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PROTHERO USES A PERSONAL NARRATIVE STYLE and examples from his own career to discuss the latest findings in geology and paleontology and to provide an insider’s view of the profession. His detail-packed first-person narrative allows the reader to experience the personalities, the debates, the controversies, the development of new scientific techniques, and the latest scientific findings as they happened. A must read for anyone interested in paleontology or geology, and a valuable no-nonsense read for anyone considering entering the field.
He begins the book with the “greenhouse of the dinosaurs” — a global-warming episode that dominated the Age of Dinosaurs and the early Age of Mammals — to introduce the science of paleoclimatology, the study of long-term changes in the earth’s climate. The book covers the possible reasons for past radical climate changes and extinctions — from a jungle climate in the Arctic to the frozen snowball earth — and what this could mean for us and our current climate stituation. No matter what your view is on climate change, understanding the methods used to analyze past climates will help you understand what the future may hold for the planet.
Also included: one of the best discussions yet of “Punk Eek” or punctuated equilibrium and it’s tremendous effect on evolutionary theory today; descriptions of development of the new field of cladistics; and the use of paleomagnetism — presented as the author experienced it with a history of the individuals involved.
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