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Pat Shipman
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Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx And The Evolution Of Bird Flight

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  60 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
This bird's-eye view of evolution through the story of "Archaeopteryx", the fossil skeleton of a transitional bird-reptile, offers a stunning glimpse into the origins of flight--and the drama with which scientific understanding unfolds.
Published (first published 1998)
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Steve Van Slyke
Sep 06, 2013 Steve Van Slyke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any devoted science reader
Shelves: science, evolution
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
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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
...more
Elizabeth Wilson
This is one of those books that makes you want to learn even more about not just birds, but how the evolution of our bodies work. Why do mammals have shoulder bones, but birds have a wishbone? What is the importance of bird muscles to breathing? Shipman even looks at the competing theories of ground-up versus tree-down methods of developing flight. Definitely a Good Read!
Claire
Apr 25, 2014 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great way to read about the evolution of dinosaurs to birds. Shipman conveys this science in an easy to understand manner. Anyone can read!
Cmb
Apr 08, 2011 Cmb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bob,
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
...more
Russell
Apr 29, 2012 Russell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of great archaeopteryx information but some of his theories are a little off.
Larry
Didn't finish, donated to charity during a house move.
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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.
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