book cover of The Innocent Assassins

The Innocent Assassins

A non fiction book by

Bjorn Olof Lennartson Kurten (1924 - 1988) was a distinguished vertebrate paleontologist. He belonged to the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. He was a professor in paleontology at the University of Helsinki from 1972 up to his death in 1988. He also spent a year as lecturing guest professor at Harvard University in 1971. In addition to many non-fiction books, he was also the author of an acclaimed series of books about modern man's encounter with Neanderthals, such as Dance of the Tiger (1978). He received several awards for his books around popularized science, among others the Kalinga Prize from UNESCO. In his fascinating collection, The Innocent Assassins, Kurten combines the philosophy of science and evolutionary biology with amusing anecdotes from the field work. Written for the general reader, these essays provide an interesting explanation of natural selection and theory of evolution, philosophical issues of evolutionary biology, the place of the human species in the universe. Kurten portrays such prehistoric animals as dinosaurs, saber tooth cats, and 12-million-year-old goat antelopes. He relays fascinating tales of prehistoric bison frozen in the tundra, kept fresh for 36,000 years, and an \"Eve\" from which all humans descend. He also recounts how a prehistoric Argentinian bird with a wingspan of over 23 feet could fly and how the \"Incredible Shrinking Man's\" body would function, as well as the physical impossibility of a giant creature like King Kong. The Innocent Assassins is brilliantly illuminated by the illustrations of Viking Nystrom.

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