The Great Fossil Enigma: The Search for the Conodont Animal (Life of the Past) (Hardcover)

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Stephen Jay Gould borrowed from Winston Churchill when he described the conodont animal as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. This animal confounded science for more than a century. Some thought it a slug, others a fish, a worm, a plant, even a primitive ancestor of ourselves. The list of possibilities grew and yet an answer to the riddle never seemed any nearer. Would the animal that left behind these miniscule fossils known as conodonts ever be identified? Three times the animal was found, but each was quite a different animal. Were any of them really the one? Simon J. Knell takes the reader on a journey through 150 years of scientific thinking, imagining, and arguing. Slowly the animal begins to reveal traces of itself: its lifestyle, its remarkable evolution, its witnessing of great catastrophes, its movements over the surface of the planet, and finally its anatomy. Today the conodont animal remains perhaps the most disputed creature in the zoological world.

About the Author

Simon J. Knell, Professor of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, is renowned for his innovative studies of fossils as scientific and cultural objects. Previously a popular geology columnist for Geology Today, Knell has published The Making of the Geological Society of London; The Culture of English Geology, 1815-1851; and The Age of the Earth: From 4004 BC to 2002 AD.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780253006042
ISBN-10: 025300604X
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication Date: November 6th, 2012
Pages: 440
Language: English
Series: Life of the Past