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History of the earth and life


PROF. WALTHER'S history of the earth and of life has been written with that combined knowledge of physical geography, stratigraphy, astronomy, and biology which we have learned to expect from the author's previous writings. He tells the story of the earth in a series of chapters which have the interest of essays instead of the compressed information of a text-book, and are rich in fresh observations made by the author or culled from recent technical literature. The volume is remarkably well illustrated. One feature of the illustrations is the abundance of drawings showing extinct animals reproduced as in life. There are also numerous pictures of ideal landscapes and seascapes, drawn in accordance with most recent knowledge. Such, for example, is the terrifying picture of Coccosteus decipiens, by Rudloff, after a reproduction by Jaeckel, the beauty competition between Rhamphorhynchus and Archæopteryx on the shores of the Solenhofen lagoon, and the race between two flying Pteranodons, which, as they had a body weighing only 15 kilograms to a wing span of 18 feet, resemble a modern aëroplane with its small motor and vast sails. The views include pictures of life on the sea floor in two epochs of the Cambrian period, and one of a Calamite forest in the Carboniferous, by Rudloff, from designs by Walther. The illustration of Dinornis is, however, somewhat out of date, as the bird's title to its specific name of maximus is due more to the artist than to nature.

History of the earth and life.

By J. Walther pp. Iv + 570; with 353 illustrations. (Leipzig: Von Veit and Co., 1908.) Price 14 marks.

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G., J. History of the earth and life . Nature79, 31 (1908). https://doi.org/10.1038/079031a0

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