We used to think of fossils as being composed of nothing but rock and minerals, all molecular traces of life having vanished long ago. We were wrong. Today, scientists and the new science of ancient biomolecules—pigments, proteins, and DNA that once functioned in living, but now extinct, organisms—are opening a new window onto the evolution of life on Earth.
Dale E. Greenwalt, a research associate at the National Museum of Natural History, is your guide to these astonishing breakthroughs. Ancient biomolecules provide insights about the physiology, behavior, and evolution of extinct organisms, many of which existed long before the age of dinosaurs. Greenwalt explains how ancient biomolecules reveal how mammoths dealt with the bitter cold, what colors dinosaurs exhibited in mating displays, and how ancient viruses evolved to become more dangerous.
Greenwalt is the author of Remnants of Ancient Life: The New Science of Old Fossils (Princeton University Press), available for purchase.
Book Sale Information