Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

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W. W. Norton & Company, Sep 17, 1990 - Science - 352 pages

"[An] extraordinary book. . . . Mr. Gould is an exceptional combination of scientist and science writer. . . . He is thus exceptionally well placed to tell these stories, and he tells them with fervor and intelligence."—James Gleick, New York Times Book Review

High in the Canadian Rockies is a small limestone quarry formed 530 million years ago called the Burgess Shale. It hold the remains of an ancient sea where dozens of strange creatures lived—a forgotten corner of evolution preserved in awesome detail. In this book Stephen Jay Gould explores what the Burgess Shale tells us about evolution and the nature of history.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ritaer - LibraryThing

Immensely detailed story of the re-evaluation of the invertebrate pre-Cambrian fossils of the Burgess Shale. Originally assumed to be precursors of modern phyla they were eventually recognized as ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - judithskiss - LibraryThing

After reading some Gould on my travels, I came back to the U.S. in search of more of his writings. I found this in a used books store. I hadn't given much concern to paleontology until I read this ... Read full review

Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
13
Chapter I The Iconography of an Expectation
23
Chapter II A Background for the Burgess Shale
53
Toward a New View of Life
79
Chapter IV Walcotts Vision and the Nature of History
240
The Power of Just History
292
Bibliography
325
Credits
333
Index
337
Back Cover
349
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About the author (1990)

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

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