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Marvelous Microfossils

Creators, Timekeepers, Architects

Patrick De Wever
foreword by Hubert Reeves
translated by Alison Duncan

Publication Date
Binding Type

Training a powerful lens on the microscopic wonders of the universe, hundreds of photos, both exquisite and strange, accompany this startling exposé of a secret world invisibly evolving around us for billions of years.

Silver Winner of the 2021 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for Nature & Environment

Microfossils—the most abundant, ancient, and easily accessible of Earth's fossils—are also the most important. Their ubiquity is such that every person on the planet touches or uses them every single day, and yet few of us even realize they exist. Despite being the sole witnesses of 3 billion years of...

Training a powerful lens on the microscopic wonders of the universe, hundreds of photos, both exquisite and strange, accompany this startling exposé of a secret world invisibly evolving around us for billions of years.

Silver Winner of the 2021 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award for Nature & Environment

Microfossils—the most abundant, ancient, and easily accessible of Earth's fossils—are also the most important. Their ubiquity is such that every person on the planet touches or uses them every single day, and yet few of us even realize they exist. Despite being the sole witnesses of 3 billion years of evolutionary history, these diminutive fungi, plants, and animals are themselves invisible to the eye. In this microscopic bestiary, prominent geologist, paleontologist, and scholar Patrick De Wever lifts the veil on their mysterious world.

Marvelous Microfossils lays out the basics of what microfossils are before moving on to the history, tools, and methods of investigating them. The author describes the applications of their study, both practical and sublime. Microfossils, he explains, are indispensable in age-dating and paleoenvironmental reconstruction, which guide enormous investments in the oil, gas, and mining industries. De Wever shares surprising stories of how microfossils made the Chunnel possible and have unmasked perpetrators in jewel heists and murder investigations. He also reveals that microfossils created the stunning white cliffs on the north coast of France, graced the tables of the Medici family, and represent our best hope for discovering life on the exoplanets at the outer edges of our solar system.

Describing the many strange and beautiful groups of known microfossils in detail, De Wever combines lyrical prose with hundreds of arresting color images, from delicate nineteenth-century drawings of phytoplankton drafted by Ernst Haeckel, the "father of ecology," to cutting-edge scanning electron microscope photographs of billion-year-old acritarchs. De Wever's ode to the invisible world around us allows readers to peer directly into a minute microcosm with massive implications, even traversing eons to show us how life arose on Earth.

Reviews

Reviews

Enhanced by sumptuous images, Marvelous Microfossils reveals microfossils' amazing forms and fascinating architecture. Readers will be easily hypnotized by their patterns, their rhythms, their symmetries... a delight for the eyes, this book is also notable for its scientific intelligibility. The author is able to render his interest and the complexity of an invisible and inert world with a sharp literary pen, clear text, and simple and effective examples and organization.

Initially an emotional thunderbolt for geologist and micropaleontologist Patrick De Wever, microfossils became the object of his research for decades. Sharing this feeling was his motivation to devote a book to the topic. To say the least, this book perfectly fulfills that function!

This book will make history! It is the fruit of a whole life's work dedicated to the study of microfossils. The author combines his qualities as a scientist with a great knowledge of the literature. His wish, to inspire us to look for the beauties hidden in stone, is fully realized in this beautiful and successful work!

Crossing many domains of knowledge and know-how, from science and architecture to jewelry, literature, cosmetics, and design, this is a useful book for students, teachers, and amateurs. It will make a nice gift for anyone.

In Marvelous Microfossils, Patrick De Wever elegantly exhibits a wide range of specimens through scanning electron microscopic images. This beautifully illustrated and passionately written book is a delight to read!

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
8.5
x
11
Pages
256
ISBN
9781421436739
Illustration Description
200 color illus., 100 b&w photos
Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
A Marvelous Microscopic World
What Is a Microfossil?
Why Study Microfossils
Part A: The Study of Microfossils
Part B: Microfossils through the Geologic Ages
Part C: The Diversity of

Preface
Introduction
A Marvelous Microscopic World
What Is a Microfossil?
Why Study Microfossils
Part A: The Study of Microfossils
Part B: Microfossils through the Geologic Ages
Part C: The Diversity of Microfossils
Part D: Architects, Builders, and Markers of Time

Author Bios
Patrick De Wever
Featured Contributor

Patrick De Wever

Patrick De Wever is a professor of geology and micropaleontology at the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle. He is the author of Temps de la Terre, temps de l'Homme and Carnet de curiosités d'un géologue.
Featured Contributor

Alison Duncan

Translator and book editor Alison Duncan earned her master of science in translation from New York University and her bachelor of arts in French and Francophone studies from Vassar College. She is the translator of Marvelous Microfossils: Creators, Timekeepers, Architects.