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Cowen's History of Life, 6th Edition

Michael J. Benton (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-48222-2 August 2019 Wiley-Blackwell 400 Pages


A newly revised and fully updated edition of the market-leading introduction to paleontology

Designed for students and anyone else with an interest in the history of life on our planet, the new edition of this classic text describes the biological evolution of Earth’s organisms, and reconstructs their adaptations and the ecology and environments in which they functioned.

Cowen's History of Life, 6th Edition includes major updates, including substantial rewrites to chapters on the origins of eukaryotes, the Cambrian explosion, the terrestrialization of plants and animals, the Triassic recovery of life, the origin of birds, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and human evolution. It also features new chapters on plants, soils and transformation of the land; the Mesozoic marine revolution; and the evolution of oceans and climates. Beginning with the origin of the Earth and the earliest life on earth, the book goes on to offer insightful contributions covering: the evolution of Metazoans; the early vertebrates; life of vertebrates on land; and early amniotes and thermoregulation. The book also looks at: dinosaur diversity, as well as their demise; early mammals; the rise of modern mammals; the Neogene Savannas; primates; life in the ice ages; and more.

  • Covers the breadth of the subject in a concise yet specific way for undergrads with no academic background in the topic
  • Reorganizes all chapters to reflect the geological series of events, enabling a new focus on big events
  • Updated with three brand new chapters and numerous revised ones
  • Put together by a new editorial team internationally recognized as the global leaders in paleontology
  • Filled with illustrations and photographs throughout
  • Includes diagrams to show internal structures of organisms, cladograms, time scales and events, and paleogeographic maps
  • Supplemented with a dedicated website that explores additional enriching information and discussion, and which features images for use in visual presentations

Cowen's History of Life, 6th Edition is an ideal book for undergraduate students taking courses in introductory paleontology, as well those on global change and earth systems.

Preface vii

About the Companion Website x

1 The Origin of Life on Earth 1

2 The Earliest Life on Earth 17

3 The Origin of Eukaryotes 30

4 The Evolution of Metazoans 41

5 The Cambrian Radiation 54

6 Changing Life in a Changing World 66

7 The Early Vertebrates 84

8 Leaving the Water 98

9 Early Tetrapods and Amniote Origins 112

10 Early Amniotes and Thermoregulation 122

11 The Mesozoic Marine Revolution

12 The Triassic Takeover 134

13 Dinosaurs 144

14 Birds and the Evolution of Flight 164

15 The Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution 183

16 The End of the Dinosaurs 212

17 Changing Oceans and Climates

18 The Origin of Mammals

19 Cenozoic Mammals 220

20 Geography and Evolution 236

21 Primates 249

22 Evolving Toward Humans 259

23 Life in the Ice Age 276

Index 294