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Donald Prothero

Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters

Date: January 10, 2009

Evolution is under attack as never before, and creationists have been particularly strident in claiming that the fossil record does not support the fact of evolution. In fact, none of the creationists has appropriate training to even talk about fossils, and most of their claims are quoted out of context, or reflect a simplistic reading of kiddie books. In this lecture, we will review what the fossil record REALLY shows about the evidence for evolution, and the incredible wealth of “transitional fossils” or “missing links” that have been discovered, especially in the past few decades. We will explore the implications of the creationist attack not only on evolution, but also on science literacy and the future of our technological society.

Donald R. Prothero is Professor of Geology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He earned M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in geological sciences from Columbia University in 1982, and a B.A. in geology and biology (highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of California, Riverside. He is currently the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of 25 books and over 200 scientific papers, including five leading geology textbooks and three trade books as well as edited symposium volumes and other technical works. He is on the editorial board of Skeptic magazine, and in the past has served as an associate or technical editor for Geology, Paleobiology and Journal of Paleontology. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Linnaean Society of London, and has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Science Foundation. He has served as the Vice President of the Pacific Section of SEPM (Society of Sedimentary Geology), and five years as the Program Chair for the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. In 1991, he received the Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society for the outstanding paleontologist under the age of 40. He has also been featured on several television documentaries, including episodes of Paleoworld (BBC), Prehistoric Monsters Revealed (History Channel), Entelodon and Hyaenodon (National Geographic Channel) and Walking with Prehistoric Beasts (BBC).

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