SCIENCES

Fantastic Fossils: A Guide to Finding and Identifying Prehistoric Life

Columbia Univ. Mar. 2020. 364p. ISBN 9780231195782. $35. SCI
COPY ISBN
Paleontologist Prothero (geological sciences, Calif. State Polytechnic; vertebrate paleontology, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; The Story of Life in 25 Fossils) offers practical advice and a solid biological foundation to the fledgling fossil collector. Beginning with some paleontology fundamentals—how fossils are formed, the fossil-bearing rocks, the best fossil sites, and the whys and wherefores of scientific nomenclature—Prothero progresses through the animal kingdom phylum by phylum, describing the anatomical features and basic physiology of representative organisms, living and fossil. The emphasis here is on the identification of invertebrate and vertebrate fossils; only one chapter is devoted to fossil plants. Although there are many helpful diagrams and fossil photos, the captioning method is sometimes cumbersome: one 14-part caption covers ten pages of illustrations, forcing readers to flip back and forth between the illustrations and the multipart caption.
VERDICT Overall, this well-written introduction to the joys of fossil hunting is recommended for the neophyte fossil collector who hasn’t read Richard Fortey’s classic, Fossils: Key to the Past.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?