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A (Very) Short History of Life On Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Chapters

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billion years ago from the dust of a new sun being born along with all the other planets that we know of our solar system. His poetic prose animates the history of life, from the first bacteria to trilobites to dinosaurs to us. As the title of the book suggests, this crams the essence of 4,600 million years of the Earth's history into less than 200 pages.

Henry Gee fasst in kompakten Kapiteln zusammen, wie es mit dem Leben in unserem Universum anfing bis zum Entstehen des Homo Sapiens mit einem kurzen Ausblick in die Zukunft am Ende. Billion Years in 12 Chapters is an enlightening story of survival, of persistence, illuminating the delicate balance within which life has always existed, and continues to exist today. The magnetic field shields the Earth from the solar wind, a constant storm of energetic particles streaming from the Sun.Dass Leben trotzdem entsteht und immer wieder entstanden ist, von winzigen Organismen bis hin zu hochkomplexen Arten, zeigt Gee in diesem Buch, dem die Faszination anzumerken ist, die auch der Autor angesichts der Vielfalt des Lebens lange vor unseer Zeit spürt. I must admit I had never heard of the Lystrosaurus, an animal with ‘the body of a pig, the uncompromising attitude towards food of a golden retriever, and the head of an electric can opener’ – and yet, for millions of years after the End-Permian mass extinction (yes, another one), nine out of every ten animals on Earth was a Lystrosaurus. The ocean-floor sludge at the fringes of vanished continents might, after hundreds of millions of years, reemerge in volcanic eruptions3 or be transformed into diamonds.

billion years ago, spreading from the permanent dark of the ocean depth to the sunlight surface waters.His earlier title The Accidental Species was a superbly readable and fascinating description of the evolutionary process leading to Homo sapiens.

Another masterful aspect of the structure is the way that the first eight chapters build in a kind of crescendo, then the whole thing widens out with first the development of apes, then hominins, then humans and finally looks forward to the future. Ik vermoed dat een geïllustreerde editie een grote beststeller kan worden, maar nu moet je het vaak met Google of je verbeelding doen. In the earliest days of the Earth, however, the raw materials were just as likely to have been minerals containing iron or sulfur. And yet, despite facing literally every conceivable setback that living organisms could encounter, life has been extinguished and picked itself up to evolve again.and Lystrosaurus, which was probably the most successful vertebrate ever: “with the body of a pig, the uncompromising attitude towards food of a golden retriever, and the head of an electric can opener, Lystrosaurus was the animal equivalent of a rash of weeds on a bomb site. Although it doesn't relieve us of the responsibility for doing better now so that current conditions stay relatively sane.

They formed when the rising currents became turbulent and diverted into eddies and, losing energy, dumped their cargo of mineral-rich debris4 into gaps and pores in the rock.

This will be our greatest challenge, and one we may not be able to survive at all, if the history of life on Earth has any bearing on it. There are bacteria that thrive on crude oil, on solvents that cause cancer in humans, or even in nuclear waste. In this book, Dr Gee presents an engaging exploration of this enduring ‘where did we come from’ question by combining findings from a variety of scientific disciplines into a coherent story using beautifully evocative and witty prose.

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