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About the Author

Richard Fortey retired from his position as senior palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in 2006. His previous books include the critically acclaimed Life: An Unauthorized Biography, shortlisted for the Rhône-Poulenc Prize in 1998, Trilobite! Eyewitness to Evolution, shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize in 2001, The Hidden Landscape, which won the Natural World Book of the Year in 1993 and Fossils - A Key to the Past which is now in its third edition. He also won the Lewis Thomas Prize for Science Writing in 2003. He was Collier Professor for the Public Understanding of Science in 2002, has been elected to be President of the Geological Society of London for its bicentennial year of 2007, and is a member of the Royal Society. His latest book is Dry Store Room no 1 – The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum.


‘Astonishing… A delightful book, mixed autobiography, philosophy and palaeontology, which illuminates understanding of that critical time in the history of the Earth after the explosion of multicellular life between five and six hundred million years ago. There is nothing here to intimidate the non-scientist. It is as good for reading on the beach as anywhere else… We may be special in our own eyes, but in longevity the trilobites knock us into one of their beautiful conical hats’
Financial Times ‘Suffused with the experience and affection of a lifetime spent with these common and attractive fossils… A gripping, splendid book’
New Scientist ‘Delightful and beautifully written, Fortey has an eye for the world about him that would be envied by some travel writers… interesting and impassioned’
Literary Review ‘Fortey has turned his considerable skills to bringing the human dances with trilobites before our eyes… wonderful. His reputation as a first-rate natural history writer will only be enhanced by this volume’
TLS ‘Vivid, poetic, highly focussed and uncompromising’
Spectator ‘A splendid book written with so much verge and depth’
Sunday Telegraph ‘[Trilobites!] needs that exclamation point to shout that it should be read by everybody, whether you know what a trilobite is or not… This is the way science should be written: so engagingly that it makes you forget that you’re actually learning something (actually, you’re learning a lot), and carrying you swiftly from page to page so that before you know if, you’ve let the kettle boil over and you’re at the end… If I had five thousand words I couldn’t do Trilobite! justice. There is just no way to condense Fortey’s glittering book so filled with insight, science, history, charm and wit… you must read it!’

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