By Ian Tattersall

ISBN-10: 1599473429

ISBN-13: 9781599473420

"Endlessly soaking up and informative. it might be demanding to visualize a greater creation to this most crucial and engaging field.”—Bill Bryson, writer of A brief historical past of approximately Everything

Paleontology: a quick historical past of Life is the 5th identify released within the Templeton technological know-how and faith sequence, during which scientists from a variety of fields distill their adventure and wisdom into short excursions in their respective specialties.
In this quantity, Ian Tattersall, a hugely esteemed determine within the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and paleontology, leads a desirable travel of the background of existence and the evolution of human beings.
Starting on the very starting, Tattersall examines styles of switch within the biosphere through the years, and the correlations of organic occasions with actual alterations within the Earth’s setting. He introduces the complicated of evolutionary procedures, situates people within the luxuriant range of lifestyles (demonstrating that although extraordinary we may well legitimately locate ourselves to be, we're the made of a similar uncomplicated forces and methods that experience pushed the evolutionary histories of all different creatures), and he areas the starting place of our awesome religious sensibilities within the context of the exaptational and emergent acquisition of symbolic cognition and thought.
Concise and but finished, traditionally penetrating and but updated, responsibly real and but enticing, Paleontology serves because the ideal entrée to science's maximum story.

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Extra info for Paleontology: A Brief History of Life

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Some 38 percent of all marine animal genera also disappeared at this time, and an even higher proportion of land animals. Flowering plants were widely supplanted by a flora dominated by ferns—as in the “fern spikes” that we often see today after forest fires. A calamity such as this must have had an appropriately cataclysmic cause. This by itself rules out almost all of the factors to which local extinctions are usually attributed, such as pandemic disease and competition from locally evolved species and immigrants.

What’s more, most selection is clearly devoted to the maintenance of ongoing integration and function—that is, assuring non­change. Indeed, looking across the entire range of living things, it is altogether remarkable how many basic genes are still shared by the most disparate-­looking organisms. It’s been estimated that we share 40 percent of our genome with a banana. Remarkably, although they have huge amounts of DNA, organisms have rather few genes. In humans, only twenty-­five thousand genes control the vast array of functions necessary to produce and maintain a fully functioning adult individual.

Others protested that this was misleading because it confused resemblances of two kinds: those inherited from a common ancestor and those independently evolved, which say nothing about genealogical relationship. One common example compared a salmon, a lungfish, and a cow. The facile conclusion is that the salmon and the lungfish are each other’s closest relative, because both look like fish. But in fact, in terms of descent, lungfish are more closely related to the ancestor of the land-­dwelling tetrapods (including the cow) than to the ancient bony fish that was ancestral to the salmon.

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Paleontology: A Brief History of Life by Ian Tattersall

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