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In Search of Deep Time: Beyond the Fossil Record to a New History of Life

by Henry Gee
New York: Free Press, 1999. 272 pages.

In In Search of Deep TIme, Henry Gee, Chief Science Writer at Nature, presents a painless and compelling introduction to cladistics, the approach to analyzing evolutionary relationships that revolutionized systematic biology. NCSE President Kevin Padian says, "This is a subversive book. Read it only if you want to know how scientists actually do their work, as opposed to the mythology of textbooks and documentaries. In it, you will discovery how and why the beloved Linnean system of taxonomy — the one that gave us classes and orders and families, oh my!

Terrible Lizard: The First Dinosaur Hunters and the Birth of a New Science

by Deborah Cadbury
New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2001. 374 pages.

An exciting recounting of the 19th-century discovery of the dinosaurs, featuring such characters as Mary Anning, William Buckland, Georges Cuvier, Richard Owen, Gideon Mantell, and Charles Lyell. Carl Zimmer writes, "Cadbury ... turns what could have been just a string of anecdotes into high drama. Much of her success comes from her depth of research: she has scoured diaries, letters and newspaper archives and can tell her story in the words of the people who lived it."

Atlas of the Prehistoric World

by Douglas Palmer
New York: Random House, 1999. 224 pages.

As its title suggests, Atlas of the Prehistoric World contains a collection of dazzlingly detailed paleogeographic maps, tracking shifts in land masses and climates from the Vendian Period to the present. In addition, Douglas Palmer, who teaches Earth and Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, narrates the story of life's evolution over the course of the last four billion years and provides a sparkling history of and guide to earth science.

Wildlife of Gondwana

by Patricia Vickers-Rich and Thomas Hewitt Rich
Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000. 276 pages.

Lavishly illustrated, Wildlife of Gondwana describes the past diversity of life on Gondwana, the supercontinent that later dispersed into Antarctica, India, Australia, Africa, and South America. As Patricia Vickers-Rich writes on its page, "Tom and I very much enjoyed writing this book over a period of eight years originally — then spent another two years revising [it]. We were able to see and record infomation about so many new Gondwana fossils, and it led us into many new research projects and introduced us to many new people we never knew before.

In the Presence of Dinosaurs

by John Colagrande
Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 2000. 189 pages.

Ranging from the Triassic to the Cretaceous, Colagrande presents a veritable menagerie of Dinosauria. With one hundred full-color plates by the acclaimed illustrator Larry Felder, In the Presence of Dinosaurs is a lively and well-researched exploration of the habitat and behavior of these magnificent creatures, drawing both on the fossil record and on the living descendants of the dinosaurs. Jack Horner, author of numerous dinosaur books and Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, contributes the foreword.

The Mistaken Extinction

by Lowell Dingus and Timothy Rowe
New York: W.H. Freeman & Company, 1997. 384 pages.

Perhaps the most up-to-date and comprehensive treatment of dinosaur evolution currently available, The Mistaken Extinction discusses both the origin of birds and the supposed extinction of the dinosaurs in detail, offering a very accessible discussion of modern taxonomy and cladistics en route. Writing in The New York Times Book Review, John Noble Wilford comments, "If their richly illustrated book is perhaps too comprehensive for cover-to-cover reading, it is well organized to be used for years as a reference work on all kinds of dinosaur and bird lore."

The Simon & Schuster Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures : A Visual Who's Who of Prehistoric Life

by Douglas Palmer, Barry Cox, R. J. G. Savage, Brian Gardiner, and Douglas Dixon
New York: Simon & Schuster Books, 1999. 312 pages.

An unmatched reference work distinguished by its erudition and beauty, The Simon & Schuster Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures is an illustrated who's who of prehistoric life, a Baedeker of more than 500 million years of evolution on Earth.

Pioneers of Geology: Discovering Earth's Secrets

by Margaret W. Carruthers and Susan Clinton
New York: Franklin Watts, 2001. 144 pages.

Suitable for budding geologists in fifth through ninth grades, Pioneers of Geology engagingly presents the history of geology by concentrating on the life and works of six important geologists: James Hutton, Charles Lyell, G. K. Gilbert, Alfred Wegener, Harry Hess, and Gene Shoemaker (who not only discovered the comet Shoemaker–Levy 9, but also is widely considered the father of planetary geology).

Annals of the Former World

by John A McPhee
New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2000. 696 pages.

Assembled together in Annals of the Former World are no fewer than four of John McPhee's acclaimed popular books about North American geology — Basin and Range, In Suspect Terrain, Rising from the Plains, Assembling California — as well as the previously unpublished Crossing the Craton. Writing in The New York Review of Books, Stephen Jay Gould praised McPhee's "ability to capture the essence of a complex issue ...

The Mysteries of Terra Firma: Exploring the Age and Evolution of the World

by James Lawrence Powell
New York: Free Press, 2001. 272 pages.

In The Mysteries of Terra Firma, Powell — the author of Night Comes to the Cretaceous and Grand Canyon: Solving Earth's Grandest Puzzle, as well as the former president and director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History — describes the development of our understanding of the history of the earth by focusing on three themes: Time, Drift, and Chance.


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