Paleontology & Geology

The Origin and Early Evolution of Life

by Tom Fenchel
Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2003. 192 pages.

"This book," Tom Fenchel explains, "is about the development of life from its origin and until multicellular plants, fungi, and animals arose — corresponding approximately to the time period from 4 to 0.6 billion years ago." The reviewer for BioEssays writes, "The classical, recurrent themes are treated in a clear and interesting style of writing.

Life on a Young Planet

by Andrew H. Knoll
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004. 304 pages.

From the origin of life to the Cambrian explosion, Knoll draws not only on paleontology but also on the latest insights from molecular biology, ecology, and the earth sciences to produce a broad understanding of the emergence of biological diversity. Sean Carroll (the author of Endless Forms Most Beautiful) writes, "This is a truly great book. It is a remarkably readable synthesis of many diverse ideas selected from a breathaking array of disciplines.

The Chronologers' Quest: The Search for the Age of the Earth

by Patrick Wyse Jackson
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 291 pages.

In The Chronologers' Quest, Patrick Wyse Jackson recounts the fascinating story of attempts to ascertain the age of the earth, starting with prescientific mythology and sacred chronology, continuing through the rise of scientific geology in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, and culminating with the advent of radioisotope dating methods, which show that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

Bursting the Limits of Time

by Martin J. S. Rudwick
Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 2005. 732 pages.

From the publisher: "Highlighting a discovery that radically altered existing perceptions of a human's place in the universe as much as the theories of Copernicus, Darwin, and Freud did, Bursting the Limits of Time is a herculean effort by one of the world's foremost experts on the history of geology and paleontology to sketch this historicization of the natural world in the age of revolution.

Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway

by Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll
Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2007. 204 pages.

From the publisher: "Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway follows the zany travels of a paleontologist and an artist as they drive across the American West in search of fossils. Throughout their journey, they encounter 'paleonerds' like themselves, men and women dedicated to finding everything from suburban T. rexes to killer Eocene pigs to ancient fossilized forests.

Grand Canyon: Solving Earth's Grandest Puzzle

by James Lawrence Powell
New York: Plume Books, 2006. 309 pages.

From the publisher: "Vast and majestic, the Grand Canyon represents one of science's most challenging puzzles: How did this massive canyon come to be? This is the story of the search for the answers, and the first account of the consensus geologists have reached in the last few years. A scientific detective tale packed with colorful characters, Grand Canyon follows the explorers, adventurers, and geologists whose efforts led to the understanding of the canyon's mysteries. ...

Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs

edited by Philip J. Currie and Kevin Padian
San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1997. 869 pages.

Compiled by two of the world's foremost dinosaur experts, with almost 900 pages by 275 authors and 35 color plates, Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs was hailed as the most valuable and up-to-date reference work on dinosaurs when it was published in 1997. NCSE's executive director Eugenie C.

Cradle of Life: The Discovery of Earth's Earliest Fossils

by J. William Schopf
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001. 392 pages.

"This book chronicles an amazing breakthrough in biologic and geologic science," Schopf writes, "the discovery of a vast, ancient, missing fossil record that extends life's roots to the most remote reaches of the geologic past. At long last, after a century of unrewarded search, the earliest 85% of the history of life on Earth has been uncovered to forever change our understanding of how evolution works." Writes the reviewer for Scientific American, "Schopf ... has a good deal to say about scientists and the way science is done.

Genesis and Geology

by Charles Coulston Gillispie
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996. 351 pages.

Subtitled "A study in the relations of scientific thought, natural theology, and social opinion in Great Britain, 1790–1850," Genesis and Geology "proposed to give an account of the immediate background of the pattern of scientific disagreement which culminated in disputes about Darwin's book and to attempt to analyze the causes of that disagreement." Originally published in 1951, Genesis and Geology was reprinted by Harvard University Press in 1996, with a new introduction by the historian of geology Nicolaas Rupke reevaluating the book in light of the subseque

The Age of the Earth

by Brent Dalrymple
Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994. 492 pages.

The Age of the Earth begins with a plain answer: "Four and one-half billion years." But keep reading! Dalrymple's comprehensive, authoritative, and altogether magisterial account of the methods used to determine the age of the earth is, according to the reviewer for The Quarterly Review of Biology, "an enormously important book written by an expert for the general scientific public.