The Sciences

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

By Sheril KirshenbaumOct 26, 2010 9:20 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

I recently caught a clip of two women on The View discussing how they do not "believe" in evolution. Discouraging, but then I shouldn't really be surprised. After all, as Chris and I reported in Unscientific America, 46 percent of Americans agree with them--and think the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. So what can we do about this kind of anti-science sentiment?

Brian Switek's fascinating new book Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature is assuredly a part of the solution. I've long been a fan of Switek's writing and follow his terrific blog Laelaps on the Wired Science network. This book is not only as good as I expected--it's better.

For anyone interested in fossils, the history of science, and evolution, Written in Stone is a must read! Packed with the latest research and composed in an engaging style, it can be easily understood by scientists and laypeople alike. The book’s a unique mix of scientifically rigorous information and elegant accounts of life on our planet. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on fossil whales where Switek describes how researchers struggled to understand their ancestry. Parts of this book reads like a mystery while you also get historical tales from the field. There are many interesting characters as well and I really enjoyed the images included throughout.

Most of all, Written in Stone is important because it connects the dots on evolution. Switek provides a compelling narrative about the process of adaptation–including how we are part of the story. His prose is wonderful, and I especially love the ending–which I won’t give away here (but would like to!).

This excellent book is coming to a bookstore near you next week and should be of interest to everyone who possesses a natural curiosity about the world. So go buy it!

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2022 Kalmbach Media Co.