Dinosaur in a Haystack

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Dinosaur in a Haystack
Author Stephen Jay Gould
Genre Non-fiction, Science
Publisher Harmony Books
Publication date
December 12, 1995
Pages 480
ISBN 0-517-70393-9
OCLC 33892123
575 20
LC Class QH366.2 .G659 1995
Preceded by Eight Little Piggies
Followed by Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms

Dinosaur in a Haystack (1995) is the seventh volume of collected essays by the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. The essays were culled from his monthly column "The View of Life" in Natural History magazine, to which Gould contributed for 27 years. The book deals, in typically discursive fashion, with themes familiar to Gould's writing: evolution and its teaching, science biography, probabilities and common sense. Gould even analyzed a controversial conchology textbook, The Conchologist's First Book, edited by Edgar Allan Poe in 1839.


  • Come Seven
    1. Heaven and Earth
      1. Happy Thoughts on a Sunny Day in New York City
      2. Dousing Diminutive Dennis's Debate (or DDDD = 2000)
      3. The Celestial Mechanic and the Earthly Naturalist
      4. The Late Birth of a Flat Earth
    2. Literature and Science
      1. The Monster's Human Nature
      2. The Tooth and Claw Centennial
      3. Sweetness and Light
    3. Origin, Stability, and Extinction



      1. Cordelia's Dilemma
      2. Lucy on the Earth in Stasis


      1. Dinosaur in a Haystack
      2. Jove's Thunderbolts
    4. Writing about Snails
      1. Poe's Greatest Hit
      2. The Invisible Woman
      3. Left Snails and Right Minds
    5. The Glory of Museums
      1. Dinomania
      2. Cabinet Museums: Alive, Alive, O!
      3. Evolution by Walking
      4. The Razumovsky Duet
      5. Four Antelopes of the Apocalypse
    6. Disparate Faces of Eugenics
      1. Does the Stoneless Plum Instruct the Thinking Reed?
      2. The Smoking Gun of Eugenics
      3. The Most Unkindest Cut of All
    7. Evolutionary Theory, Evolutionary Stories


      1. Can We Complete Darwin's Revolution?
      2. A Humongous Fungus Among Us
      3. Speaking of Snails and Scales


      1. Hooking Leviathan by Its Past
      2. A Special Fondness for Beetles
      3. If Kings Can Be Hermits, Then We Are All Monkeys' Uncles
      4. Magnolias from Moscow
    8. Linnaeus and Darwin's Grandfather
      1. The First Unmasking of Nature
      2. Ordering Nature by Budding and Full-Breasted Sexuality
      3. Four Metaphors in Three Generations
  • Bibliography
  • Index

From Publishers Weekly[edit]

In his seventh volume of witty and erudite essays, Gould casts a wide net, though he always returns to the central theme of evolution. His topics are diverse: Edgar Allan Poe's bestseller, a textbook on shells; Alfred, Lord Tennyson's In Memoriam as an account of the psychology of mourning; the infamous Wannsee Protocol, Hitler's plan for the "final solution of the Jewish question." Gould is a master of making connections?Linnaeus and Erasmus Darwin (Charles's grandfather), the Razumosky brothers, Aleksei and Andrei; King Lear and the importance of negative results. He discusses evolutionary spin-doctoring, fossil whales, movies (Jurassic Park), museums and theme parks. As might be expected, Gould takes a swipe at creationists. Dinosaur measures up in every way to Bully for Brontosaurus; readers will not be disappointed.