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History of Life, 5th Edition

April 2013, ©2013, Wiley-Blackwell
History of Life, 5th Edition (EHEP002700) cover image


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.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

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

Index 294 

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Author Information

Richard Cowen learned how to write and think critically at Cambridge University, and how to teach and think creatively at the University of California, Davis. He received a campus Distinguished Teaching Award in 1993 and designed the course “History of Life” there. The book was written specifically for that course, and has gone on to become a best-selling textbook.
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“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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Purchase Options
History of Life, 5th Edition
ISBN : 978-1-118-51093-3
312 pages
January 2013
$85.99   BUY

History of Life, 5th Edition
ISBN : 978-0-470-67172-6
312 pages
April 2013
$106.95   BUY

History of Life, 5th Edition
ISBN : 978-0-470-67173-3
312 pages
April 2013
$160.00   BUY

Wiley E-Text   
History of Life, 5th Edition
ISBN : 978-1-118-51095-7
312 pages
May 2013
$160.00   BUY

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