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Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight
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Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  49 ratings  ·  5 reviews
In 1861, just a few years after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, a scientist named Hermann von Meyer made an amazing discovery. Hidden in the Bavarian region of Germany was a fossil skeleton so exquisitely preserved that its wings and feathers were as obvious as its reptilian jaws and tail. This transitional creature offered tangible proof of D ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 15th 1999 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1998)
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Steve Van Slyke
Sep 06, 2013 Steve Van Slyke rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any devoted science reader
Shelves: evolution, science
Is Archaeopteryx a bird, or is it not? Could it fly or glide or neither? Was it descended from the dinosaur line, the crocodilian line or some other line? Did feathers initially evolve for flight or some other purpose? Did flight evolve from the trees down or the ground up? There have been a blizzard of scientific papers on these and related topics since the first fossil specimen was identified just two years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species.

One of the things that makes this book
Bob Stocker
The first Archaeopteryx specimen, a fossilized feather, was found in 1860. Since then, seven fossilized skeletons have been discovered including one that had been collected in 1855 and was misidentified as a dinosaur until 1970. Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight by Pat Shipman explores theories about what Archaeopteryx was like, how it evolved from other animals, and how its descendents evolved into modern birds.

Some of the questions considered are fascinating. How do b
Great way to read about the evolution of dinosaurs to birds. Shipman conveys this science in an easy to understand manner. Anyone can read!
I just finished reading this book. It is a rather wordy and long-winded treatment of the analysis of archaeopteryx fossils and the theories about how bird flight originated. There is a lot of discussion about the different viewpoints about how avian flight originated which I found less interesting and quite a lot of discussion of science studies that corroborate the different views. These I much enjoyed. Overall, for me, the book is a slow read but loaded with science that I was not aware of
Lots of great archaeopteryx information but some of his theories are a little off.
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Pat Shipman is a professor of anthropology at Penn State University. Coauthor of the award-winning The Ape in the Tree, she writes for American Scientist and lives in Moncure, North Carolina.
More about Pat Shipman...
Femme Fatale: Love, Lies, and the Unknown Life of Mata Hari To the Heart of the Nile: Lady Florence Baker and the Exploration of Central Africa The Evolution of Racism: Human Differences and the Use and Abuse of Science The Animal Connection: A New Perspective on What Makes Us Human The Man Who Found the Missing Link: Eugine DuBois and His Lifelong Quest to Prove Darwin Right

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