Trilobite!: Eyewitness to Evolution

Interesting and impassioned book!

Read this book during my fieldwork in Sulawesi and luckily borrowed it from a friend. Many thanks to Adele for lending me this super awesome and well written book!

TRILOBITES is not only just a fossils says Richard Fortey. It contains many stories behind its carrapaces and moulting stages. Famous in Cambrian Period and vanished in the end of Ordovician Period, this living fossils manifests extraordinary features and reveals magnificent roles when earth still young and human doesn’t existed.

I like how Fortey describes trilobites from many different angles and segments. I also like when he puts many ingenious quotes from Shakespeare ‘HAMLET’ to Edgar Allan Poe for example. As a travel writer, Fortey gives inspirations for all of us to write more in details without feeling guily. To describe ten centimeters fossils in 250 pages definitely needs some talents and not many people can do that in a such way like Fortey does. TRILOBITES! may you can define as semi biography book from Richard Fortey himself although He is already have hiw own autobiography. You can find his incredible experiences as Trilobilogist which maybe for some people mentioned it as a very dull job in the lab or museum. As a popular science writers, I found his writings is easily understood by people who doesn’t have any biological or geological background. I also found from his writing that I can learn many good ethics and advices to be a much better scientist in the future.

During the reading, I made some notes which I think it would be interesting and useful like below:

  • Science doesn’t sleep while still there is Trilobilogist (and this also applied to all scientist all around the world!).
  • You always can find person with the same interest like you all over the world. This could mean to be a scientist doesn’t mean you are isolated from your world although you have some specific area studies which is very common happened if you already specified your research studies.
  • Cladistics: similarities studies between species based on evolutionary derived characteristics.
  • PAUP (Phylogenetics Analysis Using Parsimony): cladistics analysis tools developed by David Swofford.
  • To study history of life, you must go to the museum! I found this opened eyes fact through the reading. Sometimes I think that going to museum seems not really important but somehow I have to go to the museum! All of us will never learn with direct interaction by going to museum although you already have internet at home. Museum existence is important for young generation for sure and suddenly I remember my first experience going to Geological Museum in Bandung.
  • Science depends on honest reporting! There are so many unethical scientists and many more blacklisted because of work or fraud they caused. Looking through many experiences and reading TRILOBITES! I found that to be a good scientist sometimes is not enough. You have to be an ethical scientist when you’re doing your work!
  • Something small doesn’t mean isn’t featureless. Appreciate everything in life even it seems unimportant for now. Trilobites for example which maybe almost nobody know and understand about their roles in evolution.

This is a mirror page for TRILOBITES! book review at Goodreads. For another book review, please check this link


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