This text outlines the history of life on earth, showing how the biosphere and planet have evolved together as a single complex system. Few other texts effectively convey this part of geological or biological studies as well as this introductory level text. The contents comprehensively survey the course of events and describe the circumstances that have led up to life on Earth as scientists understand it today. Starting with the origins of the solar system, the text demonstrates how life has developed with the physical evolution of the planet. It also examines how, throughout geological history, the planet has shaped life and how life has shaped the planet, governing the atmosphere and influencing the geological evolution of the continents and oceans. This fascinating account includes topics such as: precambrian life and geological evolution; the development of the eukaryotes; the evolution of the vertebrates; continental drift, sea floor spreading and plate tectonics; the history of the atmosphere; the construction of an interdependent biosphere.
This book should be of interest to first year geology or environmental science undergraduate students taking a general introductory course in the history of the earth; biology and geology students as an introduction to the history of life; and arts and social science students taking a general introductory science course.
Nisbet's science is accurate and detailed, the illustrations are useful, and the photographs are clear. The text is funny and reads smoothly...very difficult to put down, both because of the humour and because of the clear explanations of issues in so many different fields of study...an excellent textbook for biology, geology, and environmental science majors as well as for other students who do not find science to be the most exciting study of all - Jnl of Geological Education; [The book] is carried off by the author's ability to marshal his own observations and anecdotes and convey them in colorful turns of phrase which make the facts memorable in turn |o Proceedings of the Geologists Association
Part 1 In the abyss of time: in the beginning; the beginning of life; the archaean planet. Part 2 The occupation of the planet: the variety of life; life in the archaean; the surface of the proterozoic earth; the birth of the eukaryotes. Part 3 The spread of the eukaryotes: the early proterozoic explosion and after; the changing land; the rule of the reptiles. Part 4 The modern world: the new world; the descent of humanity; challenging nature.