Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature

Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature

“Switek seamlessly intertwines two types of evolution: one of life on earth and the other of paleontology itself.”—Discover Magazine

““In delightful prose, [Switek] . . . superbly shows that ‘[i]f we can let go of our conceit,’ we will see the preciousness of life in all its forms.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Highly instructive . . . a warm, intelligent yeoman’s guide to the progress of life.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Magisterial . . . part historical account, part scientific detective story. Switek’s elegant prose and thoughtful scholarship will change the way you see life on our planet. This book marks the debut of an important new voice.”—Neil Shubin

“Elegantly and engagingly crafted, Brian Switek’s narrative interweaves stories and characters not often encountered in books on paleontology—at once a unique, informative and entertaining read.”—Niles Eldredge

“If you want to read one book to get up to speed on evolution, read Written in Stone. Brian Switek’s clear and compelling book is full of fascinating stories about how scientists have read the fossil record to trace the evolution of life on Earth.”—Ann Gibbons

“[Switek's] accounts of dinosaurs, birds, whales, and our own primate ancestors are not just fascinating for their rich historical detail, but also for their up-to-date reporting on paleontology’s latest discoveries.”—Carl Zimmer

"After reading this book, you will have a totally new context in which to interpret the evolutionary history of amphibians, mammals, whales, elephants, horses, and especially humans.”—Donald R. Prothero

Spectacular fossil finds make today's headlines; new technology unlocks secrets of skeletons unearthed a hundred years ago. Still, evolution is often poorly represented by the media and misunderstood by the public. A potent antidote to pseudoscience, Written in Stone is an engrossing history of evolutionary discovery for anyone who has marveled at the variety and richness of life.


Title:Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781934137291
Format Type:

    Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature Reviews

  • Book

    Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature by Brian Switek“Written in Stone” is a “solid” scientific book from freelance science writer Brian Switek. This book foc...

  • Nikki

    Written in Stone is a pretty interesting guide to the fossil record and especially theories of evolution related to it, and also our own ancestry. I found it a little bit dry by the end, but I did rea...

  • Steve Van Slyke

    The story of evolution primarily from the paleontological perspective (as the name implies), although he does cite some of the biochemical lines of research that support what the rocks and bones have ...

  • Jamie

    Evolution seem so obvious today that it is hard to understand why it took so long for it to become widely known. In essence, evolution can be summed up with the phrase “descent with modification.”...

  • Troy Blackford

    Brian Switek writes with unrivaled lucidity about the ramifying branches of evolution over the ages, chronicling the history and origin of types as diverse as whales, horses, birds, dinosaurs, and hum...

  • Jack

    It's really great to read an up to date paleontology book. My only criticism is that the book itself reads like a textbook and can get a bit dry at times. Still it's a good book, packed with a ton of ...

  • Brad

    A fun look into the fossil record. Switek offers an engaging look into evolution with his first book. The final two chapters on human fossils - and what they say about humans today - are particularly ...

  • Christopher

    Fascinating survey of life on Earth as revealed by the fossil record, evolution, and extinction. Underscores how precious and tenuous the existence of any species has been over the course of hundreds ...

  • David Evans

    A superbly readable account of the fossil record that pieces together the links that lead from the most unlikely original creatures to produce profusions of branching descendants, some of whom are liv...

  • Last Ranger

    Reading the Book of Earth:This excellent book covers a lot of ground, in more ways than one. Part science and part history, "Written in Stone" by science writer Brian Switek offers an overview of how ...