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Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight [Anglais] [Broché]

Pat Shipman
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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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: 19,6 x 13 x 2,8 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 1.413.043 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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Commentaires client les plus utiles
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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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.3 étoiles sur 5  17 commentaires
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Archaeopteryx - all there is to know. 12 janvier 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
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.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Ancient flight plan 9 mai 2001
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
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.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 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 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Taking Wing Soars 22 août 2000
Par Louann Miller - Publié sur
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.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Getting to grips with the bird origins debate 30 janvier 2001
Par I. J. J. Nieuwland - Publié sur
Regrettably, the debate around the origin of birds has now polarised to a point that reasonable discussion is often difficult. The fact that Pat Shipman is able to present a clear and unbiased account of the discussions and personae is the strongest point of this book. Archaeopteryx lithographica is taken as a guide for a survey of current (well, 1998) thought about the origin of birds and the origin of bird flight. The fact that she doesn't really choose sides does not hinder her to conclude that those in favour of the 'ground-up' and dinosaurian origin of birds now have the upper hand - but then, any other conclusion would have been a distortion of fact. However, the arguments of the 'other side' are also presented, leaving the conclusion to the reader. A vert worthwile effort about a really important modern scientific debate.
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