Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History is a book on the evolution of Cambrian fauna by Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. Alex Shrugged Stephen Jay Gould passed away in He was Jewish (as am I). He was what is called in some circles a “secular Jew”. He did not practice. Burgess Shale y la naturaleza de la historia – Stephen Jay Gould la nalga del ministro, La vida maravillosa, La sonrisa del flamenco, Acabo.
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In the end one at last realizesthis book is about “contingency” the role of chance in the development of humans, or in the development of any particular path of history. Product details Paperback Publisher: One could argue that this is because Gould was simply arguing against older methods of depicting phylogeny, rather than the relatively new at the time cladistics, but even these do not generally follow his pattern. This book is also awesome for two other reasons: Please read newer works about the fascinating Cambrian organism jzy in the Burgess Shale.
Vidq know, tell us what is so wonderful about life on this planet, with just a few detailed examples thrown in for flavor. Goupd least it has sparked my interest in early life and the Cambrian explosion.
Voda respect for the reader as an ‘intelligent layperson’ is refreshing and makes this book a real pleasure to read. All articles with dead external links Articles with dead external links from November Pages to import images to Wikidata. Wonderful Life chronicles the changing landscape of science in the seventies, and is about slow, but important changes in scientific thinking that change how we think about the world.
A decent, but certainly out of date book. Science, like farming, is hard work. Share your thoughts with other customers.
That these features proved useful later for something unrelated Marzvillosa feels is a contingency. Walcott classified his new specimens into existing major categories, primarily arthropods or annelid worms. The single real takeaway from the book is the idea that life had the highest degree of morphological diversity at the inception of multicellular life and has since only decreased in anatomical diversity not to be confused with the increase in speciation over time.
Gould Stephen Jay Gould was a prominent American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. If your curiosity about the Burgess Shale or the weird and wonderful beings of the Cambrian period needs sating, this book should more than do it. I don’t want to read a book explaining why the earth isn’t flat.
Chance, or as he puts it “contingency,” not inherent superiority, all too often played the pivotal role in which life forms survived and which equally competent ones did not. Knight, most celebrated of artists in the reanimation of fossils, painted all the canonical figures of dinosaurs that fire our fear and imagination to this day.
Wonderful Life is pretty, well, wonderful. He brought back many specimens to Washington. Also it explains in detail why the thought processes that were required for the later revision of the interpretations of the fossils were not with Walcott. This is probably a great book for the proper audience. My first reaction is that if an idea is indeed amazing, one probably wouldn’t need to keep declaring it to be so.
Walcott did not dissect the fossils to get at underlying structures.
Most of the “weird wonders” that Gould describes have been taxonomically re-evaluated in the previous two decades, and technical developments in systematics the concept of goulf groups” in cladogramsnow show that much Burgess biota, ironically, belong closer to the original classifications of Walcott. I refer to the importance of contingency. View all 21 comments. Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants.
Some of the anatomical reconstructions cited by Gould were soon challenged as being incorrect, most notably Simon Conway Morris ‘ reconstruction of Hallucigenia. And his passionate commitment to the notion of an intelligent lay audience that he can explain them to. This is the age of arthropods. Thus most Burgess Fossils were not precursors of modern forms.
He holds that many of these animals were from extinct phyla and neither arthropods or annelid worms. I’d heard about the paleontological discoveries in the Burgess Shale in Canadian Rockiesfirst described in the earky s and then re-analyzed with startlingly different results in the s and s.
So he talks about how Charles Doolittle Walcott got everything wrong except for the names–surely some subconscious laa was telling him these little animals were weirder than he thought they were because he saw what he expected to see when he looked at them. Gould’s thesis is that life did not begin with a single or limited number of organisms who formed the precursor s of all modern life – i. By framing these ideas as a “revolution” and as a response to an maravillosz of opposing beliefs, he condemns the book to instant obsolescence.
Whittington and his brilliant students took another look, they came to realize over a period of time and excruciatingly painstaking work that this Cambrian fauna abounded in new phyla, in creatures that are fundamentally different from the relatively few lineages we know today. At this time there were more.
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The Burgess Shale, located in British Columbia. So why does the author feel the need to keep telling the reader how wonderful his idea is, instead of simply showing it?
This is before he has even begun, and immediately puts me on the defensive. No trivia or quizzes yet. But the theory that Stephen Gould guld out of his fossils is a sorry mess.
I don’t know about you, but my eyes glazed over and I started skimming.