Thursday, June 16, 2011

Living Fossils By Dr. Carl Werner

Living Fossils By Dr. Carl Werner is volume 2, of the Evolution: The Grand Experient series.  This fully illustrated, full color book is a hybrid between a science textbook, and the author's personal journal. Marketed for the homeschooled market, this science book is certain to capture the interest of any child or adult interested in science, fossils and evolution.  This book does not replace a science text, as it is not all inclusive,  nevertheless it would make a  very good supplement to a science textbook in the private or even public school forum.

This science text chronicles the author's quest to prove/ disprove evolution.  It is written in the first person point of view, including some personal, yet scientifically irrelevant facts about his trips to the escavation sites and museums.  Nevertheless, the photographs speak for themselves and his personal comments and captions do not hinder the point the author is trying to communicate.  Included are a series of high quality photographs of fossils.  In most cases the photographs of the fossils are set side by side with photographs of modern day look a likes, illustrating that there are so many animals and plant life that have changed very little since the age of the dinosaurs. In other cases, the author relies on museum reconstructions/ illustrations of ancient fossils rather than actual fossils.    This book dispells the commonly health myth- or rather, the alleged conspiracy, that mammals and other modern fish/ reptiles/ plant life did not exist until recently.  One thing that I think should be changed is the physical page space dedicated to the scientists the author quoted.  I think it is sufficient to include a quote and the scientist/ date of the quote but to include a full color photo of each individual quoted is a waste of space.

Another important issue the author raises in this text is the liberty that science illustators make when drawing reconstructions of ancient bones found.  This liberty reflects the artist's and scientist's bias causing an illustration to make a fossil animal appear more or less ancient through the use of color and the artictic liscense used to exxagerate the non-bony, cartilage- type structures, colors, skins, fur, scales etc...  The author suggests that two depictions be required- one on the modern spectrum as well as an ancient depiction because in reality, the artist must use his or her imagination to complete a drawing and fill in the gaps when only bones are available. 

I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading vol 3 and 4 which the author teased the reader about in the end of the book.  As a blogger for New Leaf publishers I revieved a copy of this book published by New Leaf publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

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