History of Life, 5th Edition
April 2013, ©2013, Wiley-Blackwell
This text is designed for students and anyone else with an
interest in the history of life on our planet. The author describes
the biological evolution of Earth’s organisms, and
reconstructs their adaptations to the life they led, and the
ecology and environment in which they functioned. On the grand
scale, Earth is a constantly changing planet, continually
presenting organisms with challenges. Changing geography, climate,
atmosphere, oceanic and land environments set a stage in which
organisms interact with their environments and one another, with
evolutionary change an inevitable result. The organisms themselves
in turn can change global environments: oxygen in our atmosphere is
all produced by photosynthesis, for example. The interplay between
a changing Earth and its evolving organisms is the underlying theme
of the book.
The book has a dedicated website which explores additional enriching information and discussion, and provides or points to the art for the book and many other images useful for teaching. See: www.wiley.com/go/cowen/historyoflife.
About the Companion Website x
1 The Origin of Life on Earth 1
2 Earliest Life on Earth 17
3 Sex and Nuclei: Eukaryotes 30
4 The Evolution of Metazoans 41
5 The Metazoan Radiation 54
6 Changing Life in a Changing World 66
7 The Early Vertebrates 84
8 Leaving the Water 98
9 Tetrapods and Amniotes 112
10 Early Amniotes and Thermoregulation 122
11 The Triassic Takeover 134
12 Dinosaurs 144
13 The Evolution of Flight 164
14 The Modernization of Land and Sea 183
15 The Origin of Mammals 199
16 The End of the Dinosaurs 212
17 Cenozoic Mammals 220
18 Geography and Evolution 236
19 Primates 249
20 Evolving Toward Humans 259
21 Life in the Ice Age 276
“For both lecturers and students, the book has an appealing website, made to explore the topic further.” (Geological Journal, 25 January 2015
“Though biogeographical patterns take a backseat to the grand narrative of descent, as an entry ]level textbook this is hard to surpass.” (Frontiers of biogeography, 5 February 2013)
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