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       Book Reviews

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For almost 450 miles, Interstate 40 stretches from the Mississippi to the heart of the Smoky Mountains. Without ever leaving your car, you and your bestie can enjoy a guided tour of a trip that spans two continental plates and a half-billion years of history -- a trip that will leave you with insight that goes way beyond the pretty scenery!

 

Schrimer and Schrock's famous tome might set you back a month's pay, but this densely written classic is packed with details on biology, terminology, classification and stratigraphic index fossils that will richly repay your investment. Not only will you dress up your library, but you might consider leaving this encyclopedic book to your kids one day. It's been in print for more than 100 years, and for a very good reason! Look for a used edition.
 
Published in 1991 by the brilliant Steven J. Gould, this beautifully illustrated classic work suggests that the "Cambrian Explosion" of animal fossils from the Burgess Shale unveiled a brief stage of evolution in which many strange and radial experiments would eventually lead to just a handful of modern animal body plans. Some unique forms would be lost forever. Although some aspects of the book are dated, this enthusiastic and informative work influenced a generation of scientists.
 
Humans are strange and complex creations, and much of our body's design is a legacy of our evolutionary past. Skilled science author Neil Shubin is on a quest to get to the true origin story of our vertebrate body plan -- a trip that will take you back to the primordial seas when the first muddy amphibians struggled ashore. An enjoyable 288 pages that will make you see something new and miraculous the next time you look in the mirror.
 
At a time when a new dinosaur species is described literally every week, reptile fans will savor this well written and illustrated modern synthesis written by leading paleontologist Steve Brusatte. Experts will appreciate detailed nomenclature, while amateurs will still enjoy the anecdotes and personal portraits of the unlikely dinosaur hunters who are pushing the boundaries of what we know about these iconic beasts of the past.
 
In the early 17 century, among the towering chalk cliffs of Dorset along English channel, a curiously determined girl named Mary Anning was about to change history by discovering the skull of an ichthyosaurus. This delightful fictionalized story follows her journey from a seaside fossil vendor to become a world famous authority respected by the scientific Royal Society, challenging scientific and social prejudices every step of the way. Great reading for teenagers and adults!
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