Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Endless forms, all Skeletal
on 14 July 2012
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.