What do you think of when you think of fossils? Most people, I believe, think of a long dead animal from an extinct species frozen for ever in rock. Something that is old and not from the time we live in. I'm sure we've all heard that word even applied to people who are relicts of a past age. It's an example of something in this time that doesn't really belong.
And in many cases that is true. The dinosaurs are perfect examples of this. These animals don't walk the earth anymore (even though I've heard the stories about Nessie and the Ogopogo) but we can find evidence that they did. However, as this book brings to light, not everything that is fossilized is extinct. The most famous example is of course the Coelacanth. This fish was thought to have died out millions of years ago. It was an index fossil (an index fossil is a fossil that when you find it you can know the rock it is in is XXX years old). But now we know that it is still swimming around in the India ocean (interestingly it is still considered an index fossil).
I read the book, Evolution, the Grand Experiment: Living Fossils from New Leaf Publishing group. The book takes a look at many such examples of fossil species with photographs of living animals that are identical or nearly identical to its fossilized cousin. It's an interesting book and worth picking up and looking through. While not the heaviest on text content, the pictures are fantastic and in many cases speak for themselves. It also chronicles the journey of compiling the book. While not my favorite book on the subject I would recommend it and am glad to have it in my library. The book does exactly what it sets out to do, I just like a more complete look at these issues (and bigger books).
I'm also supposed to say that Newleaf provided me this copy for the purposes of reviewing it free of charge. This however did not sway my opinion of the book in any way.
Dr. Carl Werner has written done parents a great favor in writing his book, Evolution: The Grand Experiment: Volume 2. Dealing with the fallacy of evolution in a way that is easy to understand, well thought out, and, as a great bonus, interesting, this book is perfect for students grade 8 and older, though even younger children can benefit from, and will enjoy, looking through it as the pictures are so gorgeous.
Dr. Werner tackles Charles Darwin's theories by carefully examining them and then explaining for his readers how many of Darwin's theories have been proven false.
Dr. Werner covers such topics as: How did life begin?, Darwin's False Mechanism for Evolution and Natural Selection among many others.
This is a book that I would highly recommend to families with school age children. There is a teacher's manual and a video series available to use along with this book.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Master Books/New Leaf Publishing for purposes of review. I was not required to give a positive review, only a fair and honest one. My opinions are my own.
Having reviewed Carl Werner's Evolution: The Grand Experiment - Volume 1 a few months back, I eagerly awaited the opportunity to crack open Volume 2: Living Fossils. Like the first volume, Living Fossils is presented in an easy-to-read format aimed at the general public and is filled with beautiful full color photographs of fossils and animals throughout. As they say, A picture is worth a thousand words. Once again, Werner's book is a Godsend for visual learners.
While Volume 1 tackled several lines of evidence used to support evolution at once, this volume deals with one specific issue.
Basically, Dr. Carl Werner set out to test the evolutionary model in the following manner:
"I predicted that if evolution was not true, then animals and plants would not change significantly over time. Accordingly, I predicted I should find fossils of modern animal and plant species in the "older" fossil layers" [p. 10].
He notes that "the naming of species is subjective and, at times, I find species and genus names unreliable" [p. 23]. As an example, he notes that scientists once mistakenly believed different "races" of humans represented more than 15 different species, while modern genetics have proven we are but one species. He also notes wide variations in dogs, in a single species of oysters and in sassafras leaves [even from the same tree]. He further noted that while he and his wife photographed many modern-appearing plants and animals in the fossil record, not one fossil was assigned a modern species name. He became convinced that evolutionist were playing what he calls the Naming Game.
As he puts it:
"If a paleontologist was unfamiliar with the variations within living species, it is possible he or she could misinterpret differences and mistakenly give each fossil a new, erroneous species name, based on minor changes only. Taking it one step further, this name change could give the false impression that evolution, or dramatic change, has occured over time. The only way this can be sorted out is to look at the fossils and living forms" [p. 18].
This is exactly what Dr. Werner has set out to do in this volume; He painstakingly takes us through the plant and animal kingdoms, showing us modern-looking dinosaur era fossils and their probable living counterparts. It is an amazing book of which Dr. Werner should be proud.
I can't wait to check out the next book in the series.
Living Fossils begins with an account of the challenge given to the author, Dr. Carl Werner, during his sophomore year of college to answer the question, "How could life begin if proteins do not form naturally?" This book is a 30 year compilation of that quest and to prove evolution, right or wrong.
"Many perceive the fossil record as the greatest proof for the theory of evolution that life in the far distant past was comprised of strange and unusual animals and plants that evolved over time into the familiar life-forms that surround us today.
Many who oppose evolution argue that plants and animals have not fundamentally changed over time. Although some animals, like dinosaurs and flying reptiles, have gone extinct, the others have remained substantially the same since their origin. These viewpoints radically contradict one another.
In order to solve this controversy, I have reviewed thousands of fossils from the dinosaur era - fossils from Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous rock layers - and compared them to the animals and plants of today. Accordining to one reviewer, you will not find a more complete picture of life during the dinosaur era anywhere."
Upon first receiving this book, I am awe struck with page upon page of spectacular photographs. The majority of which contain shots of living creatures next to their counterpart fossil that are supposedly millions of years old. It is rather difficult to believe in evolution/millions of years when faced with these "living fossils".
Each chapter of this book is packed with a wide array of information that is "just-right" for the 7th grade and up crowd. Within these 25 chapters, you'll find a fascinating, revealing and informative study of living fossils from aquatic life, reptiles, snakes, birds, mammals and plants.
Currently, my children are in 8th, 5th and 3rd grades. I decided to do the first couple of lessons with all three. Obviously, I don't have the same expectations for my 3rd grader as I do for my oldest child - but there are some concepts she is able to grasp on a more simplistic level.
Using the Teacher's Manual, we followed the first 6 steps:
1. Teacher reads 'Purpose of Chapter' in this Teacher's Manual.
2. Teacher leads students in 'Class Discussion Questions'.
All of my children could do this with varying degrees of understanding.
3. Students watch DVD (optional).
We do not currently have this DVD, but I would not hesitate to purchase it based on the quality of inormation presented.
4. Students read chapter.
I went ahead and read it out loud and stopped when necessary to answer questions.
5. Students are given 'Objectives of Chapter Worksheet' after reading the chapter and are
directed to complete the answers.
My 8th grader did these on his own. I did some of these orally with my younger two.
6. Teacher administers 'Chapter Test A'.
I gave this only to my 8th grader.
So far in our studies, my older two were struck with the subjectivness of the "Name Game". On dig sites there's not a committee of scientists to determine whether a fossil is a new species or a variation. Whoever finds it, names it and most likely that scientist supports evolution in which the new species name may reflect this. Often times a scientists will gain more recognition by doing so.
A great photo example of this concept is from page 24. There are 6 pictures of variations in American Oysters. They are all the same species. If they were found fossilized miles apart from each other, they might be incorrectly assigned a new species name. Other examples include: Sassafras and Magnolia leaves.
My youngest could easily figure this out by looking at all the variations of dog skulls that were also pictured.
I won't spoil the conclusions of the author, but I will tell you that he does address: 7 Problems of Evolution, Influence of Fossil Orientation, Use of Fossils Found Below Dinosaur Layers, Difficulty in Vertebrate Identification and Assumptions in Fossil Reconstructions.
My children mostly enjoyed this study. My oldest prefers Physics to Life Sciences. But, he did enjoy reading the evidence against evolution. My younger two, who are avid animal lovers, enjoyed the pictures and building knowledge against evolution with Living Fossils.
I would recommend this book in a CO-OP or individual setting and would be a wonderful summer science study as well!
I received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.