drupal statistics module

Machines Like Us

Donald Prothero

Donald R. Prothero is past Professor of Geology at Occidental College and Lecturer in Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology. He teaches Physical and Historical Geology, Sedimentary Geology, and Paleontology. His specialties are mammalian paleontology and magnetic stratigraphy of the Cenozoic. His current research focuses on the dating of the climatic changes that occurred between 30 and 40 million years ago, using the technique of magnetic stratigraphy. Dr. Prothero has been a Guggenheim and NSF Fellow, a Fellow of the Linnean Society, and in 1991 received the Schuchert Award of the Paleontological Society for outstanding paleontologist under the age of 40, the same award won by the renowned paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. He has authored or co-edited numerous books, including Horns, Tusks, Hooves and Flippers: The Evolution of Hoofed Mammals, the best-selling textbook from McGraw-Hill, Evolution of the Earth, Evolution: What the Fossils Say & Why it Matters, Bringing Fossils to Life, After the Dinosaurs, and the textbook Sedimentary Geology. He is also a Technical Editor of the Journal of Paleontology.

Related Links

Donald Prothero Quotes

To a practicing scientist, a visit to the world of the creationists feels somewhat like Alice stepping through the looking glass. Ordinary people and objects look the same as they do in the real world, except that everything is backward and all the rules are reversed.

Through all this intense debate within evolutionary biology, the creationists are constantly on the lookout for some tidbit they can quote of out of context to say just the opposite of the author's meaning.

Although Charles Darwin deserves most of the credit for bringing about the scientific revolution in biology, he was no means the first to suggest that life had changed through time. As early as the fifth century B.C., Greek philosophers such as Empedocles promoted the idea that life is constantly transforming. In 50 B.C., the Roman philosopher Lucretius wrote the poem De rearm nature ("On the nature of things"), which postulated the existence of atoms and argued that everything in nature was in flux.

Charles Darwin was born on the same day as Abraham Lincoln--February 12, 1809. Like Lincoln, he was a liberating force for humankind, but instead of freeing people from slavery, he freed biology from the bondage of supernaturalism.

…the fact that 80-97 percent of the DNA in most organisms codes for nothing at all (so far as we know) says that evolution and selection must work entirely on that remaining few percent of the DNA that does code for something.