Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History

Front Cover
Crown Pub., Jan 1, 1997 - Nature - 480 pages
33 Reviews
Gould's seventh collection of essays covers a wide range of subjects in natural history, literature, and popular culture--from the wisdom of Charles Darwin to that of the Old Testament Psalms, from the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park to the dinosaurs of the latest scientific theories, from the thwarted humanity of the Frankenstein monster to the inhuman fallacies of eugenics and other pseudoscience. With black and white illustrations.

"Here is a new collection of Gould's unexpected connections between evolution and all manner of subjects, literature high among them. Gathered from his monthly column inNatural Historymagazine, these articles should delight, surprise, and inform his vast readership, as have his six prior volumes of essays. Somehow the light bulb pops on every month as his deadline approaches, some glowing fact pulled out of memory--often a line from Shakespeare or Tennyson--that illumines a                    generality Gould wishes to discuss. "Nature, red in tooth and claw" (Lord Alfred's line) induces dilations on the extent science can inform moral matters (not much, Gould believes); a remembrance of the infamous Wansee protocol prompts Gould's denunciation of the genocidal looting of evolutionary theory and, by extension, its vulnerability to ignoramuses in general. These two examples of the Gouldian essay method, fortunately, don't foreshadow a gloomy parade of topics: Gould can as easily alight at the fun house where mass culture absorbs ideas about evolution through movies of monsters run amok from Frankenstein to Jurassic Park. In other essays, he plunges directly into matters of evolutionary interpretation but customarily employs a literary twist: who else but Gould could link Edgar Allan Poe with his own area of professional eminence, the paleontology of snails? A discovery awaits in every essay--in every haystack--which solidifies Gould as one of the most eloquent science popularizers writing today."
--Booklist
  

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Review: Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History (Reflections in Natural History #7)

User Review  - Goodreads

Is there a reading list yet based solely on influential scientists and thinkers who've been featured in The Simpsons? There needs to be. I grabbed this collection from a used book store going out of ... Read full review

Review: Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History (Reflections in Natural History #7)

User Review  - Alex Jeffries - Goodreads

Is there a reading list yet based solely on influential scientists and thinkers who've been featured in The Simpsons? There needs to be. I grabbed this collection from a used book store going out of ... Read full review

Contents

Happy Thoughts on a Sunny Day in New York City
3
Dousing Diminutive Denniss Debate or DDDD 2000
11
The Celestial Mechanic and the Earthly Naturalist
24
The I ate Birth of a Flat Earth
43
The Monsters Human Nature
53
The Tooth and Claw Centennial
63
Sweetness and Light
76
In the Mind of the Beholder
93
The Razumovsky Duet
260
hour Antelopes of the Apocalypse
272
Does the Stoneless Plum Instruct the Thinking Reed?
285
The Smoking Gun of Eugenics
296
The Most Unkindest Cut of All
309
Can We Complete Darwins Revolution?
325
A Humongous Fungus Among Us
337
Speaking of Snails and Scales
344

Of Tongue Worms Velvet Worms and Water Bears
108
STABILITY
119
Lucy on the Earth in Stasis
133
Joves ITiunderbolts
159
Poes Greatest Hit
173
The Invisible Woman
187
Left Snails and Right Minds
202
Dinomania 221
223
Alive Alive O
238
Evolution by Walking
248
Hooking leviathan by Its Past
359
A Special Fondness for Beetles
377
If Kings Can Be Hermits Then We Are All Monkeys Uncles
388
Magnolias from Moscow
401
The First Unmasking of Nature
414
Ordering Nature by Budding and FullBreasted Sexuality
427
Four Metaphors in Three Generations
442
Bibliography
459
Index
469
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Born in New York City in 1941, Stephen Jay Gould received his B.A. from Antioch College in New York in 1963 and a Ph.D. in paleontology from Columbia University in 1967. Gould spent most of his career as a professor at Harvard University and curator of invertebrate paleontology at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology. His research was mainly in the evolution and speciation of land snails. Gould was a leading proponent of the theory of punctuated equilibrium. This theory holds that few evolutionary changes occur among organisms over long periods of time, and then a brief period of rapid changes occurs before another long, stable period of equilibrium sets in. Gould also made significant contributions to the field of evolutionary developmental biology, most notably in his work, Ontogeny and Phylogeny. An outspoken advocate of the scientific outlook, Gould had been a vigorous defender of evolution against its creation-science opponents in popular magazines focusing on science. He wrote a column for Natural History and has produced a remarkable series of books that display the excitement of science for the layperson. Among his many awards and honors, Gould won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His titles include; Ever Since Darwin, The Panda's Thumb, Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory and Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin. Stephen Jay Gould died on May 20, 2002, following his second bout with cancer.

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