A book on the Cambrian period by two leaders in the field.
A study of the Burgess Shale, a sea bed 530 million years old, and attempts to tackle what the findings are and what it means
When Charles Darwin finished The Origin of Species, he thought that he had explained every clue, but one. Though his theory could explain many facts, Darwin knew that there was a significant event in the history of life that his theory did not explain. During this event, the “Cambrian explosion,” many animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record without apparent ancestors in earlier layers of rock. In Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen C. Meyer tells the story of the mystery surrounding this explosion of animal life—a mystery that has intensified, not only because the expected ancestors of these animals have not been found, but because scientists have learned more about what it takes to construct an animal. During the last half century, biologists have come to appreciate the central importance of biological information—stored in DNA and elsewhere in cells—to building animal forms. Expanding on the compelling case he presented in his last book, Signature in the Cell, Meyer argues that the origin of this information, as well as other mysterious features of the Cambrian event, are best explained by intelligent design, rather than purely undirected evolutionary processes.
This volume, aimed at the general reader, presents life and times of the amazing animals that inhabited Earth more than 500 million years ago. The Cambrian Period was a critical time in Earth’s history. During this immense span of time nearly every modern group of animals appeared. Although life had been around for more than 2 million millennia, Cambrian rocks preserve the record of the first appearance of complex animals with eyes, protective skeletons, antennae, and complex ecologies. Grazing, predation, and multi-tiered ecosystems with animals living in, on, or above the sea floor became common. The cascade of interaction led to an ever-increasing diversification of animal body types. By the end of the period, the ancestors of sponges, corals, jellyfish, worms, mollusks, brachiopods, arthropods, echinoderms, and vertebrates were all in place. The evidence of this Cambrian "explosion" is preserved in rocks all over the world, including North America, where the seemingly strange animals of the period are preserved in exquisite detail in deposits such as the Burgess Shale in British Columbia. Cambrian Ocean World tells the story of what is, for us, the most important period in our planet’s long history.
Discusses the Cambrian era in Earth's history, when the first forms of life appeared and began to flourish and evolve.
The Cambrian radiation was the explosive evolution of marine life that started 550,000,000 years ago. It ranks as one of the most important episodes in Earth history. This key event in the history of life on our planet changed the marine biosphere and its sedimentary environment forever, requiring a complex interplay of wide-ranging biologic and nonbiologic processes. The Ecology of the Cambrian Radiation offers a comprehensive and surprising picture of the Earth at that ancient time. The book contains contributions from thirty-three authors hailing from ten countries and will be of interest to paleontologists, geologists, biologists, and other researchers interested in the global Earth-life system.
The Chengjiang biota is one of the most remarkable fossil discoveries ever made. The Cambrian Fossils of Chengjiang is the first book in English to provide fossil enthusiasts with an overview of the fauna. 100 superb full color plates. First English language illustrated guide to this important fauna. A must-have for all palaeontologists worldwide. To see a collection of images from the book, click on the following link: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/chengjiang
With Trilobite, Richard Fortey, paleontologist and author of the acclaimed Life, offers a marvelously written, smart and compelling, accessible and witty scientific narrative of the most ubiquitous of fossil creatures. Trilobites were shelled animals that lived in the oceans over five hundred million years ago. As bewilderingly diverse then as the beetle is today, they survived in the arctic or the tropics, were spiky or smooth, were large as lobsters or small as fleas. And because they flourished for three hundred million years, they can be used to glimpse a less evolved world of ancient continents and vanished oceans. Erudite and entertaining, this book is a uniquely exuberant homage to a fabulously singular species. From the Trade Paperback edition.
For all the discussion in the media about creationism and 'Intelligent Design', virtually nothing has been said about the evidence in question - the evidence for evolution by natural selection. Yet, as this succinct and important book shows, that evidence is vast, varied, and magnificent, and drawn from many disparate fields of science. The very latest research is uncovering a stream of evidence revealing evolution in action - from the actual observation of a species splitting into two, to new fossil discoveries, to the deciphering of the evidence stored in our genome. Why Evolution is True weaves together the many threads of modern work in genetics, palaeontology, geology, molecular biology, anatomy, and development to demonstrate the 'indelible stamp' of the processes first proposed by Darwin. It is a crisp, lucid, and accessible statement that will leave no one with an open mind in any doubt about the truth of evolution.
Donald R. Prothero’s Evolution is an entertaining and rigorous history of the transitional forms and series found in the fossil record. Its engaging narrative of scientific discovery and well-grounded analysis has led to the book’s widespread adoption in courses that teach the nature and value of fossil evidence for evolution. Evolution tackles systematics and cladistics, rock dating, neo-Darwinism, and macroevolution. It includes extensive coverage of the primordial soup, invertebrate transitions, the development of the backbone, the reign of the dinosaurs, and the transformation from early hominid to modern human. The book also details the many alleged “missing links” in the fossil record, including some of the most recent discoveries that flesh out the fossil timeline and the evolutionary process. In this second edition, Prothero describes new transitional fossils from various periods, vividly depicting such bizarre creatures as the Odontochelys, or the “turtle on the half shell”; fossil snakes with legs; and the “Frogamander,” a new example of amphibian transition. Prothero’s discussion of intelligent design arguments includes more historical examples and careful examination of the “experiments” and observations that are exploited by creationists seeking to undermine sound science education. With new perspectives, Prothero reframes creationism as a case study in denialism and pseudoscience rather than a field with its own intellectual dynamism. The first edition was hailed as an exemplary exploration of the fossil evidence for evolution, and this second edition will be welcome in the libraries of scholars, teachers, and general readers who stand up for sound science in this post-truth era.
Answers to the most common—and most controversial—questions about creation evidences. In The Creation Answer Book, renowned Bible scholar Hank Hanegraaff brings to life the answers God has revealed about His magnificent creation—our universe, light and time, the earth and all who inhabit it. The popular Q&A format provides a clear and concise biblical view of the ordering of events through divine authority since the beginning of time. A must-have for Christians who face the argument of evolution and for non-Christians who are searching for truth about our origins. This book will help Christians understand more about creation and God’s plan for our world. Includes answers to frequently asked questions such as: Can the big bang theory be harmonized with Genesis? Is there evidence that humans and dinosaurs walked on the earth together? How serious are the consequences of believing in naturalistic evolution? Can we be certain that evolution is a myth?
Insects and other arthropods show complex behaviors that are products of versatile brains which, in a sense, think. Strausfeld weaves anatomical observations, molecular biology, neuroethology, cladistics, and the fossil record to explore how arthropod brains process sensory information to produce learning, strategizing, cooperation, and sociality.
The invasion of land by ocean-dwelling plants and animals was one of the most revolutionary events in the evolution of life on Earth, yet the animal invasion almost failed—twice—because of the twin mass extinctions of the Late Devonian Epoch. Some 359 to 375 million years ago, these catastrophic events dealt our ancestors a blow that almost drove them back into the sea. If those extinctions had been just a bit more severe, spiders and insects—instead of vertebrates—might have become the ecologically dominant forms of animal life on land. This book examines the profound evolutionary consequences of the Late Devonian extinctions and the various theories proposed to explain their occurrence. Only one group of four-limbed vertebrates exists on Earth, while other tetrapod-like fishes are extinct. This gap is why the idea of "fish with feet" seems so peculiar to us, yet such animals were once a vital part of our world, and if the Devonian extinctions had not happened, members of these species, like the famous Acanthostega and Ichthyostega, might have continued to live in our rivers and lakes. Synthesizing decades of research and including a wealth of new discoveries, this accessible, comprehensive text explores the causes of the Devonian extinctions, the reasons vertebrates were so severely affected, and the potential evolution of the modern world if the extinctions had never taken place.
Since George Gaylord Simpson published Tempo and Mode in Evolution in 1944, discoveries in paleontology and genetics have abounded. This volume brings together the findings and insights of today's leading experts in the study of evolution, including Francisco J. Ayala, W. Ford Doolittle, and Stephen Jay Gould. It covers morphological and genetic changes in human populations, contradicting the popular claim that modern humans descend from a single woman.
Life on Earth arose nearly 4 billion years ago, bursting forth from air, water, and rock. Though the process obeyed all the rules of chemistry and physics, the details of that original event pose as deep a mystery as any facing science. How did non-living chemicals become alive? While the question is (deceivingly) simple, the answers are unquestionably complex. Science inevitably plays a key role in any discussion of life's origins, dealing less with the question of why life appeared on Earth than with where, when, and how it emerged on the blasted, barren face of our primitive planet. Astrobiologist Robert Hazen has spent many years dealing with the fundamental questions of life's genesis. As an active research scientist, he is down deep in all the messy details that science has to offer on the subject, tracing the inexorable sequence of events that led to the complicated interactions of carbonbased molecules. As he takes us through the astounding process of emergence, we are witness to the first tentative steps toward life-from the unfathomable abundance of carbon biomolecules synthesized in the black vacuum of space to the surface of the Earth to deep within our planet's restless crust. We are privy to the breathtaking drama that rapidly unfolds as life prevails. The theory of emergence is poised to answer a multitude of questions-even as it raises the possibility that natural processes exist beyond what we now know, perhaps beyond what we even comprehend. Genesis tells the tale of transforming scientific advances in our quest for life's origins. Written with grace, beauty, and authority, it goes directly to the heart of who we are and why we are here.
Australopithecines, dinosaurs, trilobites--such fossils conjure up images of lost worlds filled with vanished organisms. But in the full history of life, ancient animals, even the trilobites, form only the half-billion-year tip of a nearly four-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. The very latest discoveries in paleontology--many of them made by the author and his students--are integrated with emerging insights from molecular biology and earth system science to forge a broad understanding of how the biological diversity that surrounds us came to be. Moving from Siberia to Namibia to the Bahamas, Knoll shows how life and environment have evolved together through Earth's history. Innovations in biology have helped shape our air and oceans, and, just as surely, environmental change has influenced the course of evolution, repeatedly closing off opportunities for some species while opening avenues for others. Readers go into the field to confront fossils, enter the lab to 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 four billion years in the making. In a new preface, Knoll describes how the field has broadened and deepened in the decade since the book's original publication.
The book deals with the record of important Neoproterozoic to Early Palaeozoic events in southwestern Gondwana, that heralded the Cambrian explosion and the dawn of modern ecosystems. It contains a detailed account of the Neoproterozoic to Cambrian geological record in a poorly-known part of the world, which is at the same time key to understand fundamental processes at the Proterozoic-Cambrian transition. The emphasis is placed on litho-, bio-, chemostratigraphy and magmatism. The palaeoclimatic, tectonic, evolutionary radiation and extinction events and associated mineralizations will be identified and discussed. A synthesis of all data is provided at the end of the book, integrating the data from all cratons and fold belts in southwestern Gondwana. The events will be individualized, their impact discussed and correlations between different successions both within and outside Gondwana proposed. The book is organized in three sections. Section one is an introduction to the neoproterozoic and Cambrian seen as a time of upheavals, extremes and innovations. Section two comprises nineteen chapters dealing with the neoproterozoic-Cambrian events in southwestern Gondwana. Section three will provide a synthesis on every major topic, and a critical assessment of the global implications of the presented data. * The book deals with the record of important Neoproterozoic to Early Palaeozoic events in southwestern Gondwana, that heralded the Cambrian explosion and the dawn of modern ecosystems. It contains a detailed account of the Neoproterozoic to Cambrian geological record in a poorly-known part of the world, which is at the same time key to understand fundamental processes at the Proterozoic-Cambrian transition. The emphasis is placed on litho-, bio-, chemostratigraphy and magmatism.
The arthropods contain more species than any other animal group, but the evolutionary pathways which led to their current diversity are still an issue of controversy. Arthropod Relationships provides an overview of our current understanding, responding to the new data arising from sequencing DNA, the discovery of new Cambrian fossils as direct evidence of early arthropod history, and developmental genetics. These new areas of research have stimulated a reconsideration of classical morphology and embryology. Arthropod Relationships is the first synthesis of the current debate to emerge: not since the volume edited by Gupta was published in 1979 has the arthropod phylogeny debate been, considered in this depth and breadth. Leaders in the various branches of arthropod biology have contributed to this volume. Chapters focus progressively from the general issues to the specific problems involving particular groups, and thence to a consideration of embryology and genetics. This wide range of disciplines is drawn on to approach an understanding of arthropod relationships, and to provide the most timely account of arthropod phylogeny. This book should be read by evolutionary biologists, palaeontologists, developmental geneticists and invertebrate zoologists. It will have a special interest for post-graduate students working in these fields.