Stephen's Reviews > Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould
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's review
Jan 16, 2009

it was amazing
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Read in December, 1996

Wonderful life, indeed!!

One of the best science books I have ever read because the story is so extraordinary. Most of the late Stephen Jay Gould’s published works are collections of his essays but this is a full-length book that tells the story of the fossils found in the Burgess Shale in Canada. Normally, when you think of paleontology, you think of dinosaur bones as big as small cars. But this deposit held the fossilized remains of small small-tissued animals that lived 530 million years ago, long before dinosaurs or dodos or dachshunds ever existed. Unraveling the story the flattened creatures told and the story of the Cambrian Explosion is fascinating. It seems once multi-cellular life began to appear in the oceans of our planet it evolved quickly into a remarkable smorgasbord of forms. Many soon went extinct leaving no ancestors, and their strange likes have never been seen again. Great book. Wonderful life.
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