Darwin's theory of evolution was for more than a century dogged by a major problem: the evidence proving the connections between the main groups of organisms was nowhere to be found. By the 1970s this absence of 'transitional fossils' was hotly debated; some palaeontologists wondered if these 'missing links' had been so quick that no trace of them was left. However, during the past three decades fossils of walking whales from Pakistan, feathered dinosaurs from China, fish with feet from the Arctic Circle, ape-like humans from Africa, and many more bizarre creatures that fill in crucial gaps in our understanding of evolution have all been unearthed. The first account of the hunt for evolution's 'missing links', Written in Stone shows how these discoveries have revolutionised palaeontology, and explores what its findings might mean for our place on earth.
"Magisterial [...] part historical account, part scientific detective story. Switek's elegant prose and thoughtful scholarship will change the way you see life on our planet."
– Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish
"Well researched and beautifully written"
– BBC Focus
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Brian Switek is a science writer and research associate at the New Jersey State Museum. He writes the blog Laelaps for Wired Science ('Brilliant writing about palaeontology and evolution' The Times) and Dinosaur Tracking for Smithsonian. He has been a guest on BBC Radio 4's Material World and written for The Times and The Guardian as well as the Wall Street Journal and Scientific American. This is his first book.