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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of Knowledge
Having studied Archaeopteryx at university a number of years ago, I was most excited to see this book on the shelf whilst rambling through a book store. Once home I opened it and started to read. It was three hours later when I put the book down due only to getting hungry.
It is a facinating read whether you have a knowledge of Archaeopteryx or not. Having never...
Published on 10 Oct 2000

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Detailed but inconclusive
This is a rapidly evolving subject and things have moved on since the book was written.

The author has researched very intensively and the book is heavy on facts, arguments and counter arguments. There is however, little to take home with you.

I've read extreme versions of the tale including the work by Danish ornithologist Heilmann (birds are proto...
Published on 25 Sep 2006 by Sarakani


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of Knowledge, 10 Oct 2000
By A Customer
Having studied Archaeopteryx at university a number of years ago, I was most excited to see this book on the shelf whilst rambling through a book store. Once home I opened it and started to read. It was three hours later when I put the book down due only to getting hungry.
It is a facinating read whether you have a knowledge of Archaeopteryx or not. Having never read one of Pat Shipmans books I can know say that I will be searching for more. Pat has the ability to convay information that keeps you on the edge of your seat, whilst being interesting and informative.
Well done Pat
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heaps of Information, 30 Mar 2001
This is a good book - THE book to read on the subject. There is no no time wasted on dreary old pseudoscience, but all the arguments, discoveries and controversies that have filled the history of these fossils are covered. And the latest theories and discoveries are fully explained.
That said, the information is disorganised, the diagrams are terrible, the writing style is poor - and do we really need to know about the vampire bat and Brewster McCloud? If the kitchen sink could fly it would have been included.
The subject matter alone should keep you hooked - it did me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bit dated now but still good, 25 Feb 2011
This review is from: Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight (Paperback)
Things have moved on a bit since this book was written and Archaeopteryx isn't quite the star it was. This is still a good book though, and one I used when writing my lecture notes. It covers the subject of flight very well and unlike one of the other reviewers I found the diagrams to be very useful. Alright, they're not works of art, but they are instructive and clear. Figure 19 sticks in my mind. It shows the comparison of the wing bones of a range of birds and demonstrates very clearly the difference in morphology between flappers (hummingbird) and soarers (albatross). Apart from coverage of Archaeopteryx and the evolution of birds, the whole book is a mine of information on the biology of bird flight and uses research by such experts as Ostrum, and Gatesy and Dial.

Pat Shipman is obviously a very good and thorough researcher and I personally liked her writing style. There is no black and white in science, just different shades of grey. Sometimes all you can do is read the evidence, make up your own mind, hope you've got it right and be prepared to back peddle if you haven't.

For me, if you're interested in flight and the evolution of birds this book is well worth a read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Detailed but inconclusive, 25 Sep 2006
By 
Sarakani (Harrow United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This is a rapidly evolving subject and things have moved on since the book was written.

The author has researched very intensively and the book is heavy on facts, arguments and counter arguments. There is however, little to take home with you.

I've read extreme versions of the tale including the work by Danish ornithologist Heilmann (birds are proto dinosaurs) and accounts by Robert Bakker (birds are derived dinosaurs). I tend to prefer the dinosaurs are birds argument which is gaining more momentum with every new fossil unearthed, but this book tries hard to be impartial and creates too much doubt. The author does not say what she thinks and why which would have been useful.

It is balanced and a good addition summarising our knowledge but there are probably far better works now available.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone interested in the origins of flight., 19 July 2001
This review is from: Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight (Paperback)
As a palaeological detective Pat Shipman makes an excellent review of the various theories for the origin of vertebrate flight. Very readable as well as informative. A must read for anyone interested in this field.
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Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight
Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight by Pat Shipman (Paperback - 15 Jan 1999)
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