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Evolution in Action: Natural History through Spectacular Skeletons [Hardcover]

Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu , Patrick Gries
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 Sep 2011
Spectacular, mysterious, elegant, or grotesque, the vertebrate skeletons of Earth's fossil record carry within them the traces of several billion years of life. Evolution in Action, a resounding success on its initial publication in 2007, is a unique and beautiful attempt to provide a map of those billion years in time. Now updated and presented in a smaller format with seventeen new utterly distinctive photographs, this book steps beyond the debate and presents the undeniable truth of Darwin's theory, showing through 200 photographs of skeletons both obscure and commonplace, but always intriguing, the process by which life has transformed itself, again and again,

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson; 2 edition (26 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500515980
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500515983
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 17.5 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,184 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


`Austere yet dramatic, Gries's black and white photographs take the breath away'
--The Scotsman

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Endless forms, all Skeletal 14 July 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My first impression, upon picking up this book is that it was thick and heavy, making it stereotypically challenging to decipher and remain conscious. However, I was delighted to find a stunning array of photos fully complement each of the 44 short chapters, making this very readable indeed!

The chapters of 'Evolution in Action' are divided into 6 sections:
1) Architecture (skeletal form)
2) The Birth of Species
3) Seduction & Selection
4) Evolutionary Tinkering
5) The Power of the Environment
6) Evolution and time

Each chapter uses B&W photos of skeletons to expound an aspect of evolution, relating to the species illustrated. This really is a case for a picture being worth a thousand words: The glossy paper that makes the book heavy is put to optimal effect in capturing explicit anatomical details.

Apart from teaching evolution by skeletal comparisons and vestiges, there is also a secondary narrative woven into the narrative - historical objection to common ancestry on religious grounds. Panafieu shows himself to be well up to both tasks, deftly expounding skeletal details, whilst charting the general enlightenment of mankind.

I would say this is a fairly unique publication, the product quality and author's specialist knowledge make it very good value. The most similar books (I have also read) are the equally excellent 'Inside Nature's Giants' - a CH4 production, and 'The Ancestor's Tale' - one of Richard Dawkins finest. Buy this if you seek wide ranging evolutionary instruction, unravelled in photographic format.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My niece who is studying to become a medical doctor,wanted it for her birthday and was really thrilled with it.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 3 Oct 2014
By zoey - Published on Amazon.com
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