A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Apr 7, 2015 - Science - 400 pages
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The history of life on Earth is, in some form or another, known to us all--or so we think. A New History of Life offers a provocative new account, based on the latest scientific research, of how life on our planet evolved--the first major new synthesis for general readers in two decades.

Charles Darwin's theories, first published more than 150 years ago, form the backbone of how we understand the history of the Earth. In reality, the currently accepted history of life on Earth is so flawed, so out of date, that it's past time we need a 'New History of Life.'

In their latest book, Joe Kirschvink and Peter Ward will show that many of our most cherished beliefs about the evolution of life are wrong. Gathering and analyzing years of discoveries and research not yet widely known to the public, A New History of Life proposes a different origin of species than the one Darwin proposed, one which includes eight-foot-long centipedes, a frozen “snowball Earth”, and the seeds for life originating on Mars.

Drawing on their years of experience in paleontology, biology, chemistry, and astrobiology, experts Ward and Kirschvink paint a picture of the origins life on Earth that are at once too fabulous to imagine and too familiar to dismiss--and looking forward, A New History of Life brilliantly assembles insights from some of the latest scientific research to understand how life on Earth can and might evolve far into the future.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bness2 - LibraryThing

An interesting and somewhat controversial "new" history of life. The authors focus most of their attention on the roles of oxygen and CO2 in the evolution of life, sometimes to the neglect of other ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DLMorrese - LibraryThing

A rather detailed account of life on Earth, how it might have emerged and how and under what circumstances it evolved over time. It was a bit too much for my level of expertise on the subject, but if ... Read full review


chapter i Telling Time
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chapter iii Life Death and the Newly Discovered Place In Between
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chapter xx The Knowable Futures of Earth Life

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A Note on the Authors

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About the author (2015)

Peter Ward is a Professor of Biology and Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington. He has numerous seventeen books, among them the prizewinning Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, with Donald Brownlee, and his writing has earned varied honors, earning multiple nominations for awards ranging from the Keck Science Writing Award to the Los Angeles Times Book Award. He has been a main speaker at TED and has received the Jim Shea Award for popular science writing, joining recipients such as Stephen Jay Gould and John McPhee.

Joe Kirschvink is the Nico and Marilyn Van Wingen Professor of Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology, as well as a Fellow of the American Society for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His pioneering work in earth science includes formulating and naming the "Snowball Earth" hypothesis. Asteroid 27711 is named after him.

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