Every rock is a tangible trace of the earth’s past. The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks tells the fascinating stories behind the discoveries that shook the foundations of geology. In twenty-five chapters—each about a particular rock, outcrop, or geologic phenomenon—Donald R. Prothero recounts the scientific detective work that shaped our understanding of geology, from the unearthing of exemplary specimens to tectonic shifts in how we view the inner workings of our planet. Prothero follows in the footsteps of the scientists who asked—and answered—geology’s biggest questions: How do we know how old the earth is? What happened to the supercontinent Pangea? How did ocean rocks end up at the top of Mount Everest? What can we learn about our planet from meteorites and moon rocks? He answers these questions through expertly chosen case studies, such as Pliny the Younger’s firsthand account of the eruption of Vesuvius; the granite outcrops that led a Scottish scientist to theorize that the landscapes he witnessed were far older than Noah’s Flood; the salt and gypsum deposits under the Mediterranean Sea that indicate that it was once a desert; and how trying to date the age of meteorites revealed the dangers of lead poisoning. Each of these breakthroughs filled in a piece of the greater puzzle that is the earth, with scientific discoveries dovetailing with each other to offer an increasingly coherent image of the geologic past. Summarizing a wealth of information in an entertaining, approachable style, The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks is essential reading for the armchair geologist, the rock hound, and all who are curious about the earth beneath their feet.
Today, any kid can rattle off the names of dozens of dinosaurs. But it took centuries of scientific effort—and a lot of luck—to discover and establish the diversity of dinosaur species we now know. How did we learn that Triceratops had three horns? Why don’t many paleontologists consider Brontosaurus a valid species? What convinced scientists that modern birds are relatives of ancient Velociraptor? In The Story of the Dinosaurs in 25 Discoveries, Donald R. Prothero tells the fascinating stories behind the most important fossil finds and the intrepid researchers who unearthed them. In twenty-five vivid vignettes, he weaves together dramatic tales of dinosaur discoveries with what modern science now knows about the species to which they belong. Prothero takes us from eighteenth-century sightings of colossal bones taken for biblical giants through recent discoveries of enormous predators even larger than Tyrannosaurus. He recounts the escapades of the larger-than-life personalities who made modern paleontology, including scientific rivalries like the nineteenth-century “Bone Wars.” Prothero also details how to draw the boundaries between species and explores debates such as whether dinosaurs had feathers, explaining the findings that settled them or keep them going. Throughout, he offers a clear and rigorous look at what paleontologists consider sound interpretation of evidence. An essential read for any dinosaur lover, this book teaches us to see an ancient world ruled by giant majestic creatures anew.
The theory of evolution unites the past, present, and future of living things. It puts humanity's place in the universe into necessary perspective. Despite a history of controversy, the evidence for evolution continues to accumulate as a result of many separate strands of incredible scientific sleuthing. In The Story of Evolution in 25 Discoveries, Donald R. Prothero explores the most fascinating breakthroughs in piecing together the evidence for evolution. In twenty-five vignettes, he recounts the dramatic stories of the people who made crucial discoveries, placing each moment in the context of what it represented for the progress of science. He tackles topics like what it means to see evolution in action and the distance between species in space and time, following figures from Darwin to lesser-known researchers as they unlock the mysteries of the fossil record, the earth, and the universe. The book also features the stories of animal species strange and familiar, including humans--and our ties to some of our closest relatives and more distant cousins. Prothero's wide-ranging tales showcase awe-inspiring and bizarre aspects of nature and the powerful insights they give us into the way that life works. Brisk and entertaining while firmly grounded in fundamental science, The Story of Evolution in 25 Discoveries is a captivating read for anyone curious about the evidence for evolution and what it means for humanity.
Aliens. Ley lines. Water dowsing. Conspiracies and myths captivate imaginations and promise mystery and magic. Whether it's arguing about the moon landing hoax or a Frisbee-like Earth drifting through space, when held up to science and critical thinking, these ideas fall flat. In Weird Earth: Debunking Strange Ideas About Our Planet, Donald R. Prothero demystifies these conspiracies and offers answers to some of humanity's most outlandish questions. Applying his extensive scientific knowledge, Prothero corrects misinformation that con artists and quacks use to hoodwink others about geology--hollow earth, expanding earth, and bizarre earthquakes--and mystical and paranormal happenings--healing crystals, alien landings, and the gates of hell. By deconstructing wild claims such as prophesies of imminent natural disasters, Prothero provides a way for everyone to recognize dubious assertions. Prothero answers these claims with facts, offering historical and scientific context in a light-hearted manner that is accessible to everyone, no matter their background. With a careful layering of evidence in geology, archaeology, and biblical and historical records, Prothero's Weird Earth examines each conspiracy and myth and leaves no question unanswered.
Informative, easy-to-use guide to everyday science questions, concepts and fundamentals celebrates its twenty-fifth year and over one million copies sold! Science is everywhere, and it affects everything! DNA and CRISPR. Artificial sweeteners. Sea level changes caused by melting glaciers. Gravitational waves. Bees in a colony. The human body. Microplastics. The largest active volcano. Designer dog breeds. Molecules. The length of the Grand Canyon. Viruses and retroviruses. The weight of a cloud. Forces, motion, energy, and inertia. It can often seem complex and complicated, but it need not be so difficult to understand. The thoroughly updated and completely revised fifth edition of The Handy Science Answer Book makes science and its impact on the world fun and easy to understand. Clear, concise, and straightforward, this informative primer covers hundreds of intriguing topics, from the basics of math, physics, and chemistry to the discoveries being made about the human body, stars, outer space, rivers, mountains, and our entire planet. It covers plants, animals, computers, planes, trains, and cars. This friendly resource answers more than 1,600 of the most frequently asked, most interesting, and most unusual science questions, including ... When was a symbol for the concept of zero first used? How large is a google? Why do golf balls have dimples? What is a chemical bond? What is a light-year? What was the grand finale of the Cassini mission? How many exoplanets have been discovered? Where is the deepest cave in the United States? How long is the Grand Canyon? What is the difference between weather and climate? What causes a red tide? What is cell cloning and how is it used in scientific research? How did humans evolve? Do pine trees keep their needles forever? What is the most abundant group of organisms? How do insects survive the winter in cold climates? Which animals drink seawater? Why do geese fly in formation? What is FrogWatch? Why do cats’ eyes shine in the dark? Which industries release the most toxic chemicals? What causes most wildfires in the United States? Which woman received the Nobel Prize in two different fields (two different years)? What is the difference between science and technology? For anyone wanting to know how the universe, Earth, plants, animals, and human beings work and fit into our world, this informative book also includes a helpful bibliography, and an extensive index, adding to its usefulness. It will help anyone’s science questions!
Every fossil tells a story. Best-selling paleontology author Donald R. Prothero describes twenty-five famous, beautifully preserved fossils in a gripping scientific history of life on Earth. Recounting the adventures behind the discovery of these objects and fully interpreting their significance within the larger fossil record, Prothero creates a riveting history of life on our planet. The twenty-five fossils portrayed in this book catch animals in their evolutionary splendor as they transition from one kind of organism to another. We witness extinct plants and animals of microscopic and immense size and thrilling diversity. We learn about fantastic land and sea creatures that have no match in nature today. Along the way, we encounter such fascinating fossils as the earliest trilobite, Olenellus; the giant shark Carcharocles; the "fishibian" Tiktaalik; the "Frogamander" and the "Turtle on the Half-Shell"; enormous marine reptiles and the biggest dinosaurs known; the first bird, Archaeopteryx; the walking whale Ambulocetus; the gigantic hornless rhinoceros Paraceratherium, the largest land mammal that ever lived; and the Australopithecus nicknamed "Lucy," the oldest human skeleton. We meet the scientists and adventurers who pioneered paleontology and learn about the larger intellectual and social contexts in which their discoveries were made. Finally, we find out where to see these splendid fossils in the world's great museums. Ideal for all who love prehistoric landscapes and delight in the history of science, this book makes a treasured addition to any bookshelf, stoking curiosity in the evolution of life on Earth.
Hailed by The New York Times for writing “with wonderful clarity about science . . . that effortlessly teaches as it zips along,” nationally bestselling author Robert M. Hazen offers a radical new approach to Earth history in this intertwined tale of the planet’s living and nonliving spheres. With an astrobiologist’s imagination, a historian’s perspective, and a naturalist’s eye, Hazen calls upon twenty-first-century discoveries that have revolutionized geology and enabled scientists to envision Earth’s many iterations in vivid detail—from the mile-high lava tides of its infancy to the early organisms responsible for more than two-thirds of the mineral varieties beneath our feet. Lucid, controversial, and on the cutting edge of its field, The Story of Earth is popular science of the highest order. "A sweeping rip-roaring yarn of immense scope, from the birth of the elements in the stars to meditations on the future habitability of our world." -Science "A fascinating story." -Bill McKibben
In Rocks and Minerals! With 25 Science Projects for Kids kids ages 7 to 10 put on their headgear and embark on a journey through the world of rocks as they discover the geological forces that create and transform rocks, including the life cycle of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks and what they can tell us about the earth--plus fossils!
Readers will learn how to transform rocks and soil into new and exciting things in this educational book. Easy-to-follow text ties in fascinating science facts with the fun of making crafts. This is a great addition to any readers library.