- The Paleontological Society
Fossils at a Glance. 2004. Clare Milsom and Sue Rigby. Blackwell Publishing, 155 p., ISBN 0-6320-6047-6.
I am always searching for the next great introductory-level paleontology book, particularly a reasonably priced one. It is also a plus to find a book that presents aspects of both the theoretical and the factual, as doing so means I may not have to require several books for my course. Given that I teach at a small state university, and many of my students work to pay for their education, cost is definitely a factor when I consider texts. When I was asked to review the softcover Fossils at a Glance—which retails at about $30.00, a real bargain compared to the price of other paperback paleontology texts currently available—I was very much hoping I had struck gold.
The “good news” first: I like several aspects of the book. It does include material on vertebrates, plants, microfossils, and trace fossils, as well as the usual invertebrate taxa. The illustrations are nicely drawn. Each chapter begins with a bulleted list of major points to be covered and ends with a glossary. And each page is self-contained, although this format does occasionally create what feels like an artificially abrupt termination of the topic at page's end.
That is pretty much it for the “good news” part of this review. Once I began to examine the text more closely, I encountered one error or problem after another. I admit …