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by Richard Fortey

  • ISBN: 0006551386
  • Category: Math & Science
  • Author: Richard Fortey
  • Subcategory: Biological Sciences
  • Other formats: rtf doc lrf azw
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Harpercollins Pub Ltd; New Ed edition (February 28, 2001)
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • FB2 size: 1215 kb
  • EPUB size: 1150 kb
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Votes: 431
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Trilobites were shelled animals that lived in the oceans over five hundred million years ago.

Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution by Richard Fortey.

Richard Alan Fortey FRS FRSL (born 15 February 1946 in London) is a British palaeontologist, natural historian, writer and television presenter, who served as President of the Geological Society of London for its bicentennial year of 2007; he is marr.

Richard Alan Fortey FRS FRSL (born 15 February 1946 in London) is a British palaeontologist, natural historian, writer and television presenter, who served as President of the Geological Society of London for its bicentennial year of 2007; he is married and has four children. Fortey was educated at Ealing Grammar School for Boys and King's College, Cambridge, where he read Natural Sciences specialising in geology. He received a PhD and DSc from the University of Cambridge.

Richard Fortey fell in love with trilobites as a fourteen-year-old when he held his first fossil in his hand. Richard Fortey is a senior palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in London. In Trilobite!, he draws on a lifetime of study of these creatures to unravel the history of life on earth from their point of view. He is the author of several books, including Fossils: The Key to the Past; The Hidden Landscape, which won the Natural World Book of the Year in 1993; and Life, which was short-listed for the Rhône-Poulenc Prize in 1998.

Richard Fortey's capable hands the humble grey trilobite has been transformed into the . of the Lower Palaeozoic - a remarkable and fascinating book. Richard Fortey is one of Britain's leading popular scientists. Life: An Unauthorised Biography, was short-listed for the Rhone Poulenc prize and has been reprinted five times. In all he writes, Fortey displays extraordinary range, delight and descriptive gifts which make complicated scientific facts and concepts not only easy to understand but a delight to absorb.

Trilobite! by Richard Fortey, HarperCollins, £1. 9, ISBN 0002570122. Fortey’s new book is an unabashedly trilobito-centric view of the world. These distant marine relatives of horseshoe crabs are more than just attractive shells, however. It’s suffused with the expertise and affection of a lifetime spent with these common and attractive fossils: from a teenage find on the Welsh coast all the way to his post a. ontinue reading.

Palaeontologist, Richard Fortey, discusses his favourite books on the .

Palaeontologist, Richard Fortey, discusses his favourite books on the subject of palaeontology in a fascinating interview with Five Books. Palaeontologist Richard Fortey says it took tiny organisms two billion years of work to oxygenate the planet sufficiently for our kind of life, including trilobites, dinosaurs and ourselves, to evolve. They tell us about ancient geography because different trilobites lived in different parts of the world; they tell us about climate because some trilobites liked living in warm water and some didn’t; they tell us about how deep the water was. In short they help to paint a picture of the ancient environment.

With Trilobite, Richard Fortey, paleontologist and author of the acclaimed Life, offers a marvelously written, smart and . Erudite and entertaining, this book is a uniquely exuberant homage to a fabulously singular species.

Erudite and entertaining, this book is a uniquely exuberant homage to a fabulously singular species. Trilobites were shelled animals that lived in the oceans over five hundred million years ago.

'In Richard Fortey's capable hands the humble grey trilobite has been transformed into the E.T. of the Lower Palaeozoic -- a remarkable and fascinating book.' SIMON WINCHESTER Richard Fortey is one of Britain's leading popular scientists. Life: An Unauthorised Biography, was short-listed for the Rhone Poulenc prize and has been reprinted five times. In all he writes, Fortey displays extraordinary range, delight and descriptive gifts which make complicated scientific facts and concepts not only easy to understand but a delight to absorb. Trilobite! is an unashamedly trilobito-centric view of the world unravelling the history of the exotic, crustacean-like animals which dominated the seas for three hundred million years. These arthropods witnessed continents move, mountain chains elevated and eroded; they survived ice ages and volcanic eruptions, evolving and adapting exquisitely to their environment. They watched through their crystal eyes whilst life evolved. Their own evolution calibrated geological time itself. Structured like a detective story, this is a light, but highly informative account of the wonders of scientific discovery and an engaging, quirky and fascinating introduction to evolution.
Reviews about Trilobite (7):
Togor
I am going to have trouble adequately describing this book, which I have read many times.

I am not a scientist, I am an attorney, but for recreation I have read many popular science books. (My complete inability to understand mathematics shut me out of the sciences.) Of all the popular science books I have read, and there are perhaps 100, this is the best, by which I mean, the most interesting and enjoyable for someone with no formal background in the sciences. (I was even motivated by this book to do a little amateur poking around in the California desert and I scored my own (very unimpressive, but for real!) trilobite fossil! These little beings from long ago were exceedingly common, so their fossils are not in any sense rare if you know where to look.)

Professor Fortey, as other reviewers have observed, does not bore the novice by leading the reader through dry charts and learned explanations. The book sparkles with anecdotes, personal diversions, and fascinating insights into these ancient life forms. He really brings them alive! As the title tells us, trilobites were among the first life forms with complex eyes, a particularly interesting form of eyes utilizing mineral crystals. This type of eye died with the trilobites, so we have no modern examples. Fortey takes us through the entire story in his charming way, from the genetic basis of "eye" all the way through to dedicated people taking photographs through fossil trilobite eyes in an effort to understand how the world looked to a trilobite. Then there are legs, and the work that was done to figure out first, that they HAD legs, and second, what these difficult to fossilize legs looked like. It reads like a little detective novel. The whole book sparkles with little gems of this kind.

Obviously this book is not for everyone, but if this kind of thing appeals to you, buy this book and read it, you are in for a treat!
SoSok
To be honest, I first saw this book in a used bookstore and for some reason the idea of an entire book devoted to trilobites struck me as hilarious. I decided to buy it and see what the author could possibly have to say on the topic. I finished it in one sitting. I found the author's prose engaging and entertaining as well as informative. His passion for the topic was evident and when I finished I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I admit it probably isn't for everyone, as trilobites will probably never be featured in a CGI extravaganza, but if you have curiosity at all about some of natures early drafts of life this book should more than satisfy.
Bralore
This book is arranged a bit like a memoir written by the author of his many years studying trilobites. This seems to be one of the main styles, which for lack of a better definition, I call the "personal theme" method of writing. The author walks along ancient shale cliffs reflecting on both literature about the cliffs and the existence of ancient life fossilized & buried in the shale of the cliffs. While the style leads to a nice narrative, it just misses that 'je ne sais quoi' of the theme: TRILOBITES! It gets close, but is a bit of a mishmash in working through both the evolution of those most durable & long lasting families of creatures the world has ever seen. He then continues with a narrative of his introduction to trilobites at a young age through his many years of study in academia.

Some highlights:

The development of the three parts (as in the tri) of the animal & the fact that it is also split three ways symmetrically on its vertical axis are explained in detail.

The absolute wonder of the "crystal" eyes. (Yes, the trilobites that could see had eyes of solid crystal!) This method of sight died out with the last of the trilobites.

The specialization & fusing of the segments (as in a segmented animal we see today like the centipede) into groups. Ex. The front most segments group together & form a head. One segment sends out a pair of antennae (segments further down in the animal's torso create legs instead).

The research of Prof. Harry Whittington & some of his very special methods of analyzing the animals. Note that Prof. Whittington actually dissected some of his samples & also X-Rayed them to identify structures hitherto undiscovered.

For further reading: Steven J Gould, "Wonderful Life"; Harry Whittington, "The Burgess Shale"

A final note: Once nature figures out a method, or structure, that works, it repeats it through its descendants. Think not? Just look at your fingernails. They are made of chitin. This is basically the same material used by a shrimp, or a lobster, to create its exoskeleton! The next time you have a shrimp cocktail, examine the shell on the shrimp tail. Then be amazed at the beauty of nature to produce a material some time in the Precambrian era that is used both by mammals and crustaceans! Ancestors of the modern shrimp lived hundreds of millions of years ago and were present when trilobites were present and living in the world, long, long before man arrived on the scene.

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