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Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight (Anglais) Broché – 1 juillet 1999

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Broché, 1 juillet 1999
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--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché.

Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

John Noble Wilford The New York Times Book Review [An] excellent book. [Shipman's] narrative is alive with stories...and takes the reader into the minds of these scientists. She seems to be on a journey herself, generously bringing us along.

Will St. John Detroit Free Press Taking Wing gives its readers a splendid view of both birds and brains in action. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Présentation de l'éditeur

In 1861, just a few years after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, a scientist named Hermann von Meyer made an amazing discovery. Hidden in the Bavarian region of Germany was a fossil skeleton so exquisitely preserved that its wings and feathers were as obvious as its reptilian jaws and tail. This transitional creature offered tangible proof of Darwin's theory of evolution.
Hailed as the First Bird, Archaeopteryx has remained the subject of heated debates for the last 140 years. Are birds actually living dinosaurs? Where does the fossil record really lead? Did flight originate from the "ground up" or "trees down"? Pat Shipman traces the age-old human desire to soar above the earth and to understand what has come before us. Taking Wing is science as adventure story, told with all the drama by which scientific understanding unfolds. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 336 pages
  • Editeur : Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ); Édition : New edition (1 juillet 1999)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0753806967
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753806968
  • Dimensions du produit: 13 x 3 x 19,6 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 1.558.284 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
  • Table des matières complète
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Première phrase
The very first Archaeopteryx to be recognized was a feather impression, dark and clearly delineated on the pale, honey-colored limestone slab. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Par 2nimm TOP 500 COMMENTATEURS le 3 août 2011
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
livre broché format poche papier recyclé datant de 1998; c'est un essai scientifique décrivant la découverte de ce fossile et toutes les questions que les savant se sont posées concernant l'évolution de ces créatures vers le vol; texte passionnant suffisamment illustrés de croquis, dessins schémas en n&b, jamais en couleur; cet ouvrage scientifique est bien écrit et même si son iconographie le rend un peu austère, c'est un très bon livre à avoir dans sa bibliothèque
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17 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Archaeopteryx - all there is to know. 12 janvier 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Relié
There are seven specimens of Archaeopteryx; and a feather. And from what seems not very much a great deal of academic effort is attempting to discover the origins of bird flight. In jaundiced moments one speculates that when another specimen is found another university will be founded to study it. And a second one to refute the findings of the first.
There are certainly enough academic disciplines involved to start a couple of faculties - geology, palaeontology, biology, anatomy, physiology, ecology, aerodynamic engineering, ornithology - the variety of skills focused on these seven specimens is never ending.
Archaeopteryx probably weighed about 250 grams and had a wing span of 58 cm. To take off it needed to generate more than 9.8 newtons per kilogram of its body weight to overcome the force of gravity. We may have the feathers of Archaeopteryx but we do not have a reliable measurement of its musculature, - their size, strength or efficiency.
This of course can, and does, lead to hugely involved disputes as to whether the beast could take off, if it took off from the ground, or from a tree it had climbed up, did it fly or did it glide or were its feathers there just to keep it warm.
But before we get to what Archaeopteryx was for we have to go through much fascinating detail of how the fossils were found; detailed anatomy of wings and of wing flapping; discussion of X-rays taken of birds as they fly; which reptiles were the birds ancestor (and was that the same ancestor as that of Archaeopteryx); discussion of homologous and analogous parts in the wrist of Deinonychus and Archaeopteryx; which of the original five fingers are retained in Archaeopteryx's three digits, the significance of a reversed hallux, especially in relation to tree climbing and perching; the evolution and function of feathers; the development of "wings" for temperature regulation and/or flight; comparisons between bats, pterosaurs and birds and their relationship to Archaeopteryx; and many other topics which impinge on the study of these fabulous fossils.
As you can see from my list of the subjects discussed - which is by no means complete - anyone who understands all there is to know about Archaeopteryx can claim to know a good fraction of human knowledge. The author makes a good stab at making the varied strands of expertise digestible to the intelligent layman, and in the main succeeds very well.
Having read the book I now know a great deal more than I did before, and have a better understanding of the areas of controversy. In the end one will never know unequivocally whether Archaeopteryx could take off from the ground and fly in and out of the bushes, flapping its wings as it chased butterflies and dragonflies, but I hope it did. And if another specimen is found I would love to have a good long look at it.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Ancient flight plan 9 mai 2001
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format: Broché
TAKING WING is the story of Archaeopteryx and therefore it's about the origins of birds and the evolution of flight. Beginning with a history of the 8 fossil remains (7 skeletons and 1 feather) we read about the dozens of people from the myriad sciences (paleontology, biology, ornithology, aeronautics and engineering) that have puzzled over the significance of Archaeopteryx lithographica (Ancient wing from the printing stone). Even the name seems a puzzle until you realize it's named for the smooth limestone slabs that were used in printing. The quarries where most of the fossils were found are in Germany.
One of the persons mentioned in the book is John Ostrom, who Ms Shipman gives full credit for reviving the dinosaur to bird hypothesis for the evolution of aves (birds). Arguments over the origins of birds are legion, and with good reason says Ms Shipman. The morphology of Archaeopteryx "is genuinely ambiguous." Just where do birds belong in the taxonomy of life? Ms Shipman talks about the morphology of hands and wings and provides an interesting synopsis of two different ways of interpreting evolutionary anatomy - homology and analogy. Very briefly, homology looks for evolutionary modifications of some common structure wheras analogy sees similarities based on function, not on common descent.
The two, big, bird questions are:
(1) Did birds descend from dinosaurs or from some older common reptilian ancestor of both dinosaurs and birds?
(2) How did birds learn to fly. "Down from the trees," parachuting, then gliding, then powered flight or "up from the ground," running, then hopping, then flapping to get airborne?
Ms Shipman, after offering a balanced and detailed analysis of the subject, has her own opinion. She states that predatory dinosaurs known as theropods are "the most probable ancestors of birds." On the question of flying she says, "I am now convinced that Archaeopteryx was such a large-winged creature that it could take off from the ground, with either a reptilian or an avian physiology."
I'm just as impressed with Archaeopteryx as I am with the vast amounts of scientific research trying to explain its origins. For a little creature no bigger than a crow, that lived 150 million years ago, this book is a rather impressive tribute.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Triumph of Science Writing 4 août 2001
Par Eric B. Norris - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
The other reviews accurately describe the contents of this book. What I want to emphasize is Shipman's writing. This is probably the best written science book I have ever read. The author breaks down the book into smaller stories, such as the discovery of the fossils themselves, the structure of the skeletal joints of dinosaurs and modern birds, and the evolution and aerodynamics of feathers to name a few. Also recounted are the some of the more interesting human characters interpreting the fossil record of these little birds for the past 150 years. All of this is told in a lively, informal fashion. Yet Shipman does not shy away from some of the more technical details, and that is part of the joy of this book. Instead, she takes us by the hand and leads us through the details, never trying to oversimplify things, but never boring us, either. It reads like a novel.
My only complaint is that the illustrations, in the paperback edition I read, are reduced to such a tiny size that they are often very hard or impossible to read. This is a shame, because the illustrations are really necessary to understand some of the concepts presented here. But don't let that stop you--get a magnifying glass and let your mind soar back tens of thousands of millenia to the time when little Archaeopteryx lived and died.
This is a great book.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Taking Wing Soars 22 août 2000
Par Louann Miller - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This is a splendid book. Shipman has a clear, entertaining writing style but does not sacrifice detail to "dumb things down" for the reader. The book covers not only Archaeopteryx but flight in general, looking at the development of flight in organisms ranging from bats and pterodactyls to the Wright Brothers. She does not avoid controversial topics such as the accusation that the best-known Archaeopteryx fossil is a forgery; instead she explains in detail how we know this is not the case. I would recommend Shipman's book not only to paleontology fans but to anyone interested in flight or modern birds.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The first bird, or a feathered reptile? 16 février 2005
Par John Duncan - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Archaeopteryx has aroused the interest of specialists and the general public alike since its first fossils were discovered in the 1860s, only a short time after The Origin of Species was published, when the excitement raised by Darwin's famous book had by no means died down. Darwin himself had explained that so extremely few individuals become fossils that we cannot expect to find fossils to answer every question about evolution that we might want to ask -- in short, that fossilized links cannot be found to document every postulated transition between one species and another. Nonetheless, there was great interest in the search for "missing links", for example between modern birds and their ancestors. Archaeopteryx seemed at once to supply this link: it had feathers, like a modern bird, and unlike any other modern creature; but it also had teeth, like a dinosaur, but unlike any modern bird.

As Pat Shipman describes in her book, Archaeopteryx appears to answer some questions about the origin of birds, but it also raises and only partially answers numerous other questions. Were the dinosaurs thermoregulators (warm-blooded in everyday terminology), like birds and mammals, or cold-blooded, like reptiles? Could archaeopteryx fly? What function did its feathers fulfil, if not for flying? Archaeopteryx had more than just feathers: its feathers resembled those of flying birds, not those of flightless birds like ostriches, which have lost the capacity to link together to form a coherent surface. If it was cold-blooded, could it have generated enough power to fly significant distances? To put this into perspective, the differences in food requirements between warm- and cold-blooded animals are huge: a 9 ounce (255 gram) mammal or bird needs to eat about 17 times as much food as a lizard of the same size, all of the extra food being necessary to meet the requirements of temperature regulation. Although the argument is not yet over, the conclusion appears to be that Archaeopteryx probably needed to be warm-blooded, and the dinosaurs were probably warm-blooded as well.

The Archaeopteryx fossils attracted accusations of forgery soon after they were first discovered, as they seemed some observers to be too good to be true. These accusations acquired renewed credibility in the 1980s when a group led by the cosmologist Fred Hoyle -- notorious among evolutionists for his attacks on Darwinism -- announced that the feather impressions were faked and that they had found traces of an artificial material "like chewing gum". This was an important accusation, because much of the importance of the fossils lay in the implication that the feathers belonged to the same individual as the rest of the remains. As the book explains, these accusations were taken quite seriously -- after all "lack of expertise does not necessarily disqualify anyone from making acute observations", and a careful outsider may notice important points that have been missed by all the experts -- but were not difficult to refute. Ludicrously, Hoyle and his colleagues apparently carried out their tests without having realized that it is routine practice in museums where fossils are kept to treat them with preservatives to protect them from decay.

As an anthropologist Pat Shipman has a professional interest in fossils, albeit not specifically fossilized birds, and she includes a great deal of technical detail in her book. As a result its conclusions are thoroughly documented, but at the same time the technical discussions occasionally lead to rather heavy going for the non-specialist reader.
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