Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 560s

563: The Star-Crossed Stone by Kenneth McNamara


563.95: McNamara, Kenneth J. The Star-Crossed Stone: The Secret Life, Myths, and History of a Fascinating Fossil. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011. 2312 pp. ISBN 978-0-226-51469-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 560: Paleontology and paleozoology
  • 563: Miscellaneous fossil marine and seashore invertebrates
  • 563.9: Echinodermata and Hemichordata
  • 563.95: Echinozoa

In March 1887, a grave was discovered in England. It was an old grave, the interred had been there for thousands of years. But the two occupants weren’t the only creatures there: they had been buried with hundreds of fossilized sea urchins. Historians and archaeologists were puzzled. Why were these fossils buried with the ancient humans? What was their significance? Kenneth McNamara’s The Star-Crossed Stone looks into the discovery, history, and folklore surrounding fossil urchins.

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567: How to Build a Dinosaur by Jack Horner and James Gorman


567.9: Horner, Jack and James Gorman. How to Build a Dinosaur: The New Science of Reverse Evolution. New York: Plume, 2010. 213 pp. ISBN 978-0-452-29601-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 560: Paleontology
  • 567: Fossil cold-blooded vertebrates and fishes
  • 567.9: Reptilia

The study of dinosaur fossils has reached unprecedented heights and complexity. DNA can be extracted from tiny bits of bone and molecular biology is starting to unlock more and more pieces of the ancient past. Jack Horner, distinguished paleontologist and winner of a MacArthur Genius grant, along with James Gorman, bring together the fields of paleontology, paleobiology, paleobotany (and all the other paleo-s) with modern science to make a case for the creation of a living, breathing dinosaur. How to Build a Dinosaur is a look into the science involved as well as the scientists behind the discoveries leading the way.

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565: Trilobite by Richard Fortey


565.39: Fortey, Richard. Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution. New York: Knopf, 2000. 265 pp. ISBN 0-375-40625-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 560: Paleontology and paleozoology
  • 565: Fossil Arthropoda
  • 565.3: Crustaceans and Trilobita
  • 565.39: Trilobita


Hundreds of millions of years ago, a special creature traveled through the world’s oceans. Covered in an calcite chitin exoskeleton, they were first discovered by Reverend Edward Lhwyd in 1698, and from there the fascination grew. To date, some 17,000 species have been described. Sadly, though, there are no extant species of trilobite and we only have the fossil record to go by. The closest we have is the horseshoe crab. Richard Fortey’s Trilobite takes us through the history, taxonomy, and science of the wondrous trilobite.

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569: The Jesuit and the Skull by Amir Aczel

569.97: Aczel, Amir. The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man. New York: Riverhead Books, 2007. 244 pp. ISBN 978-1-954489-56-3.

The Dewey class for the sciences (500s) has a nice progression to it. It starts with general works on sciences (510s) then the basis for science, which is mathematics (510s). Then you get physics and chemistry and geology. After that you get all the life sciences. The 560s contains works on paleontology and paleozoology, the last section of which is devoted to works on mammal fossils. Since humans are mammals and we have discovered fossilized remains of past humans, those works are classed in 569.

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