Adrian Currie, Rock, Bone and Ruin: An Optimist’s Guide to the Historical Sciences


  • Kevin Padian University of California, Berkeley



Palaeontology, Philosophy of Science, History of Science, Historiography, Epistemology


Adrian Currie, Rock, Bone and Ruin: An Optimist’s Guide to the Historical Sciences (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2018), ix + 372 pp. ISBN: 9-780-26203-726-6. $35 (hbk).

Author Biography

Kevin Padian, University of California, Berkeley

Kevin Padian, Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, USA.


Cuvier, G. 1809. “Mémoire sur le squelette fossile d’un reptile volant des environs d’Aichstedt, que quelques naturalistes ont pris pour un oiseau, et dont nous formons un genre de Sauriens, sous le nom de Petro-Dactyle.” Annales, Musée d’Histoire Naturelle 13(1809): 424-437.

Cuvier, G. 1812. Recherches sur les Ossemens Fossiles des Quadrupèdes, 4 vols. Paris: Deterville.

Hutson, J.D. & Hutson, K.N. 2013. “Using the American Alligator and a Repeated Measures Design to Place Constraints on in vivo Shoulder Joint Range of Motion in Dinosaurs and Other Fossil Archosaurs.” Journal of Experimental Biology 216: 275–284. 10.1242/jeb.074229. Epub 2012 Sep 12.

Manafzadeh, A.R. & Padian, K. 2018. “ROM Mapping of Ligamentous Constraints on Avian Hip Mobility: Implications for Extinct Ornithodirans.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285(1879): 20180727.

Padian, K. 1985. “The Origins and Aerodynamics of Flight in Extinct Vertebrates.” Palaeontology 28(3): 423-433. Stable URL:

Padian, K. 1987. “The Case of the Bat-winged Pterosaur: Typological Taxonomy and the Influence of Pictorial Representation on Scientific Perception.” In Olson, E.C., and S.M. Czerkas (eds.), Dinosaurs Past and Present , vol. 2, 65-81. Seattle and London: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in association with University of Washington Press.

Pian, R., Archer, M. & Hand, S.J. 2013. “A New, Giant Platypus, Obdurodon tharalkooschild, sp. nov. (Monotremata, Ornithorhynchidae), from the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, Australia.” Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 33(6): 1255-1259.

Taquet, P. & K. Padian. 2004. “The Earliest Known Restoration of a Pterosaur and the Philosophical Origins of Cuvier’s Ossemens Fossiles.” Comptes Rendus Palevol 3(2): 157-175.




How to Cite

Padian, K. (2020). Adrian Currie, Rock, Bone and Ruin: An Optimist’s Guide to the Historical Sciences. Journal of Cognitive Historiography, 5(1-2), 210–215.



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