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Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth (Princeton Science Library)

Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth (Princeton Science Library) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Australopithecines, dinosaurs, trilobites--such fossils conjure up images of lost worlds filled with vanished organisms. But in the full history of life, ancient animals, even the trilobites, form only the half-billion-year tip of a nearly four-billion-year iceberg. Andrew Knoll explores the deep history of life from its origins on a young planet to the incredible Cambrian explosion, presenting a compelling new explanation for the emergence of biological novelty.

The very latest discoveries in paleontology--many of them made by the author and his students--are integrated with emerging insights from molecular biology and earth system science to forge a broad understanding of how the biological diversity that surrounds us came to be. Moving from Siberia to Namibia to the Bahamas, Knoll shows how life and environment have evolved together through Earth's history. Innovations in biology have helped shape our air and oceans, and, just as surely, environmental change has influenced the course of evolution, repeatedly closing off opportunities for some species while opening avenues for others.

Readers go into the field to confront fossils, enter the lab to discern the inner workings of cells, and alight on Mars to ask how our terrestrial experience can guide exploration for life beyond our planet. Along the way, Knoll brings us up-to-date on some of science's hottest questions, from the oldest fossils and claims of life beyond the Earth to the hypothesis of global glaciation and Knoll's own unifying concept of permissive ecology.

In laying bare Earth's deepest biological roots, Life on a Young Planet helps us understand our own place in the universe--and our responsibility as stewards of a world four billion years in the making.

Review:

?? is a detective story to match the best crime fiction?. The Guardian

Synopsis:

"Andrew Knoll, one of the world's foremost paleontologists, here presents the origin and early evolution of life the way it should be told: a mystery unfolding as an epic. Resonating with the authority of firsthand stories of discovery, his account will be exceptionally enjoyable for scientists and the educated public alike."--Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University

"Here is a firsthand account of one of the most exciting quests in modern science. Knoll writes with the confidence of a distinguished scientist who has devoted his career to unraveling the mysteries of life's origins and the passion of someone who deeply believes in the importance of recent discoveries about life before the Cambrian explosion. From the wilds of Siberia to the ocean floor, from Earth to Mars and beyond, he takes readers on a fascinating personal adventure that may change the way they think about themselves and their place in the world."--Lawrence M. Krauss, author of The Physics of Star Trek and Atom

"In a highly personal, gripping narrative, Knoll takes us on the most incredible journey of all journeys--the history of life on Earth."--Donald E. Canfield, Odense University

"This is a truly great book. It is a remarkably readable synthesis of many diverse ideas selected from a breathtaking array of disciplines. The narrative is engaging and entertaining--a travelogue through time that incorporates amusing and informative anecdotes from Knoll's travels to many far-off places."--Sean Carroll, University of Wisconsin, author of From DNA to Diversity

Synopsis:

Australopithecines, dinosaurs, trilobites--such fossils conjure up images of lost worlds filled with vanished organisms. But in the full history of life, ancient animals, even the trilobites, form only the half-billion-year tip of a nearly four-billion-year iceberg. Andrew Knoll explores the deep history of life from its origins on a young planet to the incredible Cambrian explosion, presenting a compelling new explanation for the emergence of biological novelty.

The very latest discoveries in paleontology--many of them made by the author and his students--are integrated with emerging insights from molecular biology and earth system science to forge a broad understanding of how the biological diversity that surrounds us came to be. Moving from Siberia to Namibia to the Bahamas, Knoll shows how life and environment have evolved together through Earth's history. Innovations in biology have helped shape our air and oceans, and, just as surely, environmental change has influenced the course of evolution, repeatedly closing off opportunities for some species while opening avenues for others.

Readers go into the field to confront fossils, enter the lab to discern the inner workings of cells, and alight on Mars to ask how our terrestrial experience can guide exploration for life beyond our planet. Along the way, Knoll brings us up-to-date on some of science's hottest questions, from the oldest fossils and claims of life beyond the Earth to the hypothesis of global glaciation and Knoll's own unifying concept of permissive ecology.

In laying bare Earth's deepest biological roots, Life on a Young Planet helps us understand our own place in the universe--and our responsibility as stewards of a world four billion years in the making.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue 1

Chapter 1. In the Beginning? 6

Chapter 2. The Tree of Life 16

Chapter 3. Life's Signature in Ancient Rocks 32

Chapter 4. The Earliest Glimmers of Life 50

Chapter 5. The Emergence of Life 72

Chapter 6. The Oxygen Revolution 89

Chapter 7. The Cyanobacteria, Life's Microbial Heroes 108

Chapter 8. The Origins of Eukaryotic Cells 122

Chapter 9. Fossils of Early Eukaryotes 139

Chapter 10. Animals Take the Stage 161

Chapter 11. Cambrian Redux 179

Chapter 12. Dynamic Earth, Permissive Ecology 206

Chapter 13. Paleontology ad Astra 225

Epilogue 243

Further Reading 247

Index 269

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691120294
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton
Author:
Knoll, Andrew H.
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution
Subject:
Evolution
Subject:
Biological Sciences.
Subject:
Earth Sciences
Subject:
Biology-Evolution
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Princeton Science Library
Series Volume:
The First Three Bill
Publication Date:
August 2004
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
6 color plates. 25 halftones. 47 line il
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 15 oz

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Economics » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Paleontology
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Evolution

Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth (Princeton Science Library)
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 288 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691120294 Reviews:
"Review" by , ?? is a detective story to match the best crime fiction?.
"Synopsis" by , "Andrew Knoll, one of the world's foremost paleontologists, here presents the origin and early evolution of life the way it should be told: a mystery unfolding as an epic. Resonating with the authority of firsthand stories of discovery, his account will be exceptionally enjoyable for scientists and the educated public alike."--Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University

"Here is a firsthand account of one of the most exciting quests in modern science. Knoll writes with the confidence of a distinguished scientist who has devoted his career to unraveling the mysteries of life's origins and the passion of someone who deeply believes in the importance of recent discoveries about life before the Cambrian explosion. From the wilds of Siberia to the ocean floor, from Earth to Mars and beyond, he takes readers on a fascinating personal adventure that may change the way they think about themselves and their place in the world."--Lawrence M. Krauss, author of The Physics of Star Trek and Atom

"In a highly personal, gripping narrative, Knoll takes us on the most incredible journey of all journeys--the history of life on Earth."--Donald E. Canfield, Odense University

"This is a truly great book. It is a remarkably readable synthesis of many diverse ideas selected from a breathtaking array of disciplines. The narrative is engaging and entertaining--a travelogue through time that incorporates amusing and informative anecdotes from Knoll's travels to many far-off places."--Sean Carroll, University of Wisconsin, author of From DNA to Diversity

"Synopsis" by , Australopithecines, dinosaurs, trilobites--such fossils conjure up images of lost worlds filled with vanished organisms. But in the full history of life, ancient animals, even the trilobites, form only the half-billion-year tip of a nearly four-billion-year iceberg. Andrew Knoll explores the deep history of life from its origins on a young planet to the incredible Cambrian explosion, presenting a compelling new explanation for the emergence of biological novelty.

The very latest discoveries in paleontology--many of them made by the author and his students--are integrated with emerging insights from molecular biology and earth system science to forge a broad understanding of how the biological diversity that surrounds us came to be. Moving from Siberia to Namibia to the Bahamas, Knoll shows how life and environment have evolved together through Earth's history. Innovations in biology have helped shape our air and oceans, and, just as surely, environmental change has influenced the course of evolution, repeatedly closing off opportunities for some species while opening avenues for others.

Readers go into the field to confront fossils, enter the lab to discern the inner workings of cells, and alight on Mars to ask how our terrestrial experience can guide exploration for life beyond our planet. Along the way, Knoll brings us up-to-date on some of science's hottest questions, from the oldest fossils and claims of life beyond the Earth to the hypothesis of global glaciation and Knoll's own unifying concept of permissive ecology.

In laying bare Earth's deepest biological roots, Life on a Young Planet helps us understand our own place in the universe--and our responsibility as stewards of a world four billion years in the making.

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