On Methuselah’s Trail

The presence of peculiar forms of life such as the horseshoe crab, the nautilus, echinoids, and assorted other animals and plants puzzled Darwin. How could these species have survived millions of years with little change while most other species evolved, sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly, and then mostly becoming extinct? He resolved the question to his satisfaction by arguing that some species did not experience any predatory pressure or competition, nor did their environment change so drastically as to compel metamorphosis or lead to extinction. In other words they had found a successful long-lasting niche. In this book by Peter D. Ward (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Ward_(paleontologist)) Methulselah becomes a metaphor for these living fossils.


Ward’s speciality is the nautilus, and this book discusses the differences between the ammonites (a species similar to the nautilus) which specialized in response to environmental and predatory changes, but is now extinct. The author takes us on location to various parts of the world in search of fossil evidence, sharing his enthusiasm for these remains in geological strata. His account of paleontology persuades us of the significance of the great extinctions and how they have shaped the life that has survived to this day.


Check if this fascinating popular science work is in stock at your local library by consulting the online catalogue at https://www.sllclibrary.co.uk/cgi-bin/spydus.exe/MSGTRN/OPAC/BSEARCH



214 pages in W.H. Freeman & Co. Ltd.

First published 1991

ISBN  978-0716722038


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Professor Peter D. Ward

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