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

A fascinating chronicle of the evolution of humankind traces the genetic history of the organs of the human body, offering a revealing correlation between the distant past and present-day human anatomy and physiology, behavior, illness, and DNA. Reprint. 75,000 first printing.

Life by Richard Fortey

Title Life
Author Richard Fortey
Publisher Vintage
Release Date 2011-03-23
Category Science
Total Pages 400
ISBN 9780307761187
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

By one of Britain's most gifted scientists: a magnificently daring and compulsively readable account of life on Earth (from the "big bang" to the advent of man), based entirely on the most original of all sources--the evidence of fossils. With excitement and driving intelligence, Richard Fortey guides us from the barren globe spinning in space, through the very earliest signs of life in the sulphurous hot springs and volcanic vents of the young planet, the appearance of cells, the slow creation of an atmosphere and the evolution of myriad forms of plants and animals that could then be sustained, including the magnificent era of the dinosaurs, and on to the last moment before the debut of Homo sapiens. Ranging across multiple scientific disciplines, explicating in wonderfully clear and refreshing prose their findings and arguments--about the origins of life, the causes of species extinctions and the first appearance of man--Fortey weaves this history out of the most delicate traceries left in rock, stone and earth. He also explains how, on each aspect of nature and life, scientists have reached the understanding we have today, who made the key discoveries, who their opponents were and why certain ideas won. Brimful of wit, fascinating personal experience and high scholarship, this book may well be our best introduction yet to the complex history of life on Earth. A Book-of-the-Month Club Main Selection With 32 pages of photographs

Footprints by David Farrier

Title Footprints
Author David Farrier
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date 2020-03-03
Category Nature
Total Pages 320
ISBN 9780374718992
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

A profound meditation on climate change and the Anthropocene and an urgent search for the fossils—industrial, chemical, geological—that humans are leaving behind What will the world look like in ten thousand years—or ten million? What kinds of stories will be told about us? In Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils, the award-winning author David Farrier explores the traces we will leave for the very distant future. Modern civilization has created objects and landscapes with the potential to endure through deep time, whether it is plastic polluting the oceans and nuclear waste sealed within the earth or the 30 million miles of roads spanning the planet. Our carbon could linger in the atmosphere for 100,000 years, and the remains of our cities will still exist millions of years from now as a layer in the rock. These future fossils have the potential to reveal much about how we lived in the twenty-first century. Crossing the boundaries of literature, art, and science, Footprints invites us to think about how we will be remembered in the myths and stories of our distant descendants. Traveling from the Baltic Sea to the Great Barrier Reef, and from an ice-core laboratory in Tasmania to Shanghai, one of the world’s biggest cities, Farrier describes a world that is changing rapidly, with consequences beyond the scope of human understanding. As much a message of hope as a warning, Footprints will not only alter how you think about the future; it will change how you see the world today.

Environmental Evolution by Lynn Margulis

Title Environmental Evolution
Author Lynn Margulis
Publisher MIT Press
Release Date 2000
Category Science
Total Pages 338
ISBN 0262631970
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Fifteen distinguished scientists discuss the effects of life—past and present—on planet Earth.

The Tangled Tree by David Quammen

Title The Tangled Tree
Author David Quammen
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Release Date 2019-08-06
Category Science
Total Pages 480
ISBN 9781476776637
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

In this New York Times bestseller and longlist nominee for the National Book Award, “our greatest living chronicler of the natural world” (The New York Times), David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology affect our understanding of evolution and life’s history. In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field—the study of life’s diversity and relatedness at the molecular level—is horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines. It turns out that HGT has been widespread and important; we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived sideways by viral infection—a type of HGT. In The Tangled Tree, “the grandest tale in biology….David Quammen presents the science—and the scientists involved—with patience, candor, and flair” (Nature). We learn about the major players, such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about “mosaic” creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health. “David Quammen proves to be an immensely well-informed guide to a complex story” (The Wall Street Journal). In The Tangled Tree, he explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of life—including where we humans fit upon it. Thanks to new technologies, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic composition—through sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. “The Tangled Tree is a source of wonder….Quammen has written a deep and daring intellectual adventure” (The Boston Globe).

Future Humans by Scott Solomon

Title Future Humans
Author Scott Solomon
Publisher Yale University Press
Release Date 2016-01-01
Category Science
Total Pages 225
ISBN 9780300208719
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

"Evolutionary biologist Scott Solomon draws on the explosion of discoveries in recent years to examine the future evolution of our species. Combining knowledge of our past with current trends, Solomon offers convincing evidence that evolutionary forces still affect us today. But how will modernization--including longer lifespans, changing diets, global travel, and widespread use of medicine and contraceptives--affect our evolutionary future?" --publisher description.

We Know It When We See It by Richard Masland

Title We Know It When We See It
Author Richard Masland
Publisher Basic Books
Release Date 2020-03-10
Category Science
Total Pages 272
ISBN 9781541618497
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

A Harvard researcher investigates the human eye in this insightful account of what vision reveals about intelligence, learning, and the greatest mysteries of neuroscience. Spotting a face in a crowd is so easy, you take it for granted. But how you do it is one of science's great mysteries. And vision is involved with so much of everything your brain does. Explaining how it works reveals more than just how you see. In We Know It When We See It, Harvard neuroscientist Richard Masland tackles vital questions about how the brain processes information -- how it perceives, learns, and remembers -- through a careful study of the inner life of the eye. Covering everything from what happens when light hits your retina, to the increasingly sophisticated nerve nets that turn that light into knowledge, to what a computer algorithm must be able to do before it can be called truly "intelligent," We Know It When We See It is a profound yet approachable investigation into how our bodies make sense of the world.

Title Great Transformations in Vertebrate Evolution
Author Kenneth P. Dial
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Release Date 2015-07-20
Category Science
Total Pages 424
ISBN 9780226268392
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

How did flying birds evolve from running dinosaurs, terrestrial trotting tetrapods evolve from swimming fish, and whales return to swim in the sea? These are some of the great transformations in the 500-million-year history of vertebrate life. And with the aid of new techniques and approaches across a range of fields—work spanning multiple levels of biological organization from DNA sequences to organs and the physiology and ecology of whole organisms—we are now beginning to unravel the confounding evolutionary mysteries contained in the structure, genes, and fossil record of every living species. This book gathers a diverse team of renowned scientists to capture the excitement of these new discoveries in a collection that is both accessible to students and an important contribution to the future of its field. Marshaling a range of disciplines—from paleobiology to phylogenetics, developmental biology, ecology, and evolutionary biology—the contributors attack particular transformations in the head and neck, trunk, appendages such as fins and limbs, and the whole body, as well as offer synthetic perspectives. Illustrated throughout, Great Transformations in Vertebrate Evolution not only reveals the true origins of whales with legs, fish with elbows, wrists, and necks, and feathered dinosaurs, but also the relevance to our lives today of these extraordinary narratives of change.

Title Symphony in C Carbon and the Evolution of Almost Everything
Author Robert M. Hazen
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date 2019-06-11
Category Science
Total Pages 288
ISBN 9780393609448
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

An enchanting biography of the most resonant—and most necessary—chemical element on Earth. Carbon is everywhere: in the paper of this book and the blood of our bodies. It’s with us from beginning to end, present in our baby clothes and coffin alike. We live on a carbon planet, and we are carbon life. No other element is so central to our well-being; yet, when missing or misaligned, carbon atoms can also bring about disease and even death. At once ubiquitous and mysterious, carbon holds the answers to some of humanity’s biggest questions. Where did Earth come from? What will ultimately become of it—and of us? With poetic storytelling, earth scientist Robert M. Hazen explores the universe to discover the past, present, and future of life’s most essential element. We’re not only “made of star stuff,” as Carl Sagan famously observed, but “Big Bang stuff,” too. Hazen reveals that carbon’s grand symphony began with a frenzied prelude shortly after the dawn of creation, bringing new attention to the tiny number of Big Bang–created carbon atoms that often get overlooked. In minutes, violently colliding protons and neutrons improbably formed the first carbon atoms, which can still be found within our bodies. His book then unfolds in four movements, building momentum as he explores carbon as the element of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. He visits the famed volcanic crater Solfatara di Pozzuoli near Naples, where venting carbon dioxide and other noxious fumes condense into beautiful crystals. He climbs the cliffs of the Scottish Highlands and delves deep into the precious-metal mines of Namibia, journeying toward Earth’s mysterious core in search of undocumented carbon structures. Hazen often asks us to pause and consider carbon’s role in climate change and what we can do about it, for our lives and this element are inextricably intertwined. With prose that sparkles like a diamond, Symphony in C tells the story of carbon, in which we all have a part.

Title The Story of Evolution in 25 Discoveries
Author Donald R. Prothero
Publisher Columbia University Press
Release Date 2020-12-22
Category Science
Total Pages 360
ISBN 9780231548854
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

The theory of evolution unites the past, present, and future of living things. It puts humanity’s place in the universe into necessary perspective. Despite a history of controversy, the evidence for evolution continues to accumulate as a result of many separate strands of amazing scientific sleuthing. In The Story of Evolution in 25 Discoveries, Donald R. Prothero explores the most fascinating breakthroughs in piecing together the evidence for evolution. In twenty-five vignettes, he recounts the dramatic stories of the people who made crucial discoveries, placing each moment in the context of what it represented for the progress of science. He tackles topics like what it means to see evolution in action and what the many transitional fossils show us about evolution, following figures from Darwin to lesser-known researchers as they unlock the mysteries of the fossil record, the earth, and the universe. The book also features the stories of animal species strange and familiar, including humans—and our ties to some of our closest relatives and more distant cousins. Prothero’s wide-ranging tales showcase awe-inspiring and bizarre aspects of nature and the powerful insights they give us into the way that life works. Brisk and entertaining while firmly grounded in fundamental science, The Story of Evolution in 25 Discoveries is a captivating read for anyone curious about the evidence for evolution and what it means for humanity.

Until The End Of Time by Brian Greene

Title Until the End of Time
Author Brian Greene
Publisher Vintage
Release Date 2020-02-18
Category Science
Total Pages 448
ISBN 9781524731687
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Instant New York Times Bestseller A captivating exploration of deep time and humanity's search for purpose, from the world-renowned physicist and best-selling author of The Elegant Universe. "Few humans share Greene’s mastery of both the latest cosmological science and English prose." —The New York Times (A Notable Book of 2020) Until the End of Time is Brian Greene's breathtaking new exploration of the cosmos and our quest to find meaning in the face of this vast expanse. Greene takes us on a journey from the big bang to the end of time, exploring how lasting structures formed, how life and mind emerged, and how we grapple with our existence through narrative, myth, religion, creative expression, science, the quest for truth, and a deep longing for the eternal. From particles to planets, consciousness to creativity, matter to meaning—Brian Greene allows us all to grasp and appreciate our fleeting but utterly exquisite moment in the cosmos.

Brave Genius by Sean B. Carroll

Title Brave Genius
Author Sean B. Carroll
Publisher Broadway Books
Release Date 2013
Category Biography & Autobiography
Total Pages 581
ISBN 9780307952349
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Traces the friendship and collaborative achievements of 20th-century intellectuals Albert Camus and Jacques Monod, discussing their contributions to the French Resistance, Nobel Prize-winning work and passionate advocacy of human rights.

Melanism by M. E. N. Majerus

Title Melanism
Author M. E. N. Majerus
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date 1998
Category Science
Total Pages 338
ISBN UCSD:31822025537085
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

Melanism: Evolution in Action describes investigations into a ubiquitous biological phenomenon, the existence of dark, or melanic, forms of many species of mammals, insects, and some plants. Melanism is a particularly exciting phenomenon in terms of our understanding of evolution. Unlike manyother polymorphisms, the rise of a melanic population within a species is a visible alteration. Not only this, but melanism may sometimes occur dramatically quickly compared to other evolutionary change. Examples of melanism include one of the most famous illustrations of Darwinian naturalselection, the peppered moth. This book, the first written on melanism since 1973, gives a lucid and up-to-date appraisal of the subject. The book is divided into ten chapters. The first four chapters place melanism into its historical and scientific context, with illustrations of its occurrence,and physical and genetic properties. Chapters 5-9 look in more detail at melanism in moths and ladybirds, explaining the diversity of evolutionary reasons for melanism, and the complexities underlying this apparently simple phenomenon. The final chapter shows how the study of melanism has contibutedto our understanding of biological evolution as a whole. Written in an engaging and readable style, by an author whose enthusiasm and depth of knowledge is apparent throughout, this book will be welcomed by all students and researchers in the fields of evolution, ecology, entomology, and genetics.It will also be of relevance to professional and amateur entomologists and lepidopterists alike.

Title How to Build a Dinosaur
Author Jack Horner
Publisher Penguin
Release Date 2009-03-19
Category Science
Total Pages 256
ISBN 9781101028711
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

A world-renowned paleontologist reveals groundbreaking science that trumps science fiction: how to grow a living dinosaur. Over a decade after Jurassic Park, Jack Horner and his colleagues in molecular biology labs are in the process of building the technology to create a real dinosaur. Based on new research in evolutionary developmental biology on how a few select cells grow to create arms, legs, eyes, and brains that function together, Jack Horner takes the science a step further in a plan to "reverse evolution" and reveals the awesome, even frightening, power being acquired to recreate the prehistoric past. The key is the dinosaur's genetic code that lives on in modern birds- even chickens. From cutting-edge biology labs to field digs underneath the Montana sun, How to Build a Dinosaur explains and enlightens an awesome new science.

The World Before Us by Tom Higham

Title The World Before Us
Author Tom Higham
Publisher Penguin UK
Release Date 2021-03-25
Category Social Science
Total Pages 320
ISBN 9780241989067
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

'Fascinating and entertaining. If you read one book on human origins, this should be it' Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules - For Now 'The who, what, where, when and how of human evolution, from one of the world's experts on the dating of prehistoric fossils' Steve Brusatte, author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs 50,000 years ago, we were not the only species of human in the world. There were at least four others, including the Neanderthals, Homo floresiensis, Homo luzonesis and the Denisovans. At the forefront of the latter's ground-breaking discovery was Oxford Professor Tom Higham. In The World Before Us, he explains the scientific and technological advancements - in radiocarbon dating and ancient DNA, for example - that allowed each of these discoveries to be made, enabling us to be more accurate in our predictions about not just how long ago these other humans lived, but how they lived, interacted and live on in our genes today. This is the story of us, told for the first time with its full cast of characters. 'The application of new genetic science to pre-history is analogous to how the telescope transformed astronomy. Tom Higham brings us to the frontier of recent discoveries with a book that is both gripping and fun' Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion 'This exciting book shows that we now have a revolutionary new tool for reconstructing the human past: DNA from minute pieces of tooth and bone, and even from the dirt on the floor of caves' David Abulafia, author of The Boundless Sea 'The remarkable new science of palaeoanthropology, from lab bench to trench' Rebecca Wragg Sykes, author of Kindred 'Higham's thrilling account makes readers feel as if they were participating themselves in the extraordinary series of events that in the last few years has revealed our long-lost cousins' David Reich, author of Who We Are and How We Got Here 'A brilliant distillation of the ideas and discoveries revolutionising our understanding of human evolution' Chris Gosden, author of The History of Magic

The Dance Of Life by Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Title The Dance of Life
Author Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz
Publisher Random House
Release Date 2020-02-27
Category Science
Total Pages 304
ISBN 9780753552940
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

'Quite simply the best book about science and life that I have ever read' - Alice Roberts How does life begin? What drives a newly fertilized egg to keep dividing and growing until it becomes 40 trillion cells, a greater number than stars in the galaxy? How do these cells know how to make a human, from lips to heart to toes? How does your body build itself? Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz was pregnant at 42 when a routine genetic test came back with that dreaded word: abnormal. A quarter of sampled cells contained abnormalities and she was warned her baby had an increased risk of being miscarried or born with birth defects. Six months later she gave birth to a healthy baby boy and her research on mice embryos went on to prove that – as she had suspected – the embryo has an amazing and previously unknown ability to correct abnormal cells at an early stage of its development. The Dance of Life will take you inside the incredible world of life just as it begins and reveal the wonder of the earliest and most profound moments in how we become human. Through Magda’s trailblazing research as a professor at Cambridge – where she has doubled the survival time of human embryos in the laboratory, and made the first artificial embryo-like structures from stem cells – you’ll discover how early life is programmed to repair and organise itself, what this means for the future of pregnancy, and how we might one day solve IVF disorders, prevent miscarriages and learn more about the dance of life as it starts to take shape. The Dance of Life is a moving celebration of the balletic beauty of life’s beginnings.

Title Dinosaurs Rediscovered The Scientific Revolution in Paleontology
Author Michael J. Benton
Publisher Thames & Hudson
Release Date 2019-06-11
Category Science
Total Pages 352
ISBN 9780500774694
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

In this fascinating and accessible overview, renowned paleontologist Michael J. Benton reveals how our understanding of dinosaurs is being transformed by recent fossil finds and new technology. Over the past twenty years, the study of dinosaurs has transformed into a true scientific discipline. New technologies have revealed secrets locked in prehistoric bones that no one could have previously predicted. We can now work out the color of dinosaurs, the force of their bite, their top speeds, and even how they cared for their young. Remarkable new fossil discoveries—giant sauropod dinosaur skeletons in Patagonia, dinosaurs with feathers in China, and a tiny dinosaur tail in Burmese amber—remain the lifeblood of modern paleobiology. Thanks to advances in technologies and methods, however, there has been a recent revolution in the scope of new information gleaned from such fossil finds. In Dinosaurs Rediscovered, leading paleontologist Michael J. Benton gathers together all the latest paleontological evidence, tracing the transformation of dinosaur study from its roots in antiquated natural history to an indisputably scientific field. Among other things, the book explores how dinosaur remains are found and excavated, and especially how paleontologists read the details of dinosaurs’ lives from their fossils—their colors, their growth, and even whether we will ever be able to bring them back to life. Benton’s account shows that, though extinct, dinosaurs are still very much a part of our world.

Title When the Earth Had Two Moons
Author Erik Asphaug
Publisher HarperCollins
Release Date 2019-10-29
Category Science
Total Pages 368
ISBN 9780062657947
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

An astonishing exploration of planet formation and the origins of life by one of the world’s most innovative planetary geologists. In 1959, the Soviet probe Luna 3 took the first photos of the far side of the moon. Even in their poor resolution, the images stunned scientists: the far side is an enormous mountainous expanse, not the vast lava-plains seen from Earth. Subsequent missions have confirmed this in much greater detail. How could this be, and what might it tell us about our own place in the universe? As it turns out, quite a lot. Fourteen billion years ago, the universe exploded into being, creating galaxies and stars. Planets formed out of the leftover dust and gas that coalesced into larger and larger bodies orbiting around each star. In a sort of heavenly survival of the fittest, planetary bodies smashed into each other until solar systems emerged. Curiously, instead of being relatively similar in terms of composition, the planets in our solar system, and the comets, asteroids, satellites and rings, are bewitchingly distinct. So, too, the halves of our moon. In When the Earth Had Two Moons, esteemed planetary geologist Erik Asphaug takes us on an exhilarating tour through the farthest reaches of time and our galaxy to find out why. Beautifully written and provocatively argued, When the Earth Had Two Moons is not only a mind-blowing astronomical tour but a profound inquiry into the nature of life here—and billions of miles from home.

A Most Interesting Problem by Jeremy DeSilva

Title A Most Interesting Problem
Author Jeremy DeSilva
Publisher Princeton University Press
Release Date 2021-01-12
Category Science
Total Pages 288
ISBN 9780691191140
Language English, Spanish, and French
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Book Summary:

"In 1859, Charles Darwin proposed a mechanism for biological evolution in his most famous work, On the Origin of Species. However, Origin makes little mention of humans. Despite this, Darwin thought deeply about humans and in 1871 published The Descent of Man, his influential and controversial book in which he applied evolutionary theory to humans and detailed his theory of sexual selection. February 2021 will mark the 150th anniversay of it's publication. In A Most Interesting Problem, twelve leading anthropologists, biologists, and journalists revisit The Descent. Following the same organization as the first edition of Descent - less the large section on sexual selection -- each author reviews what Darwin wrote in Descent, comparing his words to what we now know now. There are chapters on evidence for human evolution, our place in the family tree, the origins of civilization, human races, intelligence, and sex differences. An introduction by Darwin biolographer and historian Janet Browne provides context for Descent and a conclusion by Science magazine journalist Ann Gibbons looks to the future of the study of human evolution. All the chapters are written with a broad audience in mind. Ultimately, readers learn that Darwin was remarkably prophetic in some of his predictions, such as that the earliest human fossils would be discovered in Africa. But he was wrong in other areas, particularly in regards to variations between the sexes and races. Thus, A Most Interesting Problem is not so much a celebration of Darwin as it is a tribute to how science works, how scientific ideas are tested, and the role of evidence in helping structure narratives of human origins. The reader is left with a view of how far we have come in our quest for understanding human origins, biological variation, behavior, and evolution"--

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