Explorers of Deep Time: Paleontologists and the History of Life by Roy Plotnick

    Explorers of Deep Time: Paleontologists and the History of Life by Roy Plotnick

    Paleontology is one of the most visible yet most misunderstood fields of science. Children dream of becoming paleontologists when they grow up. Museum visitors flock to exhibits on dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals. The media reports on fossil discoveries and new clues to mass extinctions. Nonetheless, misconceptions abound: paleontologists are assumed only to be interested in dinosaurs, and they are all too often imagined as bearded white men in battered cowboy hats.

    Roy Plotnick provides a behind-the-scenes look at paleontology as it exists today in all its complexity. He explores the field’s aims, methods, and possibilities, with an emphasis on the compelling personal stories of the scientists who have made it a career. Paleontologists study the entire history of life on Earth; they do not only use hammers and chisels to unearth fossils but are just as likely to work with cutting-edge computing technology. Plotnick presents the big questions about life’s history that drive paleontological research and shows why knowledge of Earth’s past is essential to understanding present-day environmental crises. He introduces readers to the diverse group of people of all genders, races, and international backgrounds who make up the twenty-first-century paleontology community, foregrounding their perspectives and firsthand narratives. He also frankly discusses the many challenges that face the profession, with key takeaways for aspiring scientists. Candid and comprehensive, Explorers of Deep Time is essential reading for anyone curious about the everyday work of real-life paleontologists.

    古生物学是最明显但最容易被误解的科学领域之一。孩子们梦想长大后成为古生物学家。博物馆参观者蜂拥而至,观看有关恐龙和其他史前动物的展品。媒体报道化石发现和大灭绝的新线索。尽管如此,误解仍然很多:古生物学家被认为只对恐龙感兴趣,而且人们常常将他们想象成戴着破旧牛仔帽、留着胡子的白人。

    Roy Plotnick 提供了对古生物学的幕后观察,因为它今天存在的所有复杂性。他探索了该领域的目标、方法和可能性,并强调了使该领域成为职业的科学家们引人入胜的个人故事。古生物学家研究地球上生命的整个历史;他们不仅使用锤子和凿子挖掘化石,而且很可能使用尖端计算技术。 Plotnick 提出了推动古生物学研究的有关生命历史的重大问题,并说明了为什么对地球过去的了解对于理解当今的环境危机至关重要。他向读者介绍了构成 21 世纪古生物学界的各种性别、种族和国际背景的人群,突出他们的观点和第一手资料。他还坦率地讨论了该行业面临的许多挑战,并为有抱负的科学家提供了关键要点。对于任何对现实生活中古生物学家的日常工作感到好奇的人来说,坦率而全面的《深时探索者》是必不可少的读物。

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