Author: Michael J. Benton
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Release Date: 2015-08-11
“The focus is the most severe mass extinction known in earth’s history. The science on which the book is based is up-to-date, thorough, and balanced. Highly recommended.” —Choice Today it is common knowledge that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a meteorite impact 65 million years ago that killed half of all species then living. It is far less widely understood that a much greater catastrophe took place at the end of the Permian period 251 million years ago: at least ninety percent of life on earth was destroyed. When Life Nearly Died documents not only what happened during this gigantic mass extinction but also the recent renewal of the idea of catastrophism: the theory that changes in the earth’s crust were brought about suddenly in the past by phenomena that cannot be observed today. Was the end-Permian event caused by the impact of a huge meteorite or comet, or by prolonged volcanic eruption in Siberia? The evidence has been accumulating, and Michael J. Benton gives his verdict at the end of the volume. The new edition brings the study of the greatest mass extinction of all time thoroughly up-to-date. In the twelve years since the book was originally published, hundreds of geologists and paleontologists have been investigating all aspects of how life could be driven to the brink of annihilation, and especially how life recovered afterwards, providing the foundations of modern ecosystems.
Author: Clinton Crockett Peters
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Release Date: 2018-05
Pandora's Garden profiles invasive or unwanted species in the natural world and examines how our treatment of these creatures sometimes parallels in surprising ways how we treat each other. Part essay, part nature writing, part narrative nonfiction, the chapters in Pandora's Garden are like the biospheres of the globe; as the successive chapters unfold, they blend together like ecotones, creating a microcosm of the world in which we sustain nonhuman lives but also contain them. There are many reasons particular flora and fauna may be unwanted, from the physical to the psychological. Sometimes they may possess inherent qualities that when revealed help us to interrogate human perception and our relationship to an unwanted other. Pandora's Garden is primarily about creatures that humans don't get along with, such as rattlesnakes and sharks, but the chapters also take on a range of other subjects, including stolen children in Australia, the treatment of illegal immigrants in Texas, and the disgust function of the human limbic system. Peters interweaves these diverse subjects into a whole that mirrors the evolving and interrelated world whose surprises and oddities he delights in revealing.
Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: Templeton Foundation Press
Release Date: 2011-07-01
"Endlessly absorbing and informative. It would be hard to imagine a better introduction to this most important and fascinating field.”—Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything Paleontology: A Brief History of Life is the fifth title published in the Templeton Science and Religion Series, in which scientists from a wide range of fields distill their experience and knowledge into brief tours of their respective specialties. In this volume, Ian Tattersall, a highly esteemed figure in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and paleontology, leads a fascinating tour of the history of life and the evolution of human beings. Starting at the very beginning, Tattersall examines patterns of change in the biosphere over time, and the correlations of biological events with physical changes in the Earth’s environment. He introduces the complex of evolutionary processes, situates human beings in the luxuriant diversity of Life (demonstrating that however remarkable we may legitimately find ourselves to be, we are the product of the same basic forces and processes that have driven the evolutionary histories of all other creatures), and he places the origin of our extraordinary spiritual sensibilities in the context of the exaptational and emergent acquisition of symbolic cognition and thought. Concise and yet comprehensive, historically penetrating and yet up-to-date, responsibly factual and yet engaging, Paleontology serves as the perfect entrée to science's greatest story.
A fascinating history of species extinctions, their causes and the looming "sixth extinction". Explores the history of this search, its subjects, its controversies, its current conclusions, and their implications for our efforts to preserve Earth's biodiversity. It explains what extinction is, what causes it and whether it is preventable, and by comparing past geological extinction events, it aims to predict what will happen in the future--P.  of cover.
Author: Elizabeth Kolbert
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: 2014-02-11
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly and dramatically contracted. Scientists around the world are currently monitoring the sixth extinction, predicted to be the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. This time around, the cataclysm is us. In The Sixth Extinction, two-time winner of the National Magazine Award and New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert draws on the work of scores of researchers in half a dozen disciplines, accompanying many of them into the field: geologists who study deep ocean cores, botanists who follow the tree line as it climbs up the Andes, marine biologists who dive off the Great Barrier Reef. She introduces us to a dozen species, some already gone, others facing extinction, including the Panamian golden frog, staghorn coral, the great auk, and the Sumatran rhino. Through these stories, Kolbert provides a moving account of the disappearances occurring all around us and traces the evolution of extinction as concept, from its first articulation by Georges Cuvier in revolutionary Paris up through the present day. The sixth extinction is likely to be mankind's most lasting legacy; as Kolbert observes, it compels us to rethink the fundamental question of what it means to be human.
In its 4.5 billion–year history, life on Earth has been almost erased at least half a dozen times: shattered by asteroid impacts, entombed in ice, smothered by methane, and torn apart by unfathomably powerful megavolcanoes. And we know that another global disaster is eventually headed our way. Can we survive it? How? As a species, Homo sapiens is at a crossroads. Study of our planet’s turbulent past suggests that we are overdue for a catastrophic disaster, whether caused by nature or by human interference. It’s a frightening prospect, as each of the Earth’s past major disasters—from meteor strikes to bombardment by cosmic radiation—resulted in a mass extinction, where more than 75 percent of the planet’s species died out. But in Scatter, Adapt, and Remember, Annalee Newitz, science journalist and editor of the science Web site io9.com explains that although global disaster is all but inevitable, our chances of long-term species survival are better than ever. Life on Earth has come close to annihilation—humans have, more than once, narrowly avoided extinction just during the last million years—but every single time a few creatures survived, evolving to adapt to the harshest of conditions. This brilliantly speculative work of popular science focuses on humanity’s long history of dodging the bullet, as well as on new threats that we may face in years to come. Most important, it explores how scientific breakthroughs today will help us avoid disasters tomorrow. From simulating tsunamis to studying central Turkey’s ancient underground cities; from cultivating cyanobacteria for “living cities” to designing space elevators to make space colonies cost-effective; from using math to stop pandemics to studying the remarkable survival strategies of gray whales, scientists and researchers the world over are discovering the keys to long-term resilience and learning how humans can choose life over death. Newitz’s remarkable and fascinating journey through the science of mass extinctions is a powerful argument about human ingenuity and our ability to change. In a world populated by doomsday preppers and media commentators obsessively forecasting our demise, Scatter, Adapt, and Remember is a compelling voice of hope. It leads us away from apocalyptic thinking into a future where we live to build a better world—on this planet and perhaps on others. Readers of this book will be equipped scientifically, intellectually, and emotionally to face whatever the future holds.
A biographical and bibliographical guide to current writers in all fields including poetry, fiction and nonfiction, journalism, drama, television and movies. Information is provided by the authors themselves or drawn from published interviews, feature stories, book reviews and other materials provided by the authors/publishers.
Author: David Boersema
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Release Date: 2009
This new anthology, which integrates explanatory text, primary source readings, and case studies, provides students of any major (philosophy, science, or other) with an accessible and comprehensive introduction to the philosophy of science. The anthology is organized around a unique “three-pronged” approach: the metaphysical (what), the epistemological (how), and the axiological (why). The coverage of issues builds coherently and logically: from issues of scientific method to ethical issues, to the most current social and political implications of science — demonstrating how philosophy of science is relevant in a modern day context. The anthology carefully examines the theoretical apparatus of the philosophy of science and applies it to rich case studies from the history of science.
Author: Paul B. Wignall
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2015-09-29
Two hundred sixty million years ago, life on Earth suffered wave after wave of cataclysmic extinctions, with the worst wiping out nearly every species on the planet. The Worst of Times delves into the mystery behind these extinctions and sheds light on the fateful role the primeval supercontinent, known as Pangea, might have played in causing these global catastrophes. Drawing on the latest discoveries as well as his own firsthand experiences conducting field expeditions to remote corners of the world, Paul Wignall reveals what scientists are only now beginning to understand about the most prolonged and calamitous period of environmental crisis in Earth's history. Wignall shows how these series of unprecedented extinction events swept across the planet, killing life on a scale more devastating than the dinosaur extinctions that would follow. The Worst of Times unravels one of the great enigmas of ancient Earth and shows how this ushered in a new age of vibrant and more resilient life on our planet.
Author: A. Hallam
Publisher: Oxford University Press, UK
Release Date: 1997-09-11
The first book to review all the evidence concerning both the dinosaur extinctions and all the other major extinctions - of plant, animal, terrestrial, and marine life - in the history of life. All the extinction mechanisms are critically assessed, including meteorite impact, anoxia, and volcanism. - ;Why do mass extinctions occur? The demise of the dinosaurs has been discussed exhaustively, but has never been out into the context of other extinction events. This is the first systematic review of the mass extinctions of all organisms, plant and animal, terrestrial and marine, that have occurred in the history of life. This includes the major crisis 250 million years ago which nearly wiped out all life on Earth. By examining current paleontological, geological, and sedimentological evidence of environmental changes, the cases for explanations based on climate change, marine regressions, asteroid or comet impact, anoxia, and volcanic eruptions are all critically evaluated. -
The author of Great Waters: An Atlantic Passage identifies a living partnership between the earth and its life, explaining the comparatively new responsibility of human beings in protecting the sea in order to safeguard climate and environmental interests. 30,000 first printing.
Author: Elisabeth S. Vrba
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 1995
This book focuses on how climatic change during the last fifteen million years - especially the last three million - has affected human evolution and other evolutionary events. Leading evolutionists and physical geologists from all over the worldauthorities on such subjects as paleoceanography, palynology, mammalian paleontology, and paleoanthropology - address the relationship between climatic and biotic evolution, presenting and integrating the most up-to-date research in their fields. Among the subjects discussed are: global and regional climatic changes; tectonism and its effects on climate; the evolution of biomes and mammals; the ways climate might have influenced the origins of hominid species; and the evolution of hominid morphologies and behaviors. The book draws on the comparatively rich data base of the Late Neogene and includes many new data sets and hypotheses on paleoclimatic changes and on floral and mammalian evolution.