eBook: Download Wonderful Life Burgess Nature History ePub (MOBI, PDF) + Audio Version

  • File Size: 8818 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (September 17, 1990)
  • Publication Date: February 3, 2014
  • Language: English

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Within British Columbia, Canada paleontologist Charles D Walcott made the discovery of a lifetime. The entire year was 1909 and Walcott's field season was just winding down when he and his guys started out finding fossils in the Burgess Shale formation of the Rocky Mountains. Above the next 15 years Walcott collected thousands of strange and unusual fossils that he considered to be ancestral to all in our modern day phyla. Within Wonderful Life, Stephen Jay Gould traces the historical past of this incredible find and comes to some controversial conclusions of his very own. The book, published in 1989, was a best seller and won the Aventis prize for technology books 20 years ago and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for the reason that same year. Some of Gould's colleagues agreed with his conclusions, some did not. The resulting debates went on for years and, on some points, carries on to this very day. Although some of his original good examples were later invalidated by newer research, his main theme is still a couple of some contention. Anybody who has read Gould's monthly essays in Organic History magazine sees that this individual is an accomplished writer for the interested layperson and Wonderful Life is no exception to that rule. Some 50 years after Walcott's time, in the late '60s a team of of recent scientist directed by Harry Whittington do a considerable rework of Walcott's original study resulting in new insights on the biology of such long dead animals. Gould will a detailed accounting of the methodology and technics used in that study. A number of Whittington's findings arranged with Walcott's and some did not, but from this layman's point of view, it made for fascinating reading. An excellent part of the book details some long standing questions in paleontology. Multicellular animals make their first appearance in the fossil record with the Cambrian Exploding market and with the Ediacara fauna. How did life get to that point? Did evolution proceed from a simple beginning that, over time, became more complicated and diverse? Or do one-celled life first develop, in a kind of explosion, into many kinds of multi-celled organisms, only a few of which survive today? Did Walcott "shoehorn" his fossils into modern phyla? Were some of the Burgess Shale animals just dead finishes that were out competed in the race for survival? The answers to questions count on who is doing the analysis and who is doing the asking. Within paleontology study regarding fossils is like having an unknown, imperfect view of actuality and it's only with time and further study that we can get closer to the truth. Wonderful Life is a great book that will give you one mans view on the nature of history and of life.

LastRanger, What a wonderful writer, scientist and mentor. Gould's passion for explanation of the evidence for evolution of living things on our planet is shown here. Instead of the same old dinosaur story we discover ourselves exploring life long before dinosaurs appeared. Just how many people even consider that there must have been life that directed to the relatively recent dinosaurs?
Gould writes to be accessible to all people, certainly not simply scientists. But he's also faithful to the science, patiently describing the evidence and its place in the history.
Illustrations are plentiful through adding greatly to the explanations.
My personal favourite precious, the amazing pikaia, is left to the end. I desired more about this little treasure. For this I removed a superstar.
Throughout the book I give 5 stars.
In case you're enthusiastic about the real great life on World, you'll be glad to read this. Especially if you're not a traditional man of science., Stephen Gould tells us how the correct interpretation of the Burgess Shale reveals the richness of life, in all is actually forms. This is not a children's book but maybe it should be. The body types documented in the Cambrian Exploding market are incredible. These creepy, crawly, soft bodies creatures have been miraculously conserved, but with a flatness that makes careful observation and drafting a must, the 2 dimensional creatures as the fossil record portrays, are shown in 3d in Goulds wonderful life. His descriptions showing how the preservation occurred seems pretty lucky. It is unlikely that billions of yours into the future that the human race will be preserved at all. Our planet gobbles up our remnants well enough that we can not aspire to be as well preserved as the cambrian creatures. Read and enjoy., In Wonderful Life, paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould relates the impact of the scientific revising of the fossil specimens collected by Charles Walcott from the popular area known as the Burgess Shale. The work describes how new discoveries from a reexamination of the specimens literally forced a re-vision of just how we look at the march of life. Gould exposes our preconceptions, describes how a Burgess fauna refutes them, and then offers alternatives to fill the holes those preconceptions left behind.

Right after describing the history of the discovery and gyvūnai of the Burgess Shale, Gould explains why it is revolutionary in technology. He argues that the Burgess Shale shows the fallacy in our deeply-rooted paradigm concerning the march of life's progress from the few and to the diverse and complex. Instead than the disparity seen among modern life being the inevitable result of a few ancestral creatures, extant organisms are the leftovers from a much more diverse stock which has been whittled away by decimation. Life today is the result of 1000 "happy accidents" that were contingent upon luck as much as evolutionary fitness. Life as we know it did not have to be this way. "Wind back the recording of life, and let it play again. Would the replay ever yield anything like the historical past that we know? inches

Throughout the work, Gould is often repetitive and verbose in his narrative of the drama behind the Burgess revision and its implications on the interpretation of life historical past. The book hits a 20 page lull about ¾ of the way through where Gould describes the basis for Walcott's tenacious clinging to his interpretation of the Burgess fauna as ancestors of recent taxa. Despite this, his articles are studded with excellent thought-provoking statements, and the reading overall is very enjoyable. The book is an outstanding invitation to look at your own thinking and evaluate the perceptions many of us carry. That encourages us to abstain from wanting to shoehorn new discovery into a comfortable and understandable box, for "... conceptual blinders can preclude observation. " That invites us to consider all life as wonderful and worthy of merit for the mere fact that it remains to be in a tough Darwinian world. That asks us to ponder upon what has been.

This specific is a great book for anybody enthusiastic about early life and the evolution of its diversity.

(All estimates from Wonderful Life: Typically the Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, by Stephan Jay Gould, 1989)

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Wonderful Life Burgess Nature History
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