Coming Soon: Written in Stone

Vain speculation and Sense

As some of you may recall, last week I posted a list of new and forthcoming books written by science bloggers. I tried to include all the authors and titles I could think of, but there was one book that I intentionally left off the list; my own.

I am now proud to announce that my first book, Written in Stone, will be released by Bellevue Literary Press in the fall of 2010. In it I tell the stories of some of the most magnificent evolutionary transitions in the vertebrate fossil record, such as the evolution of birds from feathered theropod dinosaurs and whales from land-dwelling ancestors, and I use the history of science to sketch our changing understanding of these major events in vertebrate evolution. Written in Stone is not just a compendium of evidence for evolution from the vertebrate fossil record. It is a grand tale that traces the circuitous path our perception of evolutionary history has taken over the past 200 years.

There is still much to do before the book is completed, but I do want to take a moment to thank several people who have made this opportunity possible. (There are many others to whom I owe a word of thanks, but that is what the “Acknowledgments” section will be for.) My agent, Peter Tallack, has been a tireless advocate of my work. He has supported my vision for this book from the beginning and fought hard to find the right publisher for it. I could not ask for a better agent, and I am indebted to my colleague Ed Yong for putting me in touch with Peter in the first place. Most of all, I am grateful for the support of my wife, Tracey. She has enthusiastically encouraged me to pursue this project from the day I first thought of it, and her constant support has motivated me to write the best book that I possibly can.

With any luck you should see the finished product on shelves around this time next year, and I intend on writing some articles to complement Written in Stone as its release date nears. Keep watching this space for updates, and thank you for reading.

[Image: “Vain speculation un¬≠deceived by the senses” from Scilla’s 1670 treatise on the organic nature of fossils.]

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