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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Swimming with trilobites!, 10 July 2004
This review is from: Trilobite! Eyewitness to Evolution (Paperback)
What interesting creatures. I feel I've learned a bit and would like to know more. I did read S J Gould's "Wonderful Life", about the fossilised creatures discovered in the Burgess Shale, a few years ago. That was fascinating too, but I found the author's gushing enthusiasm and sometimes over-imaginative speculation a bit of an impediment to my enjoyment. Now I try not to let style and presentation get in the way because quite a few popular science books seem to go in for this 'author centred story' sort of style and it would be a shame to miss out because of it. Style isn't everything and if a book is interesting, you can forgive the author's foibles. I think most of the interesting trilobite facts could have been covered in about 50 pages. This book is over 250 pages long because it covers the personal journey of the author from his first trilobite through the interesting people he met and worked with and whose work he admires (or not) and some interesting snatches of the history of palaeontology and the literature of Thomas Hardy and so on. It's not just a trilobite text book. There's lots of 'human interest' stuff here. Some people like that sort of thing and others can learn to relax and enjoy it. I tried to enjoy the personal four fifths of the book and didn't do too badly but the really interesting stuff for me was the information about trilobites.

It wasn't difficult to startle and amaze me with trilobite facts as I knew almost nothing about them. Here are some of the things that surprised and delighted me:
there were thousands and thousands of different species (a bit like beetles today); they had very peculiar and remarkable eyes (those that weren't blind); they could be as big as a very large lobster or as small as a gnat; they could only live in sea water - not fresh water; most of the fossilised remains found are old carapaces that were cast off to allow growth, rather than whole dead trilobites; trilobites were around for about 300 million years; and so on - and plenty more. There are lots of photographs and diagrams. Trilobites are absolutely beautiful - some of them are absolutely fabulously beautiful. It seems a shame that we'll never be able to see them alive.

So, a very worthwhile read.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Feb 2010 22:18:37 GMT
no one says:
Was given this book some years ago, as a avid fossil collector.
Sadly put aside due to work and a back- log of reading.
I enjoyed the review,and its next on my list.
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