Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History
by Stephen Jay Gould
a great read! this is an exerpt from a review:
"Wonderful Life is a description of one of the biggest fossil finds ever — a collection of invertebrate remains dating from the early Cambrian (550 million years ago) dug out of the Burgess Shale in British Columbia. Gould presents an outline of the analysis of the remains and uses it to support his own ideas about evolution and history, in particular the theory of "punctuated equilibrium", which argues that the course of evolution, rather than being smooth, is more like some kind of fractal. Intertwined with the rest of the book is Gould's usual brilliant analysis of how the interpretation of scientific evidence is moulded by the beliefs and assumptions of scientists — the hero/ villain in this case being the American geologist and palaeontologist Walcott."