Books  Palaeontology  Palaeozoology & Extinctions 

Fossils: A Very Short Introduction

Popular Science

Series: Very Short Introduction Series Volume: 138

By: Keith Thomson

144 pages, 24 b/w illus

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Oct 2005 | #154615 | ISBN: 0192805045
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £7.99 $10/€9 approx

About this book

In this delightful book, Keith Thomson provides a remarkably all-encompassing explanation of fossils as a phenomenon. How did Darwin use fossils to support his theory of evolution? What are 'living fossils'? What fossils will we leave behind for future generations to examine? Building on the scientific aspects, he places fossils in a very human context, highlighting their impact on philosophy and mythology, our concept of time, and today's popular culture. What quickly becomes obvious is that the discovery of fossils and the ways in which they have been interpreted over time makes for fascinating reading. From the black market to the Piltdown Man, and from mythological dragons to living dinosaurs, fossils hold a permanent place in the popular imagination.


1. Introduction; 2. A cultural phenomenon; 3. In the popular imagination; 4. Some things we know, some things we don't; 5. Against the odds; 6. Bringing fossils to life; 7. Evolving; 8. Of molecules and man; 9. Fakes and fortunes; 10. Back to the future; Further reading

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