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Richard A. Fortey - Author

About the Author

Richard Fortey retired from his position as senior palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum in 2006. He is the author of several books, including 'Fossils: A Key to the Past', 'The Hidden Landscape' which won The Natural World Book of the Year in 1993, 'Life: An Unauthorised Biography', 'Trilobite!', 'The Earth: An Intimate History', 'Dry Store Room No 1' and 'Survivors'. He was President of the Geological Society of London for its bicentennial year of 2007, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Featured books by Richard A. Fortey

The Wood for the Trees One Man's Long View of Nature

The Wood for the Trees One Man's Long View of Nature

Author: Richard A. Fortey Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/05/2016

'The woods are the great beauty of this country...A fine forest-like beech wood far more beautiful than anything else which we have seen in its vicinity' is how John Stuart Mill described a small patch of beech-and bluebell woodland, buried deeply in the Chiltern Hills and now owned by Richard Fortey. Drawing upon a lifetime of scientific expertise and abiding love of nature, Fortey uses his small wood to tell a wider story of the ever-changing British landscape, human influence on the countryside over many centuries and the vital interactions between flora, fauna and fungi. The trees provide a majestic stage for woodland animals and plants to reveal their own stories. Fortey presents his wood as an interwoven collection of different habitats rich in species. His attention ranges from the beech and cherry trees that dominate the wood to the flints underfoot; the red kites and woodpeckers that soar overhead; the lichens, mosses and liverworts decorating the branches as well as the myriad species of spiders, moths, beetles and crane-flies. The 300 species of fungi identified in the wood capture his attention as much as familiar deer, shrews and dormice. Fortey is a naturalist who believes that all organisms are as interesting as human beings - and certainly more important than the observer. So this book is a close examination of nature and human history. He proves that poetic writing is compatible with scientific precision.

Other books by Richard A. Fortey

The Wood for the Trees The Long View of Nature from a Small Wood

The Wood for the Trees The Long View of Nature from a Small Wood

Author: Richard A. Fortey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/05/2017

From one of our greatest science writers, this biography of a beech-and-bluebell wood through diverse moods and changing seasons combines stunning natural history with the ancient history of the countryside to tell the full story of the British landscape. Guided by his abiding love of nature and a lifetime of scientific expertise, Richard Fortey takes us on a journey through ecosystems and time. The Wood for the Trees is the story of humankind meeting nature, an homage to the mesmerising interactions between flora, fauna and fungi. Discover the lives of animals and plants; the passage of seasons; visits by fellow enthusiasts; the play of light between branches; the influence of geology; and how woodland has shaped history, architecture, and industry. On every page Fortey shows how an intimate study of one small wood can reveal so much about the natural world, and demonstrates his relish for the incomparable pleasures of discovery.

Wood for the Trees

Wood for the Trees

Author: Richard A. Fortey Format: eBook Release Date: 05/05/2016

From one of our greatest science writers, this biography of a beech-and-bluebell wood through diverse moods and changing seasons combines stunning natural history with the ancient history of the countryside to tell the full story of the British landscape. 'The woods are the great beauty of this country... A fine forest-like beech wood far more beautiful than anything else which we have seen in its vicinity' is how John Stuart Mill described a small patch of beech-and bluebell woodland, buried deeply in the Chiltern Hills and now owned by Richard Fortey. Drawing upon a lifetime of scientific expertise and abiding love of nature, Fortey uses his small wood to tell a wider story of the ever-changing British landscape, human influence on the countryside over many centuries and the vital interactions between flora, fauna and fungi. The trees provide a majestic stage for woodland animals and plants to reveal their own stories. Fortey presents his wood as an interwoven collection of different habitats rich in species. His attention ranges from the beech and cherry trees that dominate the wood to the flints underfoot; the red kites and woodpeckers that soar overhead; the lichens, mosses and liverworts decorating the branches as well as the myriad species of spiders, moths, beetles and crane-flies. The 300 species of fungi identified in the wood capture his attention as much as familiar deer, shrews and dormice. Fortey is a naturalist who believes that all organisms are as interesting as human beings - and certainly more important than the observer. So this book is a close examination of nature and human history. He proves that poetic writing is compatible with scientific precision. The book is filled with details of living animals and plants, charting the passage of the seasons, visits by fellow enthusiasts; the play of light between branches; the influence of geology; and how woodland influences history, architecture and industry. On every page he shows how an intimate study of one small wood can reveal so much about the natural world and demonstrates his relish for the incomparable pleasures of discovery.

The Wood for the Trees One Man's Long View of Nature

The Wood for the Trees One Man's Long View of Nature

Author: Richard A. Fortey Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/05/2016

'The woods are the great beauty of this country...A fine forest-like beech wood far more beautiful than anything else which we have seen in its vicinity' is how John Stuart Mill described a small patch of beech-and bluebell woodland, buried deeply in the Chiltern Hills and now owned by Richard Fortey. Drawing upon a lifetime of scientific expertise and abiding love of nature, Fortey uses his small wood to tell a wider story of the ever-changing British landscape, human influence on the countryside over many centuries and the vital interactions between flora, fauna and fungi. The trees provide a majestic stage for woodland animals and plants to reveal their own stories. Fortey presents his wood as an interwoven collection of different habitats rich in species. His attention ranges from the beech and cherry trees that dominate the wood to the flints underfoot; the red kites and woodpeckers that soar overhead; the lichens, mosses and liverworts decorating the branches as well as the myriad species of spiders, moths, beetles and crane-flies. The 300 species of fungi identified in the wood capture his attention as much as familiar deer, shrews and dormice. Fortey is a naturalist who believes that all organisms are as interesting as human beings - and certainly more important than the observer. So this book is a close examination of nature and human history. He proves that poetic writing is compatible with scientific precision.

Fossils The Key to the Past

Fossils The Key to the Past

Author: Richard A. Fortey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/10/2015

Fossils: The Key to the Past is a comprehensive guide to the study and meaning of fossils. This new paperback edition has been fully revised and updated, reflecting advances in our understanding of the fossil record and the significance of new fossil finds. Palaeontologist Richard Fortey explains in accessible language what fossils are, how they form and how to identify them, and how they help us to understand Earth's geological past and the emergence of life.Drawing on all the latest research, including molecular palaeontology, he discusses evolution and extinction, the economic uses of fossils, such as oil and coal, as well as offering practical advice for making a fossil collection. Extensively illustrated in full colour throughout, with photographs from the collections at the Natural History Museum, Fossils: The Key to the Past will appealto all those with an interest in the history of life itself.

Lower Ordovician trilobites of the Kirtonryggen Formation, Spitsbergen

Lower Ordovician trilobites of the Kirtonryggen Formation, Spitsbergen

Author: Richard A. Fortey, David L. Bruton Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/10/2013

This monograph describes early Ordovician (Ibexian:Tremadocian early Floian) trilobites from Northern Spitsbergen from the section through the Kirtonryggen Formation adjacent to Hinlopen Strait. The Formation is divided into three Members, each with distinct trilobites collectively representing the fullest known succession from the Bathyurid biofacies of the eastern Laurentian carbonate platform. Previous research on the Ordovician of Spitsbergen is summarised and correlations with similar faunas previously described from Canada, Greenland, western Newfoundland, Vermont New York State, Oklahoma and Missouri are discussed. Taxonomic problems are discussed in detail leading to the recognition of 53 species, of which 15 are new, belonging to 31 genera including four new. Twenty-four taxa are described under open or tentative nomenclature. The lower Member yields the earliest known occurrences of the Illaenoidea, Proetoidea and Scutelluoidea, supporting the hypotheses relating the origin of new major clades to inshore habitats.

Survivors The Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind

Survivors The Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind

Author: Richard A. Fortey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 13/09/2012

An awe-inspiring journey through the eons and across the globe in search of visible traces of evolution in the living creatures that have survived from earlier times. In this groundbreaking book, prize-winning science writer Richard Fortey chronicles life's history not through the fossil record, but through the stories of organisms that have survived, almost unchanged, through geological time. Fortey takes us on a journey to ancient worlds: on a moonlit beach in Delaware where the horseshoe crab shuffles its way through a violent romance, we catch a glimpse of life 450 million years ago. Along a stretch of Australian coastline, we bear witness to the sights and sounds that would have greeted a Precambrian dawn. And, in the dense rainforests of New Zealand, where the secretive velvet worm burrows into the rotting timber of the jungle floor, we marvel at a living fossil which has survived unchanged since before the break-up of Gondwana, the ancient supercontinent, over 150 million years ago. Written with Fortey's customary sparkle and gusto, this wonderfully engrossing exploration of the world's oldest flora and fauna brilliantly combines the best science writing about the origins of life with an explorer's sense of adventure and a poet's wonder at the natural world.

The Hidden Landscape A Journey into the Geological Past

The Hidden Landscape A Journey into the Geological Past

Author: Richard A. Fortey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/02/2010

'A very well written book about geology and geological history' Sir David Attenborough, The Times 'I travelled to Haverfordwest to get to the past. From Paddington Station a Great Western locomotive took me on a journey westwards from London further and further back into geological time, from the age of mammals to the age of trilobites...' So begins this enthralling exploration of time and place in which Richard Fortey peels away the top layer of the land to reveal the hidden landscape - the rocks which contain the story of distant events, which dictate not only the personality of the landscape, but the nature of the soil, the plants that grow in it and the regional characteristics of the buildings. We travel with him as our guide throughout the British Isles and as the rocks change so we learn to read the clues they contain: that Britain was once divided into two parts separated by an ocean, that Scottish malt whisky, Harris tweed, slate roofs and thatched cottages can be traced back to tumultuous events which took place many millions of years ago. The Hidden Landscape has become a classic in popular geology since its first publication in 1993. This new edition is fully updated and beautifully illustrated.

The Earth An Intimate History

The Earth An Intimate History

Author: Richard A. Fortey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/03/2005

The paperback of the Sunday Times bestseller that reveals how the earth became the shape it is today. This book will change the way you see the world - permanently. The face of the earth, criss-crossed by chains of mountains like the scars of old wounds, has changed constantly over billions of years. Its shape records a remote past of earthquakes, volcanos and continental drift, and the ongoing subtle shifts that bring our planet alive. Richard Fortey introduces us to the earth's distinct character, revealing the life that it leads when humans aren't watching. He follows the continual movement of seabeds, valleys, mountain ranges and ice caps and shows how everything - our culture, natural history, even the formation of our cities - has its roots in geology. In Richard Fortey's hands, geology becomes vital and exhilarating and unmistakably informs our lives in the most intimate way.

Trilobite!

Trilobite!

Author: Richard A. Fortey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/03/2001

`In Richard Fortey's capable hands the humble grey trilobite has been transformed into the E.T. of the Lower Palaeozoic - a remarkable and fascinating book.' SIMON WINCHESTER Richard Fortey is one of Britain's leading popular scientists. Life: An Unauthorised Biography, was short-listed for the Rhone Poulenc prize and has been reprinted five times. In all he writes, Fortey displays extraordinary range, delight and descriptive gifts which make complicated scientific facts and concepts not only easy to understand but a delight to absorb. Trilobite! is an unashamedly trilobito-centric view of the world unravelling the history of the exotic, crustacean-like animals which dominated the seas for three hundred million years. These arthropods witnessed continents move, mountain chains elevated and eroded; they survived ice ages and volcanic eruptions, evolving and adapting exquisitely to their environment. They watched through their crystal eyes whilst life evolved. Their own evolution calibrated geological time itself. Structured like a detective story, this is a light, but highly informative account of the wonders of scientific discovery and an engaging, quirky and fascinating introduction to evolution.

Life: an Unauthorized Biography

Life: an Unauthorized Biography

Author: Richard A. Fortey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/01/1998

A magisterial exploration of the natural history of the first four thousand million years of life on and in the earth, by one of Britain's most dazzling science writers. What do any of us know about the history of our planet before the arrival of man? Most of us have a dim impression of a swirling mass of dust solidifying to form a volcanic globe, briefly populated by dinosaurs, then by woolly mammoths and finally by our own hairy ancestors. This book, aimed at the curious and intelligent but perhaps mildly uninformed reader, brilliantly dispels such lingering notions forever. At the end of the book we understand the complexity of the history of life on earth, and the complexity of how it has come to be understood, as, perhaps, from no other single volume. The result is enthralling.

The Hidden Landscape

The Hidden Landscape

Author: Richard A. Fortey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/06/1994

An exploration of time and place in which Fortey peels away the top layer of the land to reveal the hidden landscape - the rocks which contain the story of distant events. We travel with him as our guide throughout the British Isles and as the rocks change we learn to read the clues they contain.

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