Posted on January 04, 2016 * Comments

Last week’s Fossil Friday specimen was, as I’m sure all of you could see, little more than a humble jaw. The question, of course, is whose jaw was it? Let’s take a look at the full picture:

Posted on January 01, 2016 * Comments

Book Room in the Old Water Tank, Chicago, via Wikimedia CommonsTanks to our loyal readers! (The illustration shows a temporary library facility established in an abandoned water supply reservoir in the wake of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.) And best wishes for the new year from all of us at NCSE.

Posted on January 01, 2016 * Comments

This week in Fossil Friday, I have a specimen from a species that is part of an interesting story, although sadly my photo quality is rather poor.

The fragments from which this specimen was reconstructed were found in Italy, and I think that, with all the hard work I did obscuring the text in the photograph, that is all I’m giving you by way of clues this week. What is it? The first person to guess right wins bragging rights for the week!

Posted on December 31, 2015 * Comments

Cover of Powell, Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences

Steven Dutch concludes his review of James L. Powell’s Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences (2015), which began with part 1 and continued in part 2 and part 3.

Posted on December 30, 2015 * Comments

Cover of Powell, Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences

Steven Dutch continues his review of James L. Powell’s Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences (2015), which began with part 1 and continued in part 2.

Posted on December 30, 2015 * Comments

William Hanna Thompson

Perhaps I begin to sound like a broken phonograph, but I find that chapter 28—“Scientists Condemn Evolution”—of William A. Williams’s The Evolution of Man Scientifically Disproved (1925) is the gift that keeps on giving. (The phrase, I find, was originally a marketing slogan for a phonograph, so there you go.) That chapter is chockablock with a lot of quotations from various scientific authorities. As it happens, I’ve already blogged here at the Science League of America about a number of them: including Lionel S. BealeAlbert Fleischmann (misspelled “Fleishman” by Williams), St. George Mivart (misspelled “Mivert” by Williams), Ernst HaeckelNathaniel S. Shaler (although Williams didn’t misattribute his words to Darwin), Oscar Fraas (misspelled “Traas” by Williams), and, most recently, Thomas Henry Huxley. And now it’s the turn of W. H. Thompson.

Posted on December 29, 2015 * Comments

Cover of Powell, Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences

Steven Dutch continues his review of James L. Powell’s Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences (2015), which began with part 1.

Posted on December 28, 2015 * Comments

Cover of Powell, Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences

James L. Powell’s Four Revolutions in the Earth Sciences (2015) is an excellent book that reviews four geoscience revolutions: accurate geologic dating techniques, the theory of plate tectonics, the discovery of an era-ending meteor impact, and the advent of anthropogenic climate change. Far too many histories of science these days rely on secondary materials and repeat urban legends. This book relies heavily on original sources. I would gladly use this book in a course on the history of geology.

Posted on December 28, 2015 * Comments

Whose snout is this?

This, this is Diplocaulus
A lepospondyl amphibian
Praise, praise, praise to Ron Pine:
He won himself the blue ribbon.

Posted on December 25, 2015 * Comments

Houghton Mifflin and Company’s Holiday Books for MDCCCXCV, via Wikimedia Commons