Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature
The first book on the hunt for evolution’s ‘missing links’ over the last three decades – and what palaeontologists’ findings mean for our place on earth.
Darwin’s theory was for more than a century dogged by a major problem: the evidence proving the connections between the main groups of organisms was nowhere to be found. By the 1970s this absence of ‘transitional fossils’ was hotly debated; some palaeontologists wondering if these ‘missing links’ had been so quick that no trace of them was left.
However, during the past three decades fossils of walking whales from Pakistan, feathered dinosaurs from China, fish with feet from the Arctic Circle, ape-like humans from Africa, and many more bizarre creatures that fill in crucial gaps in our understanding of evolution have all been unearthed. These discoveries have revolutionised the way in which the fossil record is read to make sense of life on Earth, including the evolution of human beings.
Written In Stone is the first account of the remarkable discovery of these gap-fossils and of the new stories they tell about the evolution of life.
Featured On Episode #88
Written in Stone
Science writer Brian Switek joins us to talk about his new book Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature. We’ll take a detailed look at the fossil evidence, to learn about the evolution of life on Earth, and our evolving understanding of how the process works. And paleozoologist Darren Naish discusses the Science of Godzilla, his look at the hypothetical biology, anatomy and physics of the famous movie monster.