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The History of Life: A Very Short Introduction

Michael J. Benton

November 2008

ISBN: 9780199226320

184 pages
Paperback
174x111mm

In Stock

Very Short Introductions

Price: £8.99

This Very Short Introduction presents a succinct and accessible guide to the key episodes in the story of life on earth - from the very origins of life four million years ago to the extraordinary diversity of species around the globe today.

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Description

This Very Short Introduction presents a succinct and accessible guide to the key episodes in the story of life on earth - from the very origins of life four million years ago to the extraordinary diversity of species around the globe today.

  • Each chapter describes a major step in the history of life - the breakthroughs that made new forms of life possible
  • Explores the origins of sex, the first multicellular creatures, explains how hard skeletons evolved, why animals moved to land, and how the first forests were born
  • Presents a completely up-to-date picture of the earliest origins of life, exploring new concepts such as the 'RNA world' and the Last Universal Common Ancestor
  • Takes an interdisciplinary view - introducing new ideas from many areas including evolutionary biology, earth history, geochemistry, palaeontology, systematics, and astrobiology
  • Covers life on land, and in the sea and air, and looks at animals and plants from algae and insects to dinosaurs and mammals
  • Includes the latest perspectives on human evolution

About the Author(s)

Michael J. Benton, Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology

Table of Contents

    1:Introduction
    2:The origin of life
    3:The origin of sex
    4:The origin of skeletons
    5:The origin of life on land
    6:Forests and flight
    7:The biggest mass extinction
    8:The origin of modern ecosystems
    9:The origin of humans
    References and Further Reading

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