Geomedia offers each month's book reviews, list of new books, book ordering information and new maps. 

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On the Shelf

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The Fate of the Mammoth by Claudine Cohen, University of Chicago Press (2002), ISBN 0-226-11292-6. Cloth, $30.

This book is a history of ideas about mammoth fossils, which are perhaps second only to those of dinosaurs in holding the public’s interest in paleontology. The foreword by Stephen Jay Gould notes that the book has the unique quality of being a history of science written from the timeline of the creature studied rather than the scientists who studied them. The book’s scope stretches beyond changes in paleontological interpretations, discussing perceptions of mammoths from the earliest cave paintings to present-day efforts to extract mammoth DNA and revive the species.

The Testimony of the Rocks or, Geology in Its Bearings on the Two Theologies: Natural and Revealed. Hugh Miller; St. Matthew Publishing Ltd, (reprinted, 2001). ISBN 190154611X. $73.15

This new edition was published to coincide with the bicentennial birthday of self-taught Scottish geologist Hugh Miller (1802-1856). As passionate about his Calvinist religious beliefs as about geology and paleontology, Miller was a powerful advocate for the compatibility of science and religion. The book, first published in 1857 and intended for a lay audience, includes his response to the “anti-geologists” of his day who viewed science as a threat to religion.

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Welcome to the third installment of GeoQuotes, a section that will feature a different example each month of geology in the non-geological literature. If you have a favorate GeoQuote you want to share, please email it to us, with the subject heading “GeoQuotes.”

This month’s GeoQuote comes from Terry Vines of Lafarge Building Materials Inc. in Marietta, Ga. Terry writes:

“I have found a geologic quote that has become my favorite. While not a poem, it is associated with a work of art and with a philosophy. On a recent business trip to Toronto, I took time to visit the Royal Ontario Museum to see the geological exhibits. After taking care of my primary goal concerning the mineral and fossil displays, I wandered through other exhibits and came upon the Chinese section. Much to my pleasure, I saw a rock weighing 40 to 60 pounds on a display stand among the Chinese art and historical artifacts. This natural 'sculpture' appeared to be a carbonate rock and had numerous veins, crags, pits and cavities. A form of 'rock collecting' was apparently well honored in China. The display also offered these words:"

The purest essence of the energy of the heaven-earth world coalesces into rock. … Within the size of a fist can be assembled the beauty of a thousand cliffs. Rocks are large enough to set up in great courtyards, small enough to set up on a stand.... The Sage (Confucius) once said, “The humane man loves mountains,” and the love of stones has the same meaning. Thus, longevity through quietude is achieved through this love.
Du Wan, A.D. 1133

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