Contact: Julie Jackson (703) 379-2480
April 6, 2001

New Primer Highlights Examples of Evolution

ALEXANDRIA,VA — Although numerous lines of evidence show that life has changed through time, the concept of evolution is widely misunderstood among the general public. Evolution and the Fossil Record, an eye-catching booklet produced by the American Geological Institute in cooperation with the Paleontological Society, aims to change that situation. The authors, paleontologists John Pojeta, Jr. (U.S. Geological Survey) and Dale A. Springer (Bloomsburg University), write clearly about the fossil evidence they know best. “Fossils provide the dimension of time to life,” they write, “and evolution allows us to understand the physical similarities between the saber-toothed cat and the family cat. It explains why we find hip bones in living whales, which have no hind legs, and ear muscles in humans, who cannot use them to rotate their ears.”

Colorful photos, drawings, and illustrations throughout the 32-page booklet complement the authors’ conversational style as they discuss: geologic time; change through time; Darwin’s theory of evolution; evolution as a mechanism for change; the nature of species; the nature of theory; paleontology, geology, and evolution; and determining the age of fossils and rocks. They also provide four “case study” examples from the fossil record: evolution of vertebrate legs, evolution of birds, evolution of mammals, and evolution of whales.

Response to the booklet has been extremely positive according to AGI Executive Director Marcus E. Milling. “The Evolution primer is already helping teachers and members of the general public gain a better understanding of one of the fundamental underlying concepts of modern science,” he said. “We are very pleased,” he added, “that in addition to the Paleontological Society, 18 professional organizations in the earth sciences, biology, and education are working with us to ensure that the booklet is widely distributed.”

Evolution and the Fossil Record is available in print and in PDF format on the World Wide Web at Printed copies of Evolution and the Fossil Record are available from AGI at a list price of $8.95. Members of AGI member societies and teachers receive a discounted price of $6.95. Orders may be placed through the AGI Publications Center at, or by mail, telephone, fax, or e-mail (American Geological Institute, Attention: Publications Center, 4220 King Street, Alexandria, VA  22302, Tel: (703) 379-2480, Fax: (703) 379-7563, E-mail: Please add $7.00 for postage and handling costs for the first copy and $1.25 more per additional copy in the contiguous U.S. Orders to addresses in Maryland and Virginia are subject to the applicable sales tax. All orders must be prepaid. Please make your check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank in U.S. funds payable to the American Geological Institute. AGI also accepts VISA and MasterCard. Orders are shipped by UPS Standard Service, whenever possible, and take two to three weeks for delivery. For additional information, bulk order pricing, or costs for overseas shipping, contact the AGI Publications Department.

The American Geological Institute is a nonprofit federation of 37 geoscientific and professional associations that represent more than 120,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in our profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in mankind's use of resources and interaction with the environment. More information about AGI can be found at The Institute also provides a public-outreach web site,

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