Life On A Young Planet

THE FIRST THREE BILLION YEARS OF EVOLUTION ON EARTH

Australopithecines, dinosaurs, trilobites  — such fossils conjure up images of lost worlds filled with varnished organisms.  but in the full history of life, ancient animals, even the trilobites, form only the half-billion-year tip of a nearly 4-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.

Readers go into the field to confront fossils, enter the lab top 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 4 billion years in the making.

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