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Dinosaur in a Haystack: Reflections in Natural History

Popular Science

Series: Stephen Jay Gould's Essays On Natural History [NHBS list] Volume: 7

By: Stephen Jay Gould

480 pages, b/w illustrations

Belknap Press

Paperback | Oct 2011 | #200550 | ISBN-13: 9780674061606
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £17.95 $24/€20 approx
Paperback | Dec 1997 | #65838 | ISBN: 0140256725
Out of Print Details
Hardback | Mar 1996 | #53238 | ISBN: 0224044729
Out of Print Details

About this book

Evolutionary biologist and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould has perfected the art of the essay in this brilliant new collection. These thirty-four essays, most originally published in Natural History magazine, exemplify the keen insight with which Dr. Gould observes the natural world and convey the infectious enthusiasm for fossils and evolutionary theory that has made his books award-winning, national best-sellers.

In his latest musings on evolution and other natural phenomena, Gould reveals the uncanny interconnections among distinctly human creations – museums, literature, music, politics, and culture – encompassing a delightfully, wide range of topics, from giant fossils, fads, and fungus to baseball, beeswax, and blaauwbocks, from a humanistic look at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Erasmus Darwin's poetry to the fallacies of eugenics and creationism and the moral imperatives of thinking people to meet the ethical challenges that pseudo-science presents.

"[Gould] writes in a consistently graceful, approachable style, with easy elegance and clarity, and he is an incomparable explainer of difficult ideas."
– Phillip Lopate, The New York Times Book Review


Preface: Come Seven
Part One: Heaven and Earth
    1. Happy Thoughts on a Sunny Day in New York City
    2. Dousing Diminutive Dennis’s Debate (or DDDD=2000)
    3. The Celestial Mechanic and the Earthly Naturalist
    4. The Late Birth of a Flat Earth
Part Two: Literature and Science
    5. The Monster’s Human Nature
    6. The Tooth and Claw Centennial
    7. Sweetness and Light
Part Three: Origin, Stability, and Extinction
        8. In the Mind of the Beholder
        9. Of Tongue Worms, Velvet Worms, and Water Bears
        10. Cordelia’s Dilemma
        11. Lucy on the Earth in Stasis
        12. Dinosaur in a Haystack
        13. Jove’s Thunderbolts
Part Four: Writing about Snails
    14. Poe’s Greatest Hit
    15. The Invisible Woman
    16. Left Snails and Right Minds
Part Five: The Glory of Museums
    17. Dinomania
    18. Cabinet Museums: Alive, Alive, O!
    19. Evolution by Walking
    20. The Razumovsky Duet
    21. Four Antelopes of the Apocalypse
Part Six: Disparate Faces of Eugenics
    22. Does the Stoneless Plum Instruct the Thinking Reed?
    23. The Smoking Gun of Eugenics
    24. The Most Unkindest Cut of All
Part Seven: Evolutionary Theory, Evolutionary Stories
        25. Can We Complete Darwin’s Revolution?
        26. A Humongous Fungus Among Us
        27. Speaking of Snails and Scales
        28. Hooking Leviathan by Its Past
        29. A Special Fondness for Beetles
        30. If Kings Can Be Hermits, Then We Are All Monkeys’ Uncles
        31. Magnolias from Moscow
Part Eight: Linnaeus and Darwin’s Grandfather
    32. The First Unmasking of Nature
    33. Ordering Nature by Budding and Full-Breasted Sexuality
    34. Four Metaphors in Three Generations

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Stephen Jay Gould was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard University and Vincent Astor Visiting Professor of Biology at New York University. A MacArthur Prize Fellow, he received innumerable honors and awards and wrote many books, including Ontogeny and Phylogeny and Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle (both from Harvard).

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