25 Women to Read Before You Die
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Original Essays, Recipes | August 19, 2015

    Cara Nicoletti: IMG Ramona Quimby Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Thighs



    As a kid, I read for two reasons: the first, and most common, was to escape from my everyday life by imagining a different one — to read about... Continue »
    1. $19.60 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    spacer

This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.


Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

Extinction: How Life on Earth Nearly Ended 250 Million Years Ago

by

Extinction: How Life on Earth Nearly Ended 250 Million Years Ago Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Some 250 million years ago, the earth suffered the greatest biological crisis in its history. Around 95% of all living species died out — a global catastrophe far greater than the dinosaurs' demise 65 million years ago. How this happened remains a mystery. But there are many competing theories. Some blame huge volcanic eruptions that covered an area as large as the continental United States; others argue for sudden changes in ocean levels and chemistry, including burps of methane gas; and still others cite the impact of an extraterrestrial object, similar to what caused the dinosaurs' extinction.

Extinction is a paleontological mystery story. Here, the world's foremost authority on the subject provides a fascinating overview of the evidence for and against a whole host of hypotheses concerning this cataclysmic event that unfolded at the end of the Permian.

After setting the scene, Erwin introduces the suite of possible perpetrators and the types of evidence paleontologists seek. He then unveils the actual evidence — moving from China, where much of the best evidence is found; to a look at extinction in the oceans; to the extraordinary fossil animals of the Karoo Desert of South Africa. Erwin reviews the evidence for each of the hypotheses before presenting his own view of what happened.

Although full recovery took tens of millions of years, this most massive of mass extinctions was a powerful creative force, setting the stage for the development of the world as we know it today.

Review:

"The last time Earth experienced a mass extinction, some 65 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, there is little doubt about what happened. A humongous meteor slammed into the Yucatan Peninsula, incinerating everything around for thousands of miles. Plumes of vaporized rock blanketed the planet in a layer of thick ash, blocking the sun and choking off photosynthesis. The entire global... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Erwin has spent his professional life searching for clues...and this book is his invitation to amateur paleontologists to join in his sleuthing." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"Theories and mysteries can be dispelled with good data from the geologic record, and Erwin...offers an authoritative account of the search for these data and for the cause of the extinction. Extinction provides a great reference for researchers and the interested lay reader alike." Andrew M. Bush, Science

Review:

"Douglas Erwin's geological mystery story is engrossing.....The book ends with Erwin warning that the Earth is arguably entering another mass extinction period, this time unnatural and man-made. And this time the destruction may well be total." Sunday Age

Review:

"The author...explain[s] what this paleontological, as well as geological, evidence can tell scientists about the dramatic and deadly shift in the Earth's environment." Science News

Review:

"Extinction — written, it seems, both to persuade his colleagues and to educate a lay audience — is told from the perspective of a forensic scientist trying to piece together a quarter-billion-year-old crime scene." Joshua Foer, Washington Post Book World

Review:

"Although framed in terms of hypotheses and their tests, Erwin's story unfolds as a gripping who-done-it for the ages." Andrew H. Knoll, Harvard University, author of Life on a Young Planet

Synopsis:

"Douglas Erwin blends careful scholarship and graceful prose in this authoritative elucidation of Earth's greatest mass extinction. Although framed in terms of hypotheses and their tests, Erwin's story unfolds as a gripping who-done-it for the ages."--Andrew H. Knoll, Harvard University, author of Life on a Young Planet

"Douglas Erwin is the world's leading expert on the end-Permian extinction. This book will be the standard reference on this crucial event in the history of life. It is a wonderful example of science in action."--Richard Bambach, Virginia Tech

"This book provides an up-to-date review and critical appraisal of all we know about the end-Permian mass extinction, a subject that has drawn much popular attention. Complementing its solid scholarship, its friendly style enables educated general readers to get to grips with all the current debates."--Paul Wignall, University of Leeds, author of Mass Extinctions and Their Aftermaths

"In conversational prose, Douglas Erwin provides a useful roadmap to a complex scientific subject--an up-to-date treatment of the end-Permian extinction."--Michael J. Foote, University of Chicago

About the Author

Douglas H. Erwin is Senior Scientist and Curator in the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and an External Faculty Member of the Santa Fe Institute. He began researching the end-Permian mass extinction in the early 1980s and has traveled many times to China, South Africa, and Europe seeking its causes.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

CHAPTER 1: Introduction 1

CHAPTER 2: A Cacophony of Causes 17

CHAPTER 3: South China Interlude 59

CHAPTER 4: It's a Matter of Time 77

CHAPTER 5: Filter Feeding Fails 98

CHAPTER 6: South African Eden 124

CHAPTER 7: The Perils of Permian Seas 161

CHAPTER 8: Denouement 187

CHAPTER 9: Resurrection and Recovery 218

CHAPTER 10: The Paradox of the Permo-Triassic 245

Notes 263

References 275

Index 293

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691005249
Subtitle:
How Life on Earth Nearly Ended 250 Million Years Ago
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Erwin, Douglas H.
Location:
Princeton
Subject:
Paleontology
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution
Subject:
History
Subject:
Extinction (Biology)
Subject:
Biological Sciences.
Subject:
Earth Sciences
Subject:
Catastrophes (geology)
Subject:
Geology, Stratigraphic -- Permian.
Subject:
Popular science
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
February 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
32 halftones. 32 line illus.
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 21 oz

Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Geology » Paleontology

Extinction: How Life on Earth Nearly Ended 250 Million Years Ago
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 320 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691005249 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Erwin has spent his professional life searching for clues...and this book is his invitation to amateur paleontologists to join in his sleuthing."
"Review" by , "Theories and mysteries can be dispelled with good data from the geologic record, and Erwin...offers an authoritative account of the search for these data and for the cause of the extinction. Extinction provides a great reference for researchers and the interested lay reader alike."
"Review" by , "Douglas Erwin's geological mystery story is engrossing.....The book ends with Erwin warning that the Earth is arguably entering another mass extinction period, this time unnatural and man-made. And this time the destruction may well be total."
"Review" by , "The author...explain[s] what this paleontological, as well as geological, evidence can tell scientists about the dramatic and deadly shift in the Earth's environment."
"Review" by , "Extinction — written, it seems, both to persuade his colleagues and to educate a lay audience — is told from the perspective of a forensic scientist trying to piece together a quarter-billion-year-old crime scene."
"Review" by , "Although framed in terms of hypotheses and their tests, Erwin's story unfolds as a gripping who-done-it for the ages."
"Synopsis" by ,

"Douglas Erwin blends careful scholarship and graceful prose in this authoritative elucidation of Earth's greatest mass extinction. Although framed in terms of hypotheses and their tests, Erwin's story unfolds as a gripping who-done-it for the ages."--Andrew H. Knoll, Harvard University, author of Life on a Young Planet

"Douglas Erwin is the world's leading expert on the end-Permian extinction. This book will be the standard reference on this crucial event in the history of life. It is a wonderful example of science in action."--Richard Bambach, Virginia Tech

"This book provides an up-to-date review and critical appraisal of all we know about the end-Permian mass extinction, a subject that has drawn much popular attention. Complementing its solid scholarship, its friendly style enables educated general readers to get to grips with all the current debates."--Paul Wignall, University of Leeds, author of Mass Extinctions and Their Aftermaths

"In conversational prose, Douglas Erwin provides a useful roadmap to a complex scientific subject--an up-to-date treatment of the end-Permian extinction."--Michael J. Foote, University of Chicago

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

       
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.