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History of Life Paperback – January 15, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0316989275 ISBN-10: 0632044446 Edition: 3rd

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History of Life
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History of Life + Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 3 edition (January 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0632044446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316989275
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,034,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for previous editions:
"Cowens book is refreshing and radically different from most other textbook of this genre as it presents to the non-scientist the study of paleontology and the history of lifew as a dynamic and exciting science." (Journal of the Society for Sedimentary Geology)

Book Description

This book is aimed at anyone interested in the history of life on our planet. It explores the "whys" of events that occurred, and in this new edition, it takes a closer look at the evolution of the physical earth and the strong interactions between organisms and environment. The book's coverage includes geography, climate, atmosphere, ocean, and land (a changing stage) while following interplay between organisms. Also new to this edition is a devoted website-www.blackwellpublishing.com/cowen-that explores additional environmental factors and supplemental topics and provides key links and additional reader assistance. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Catamaran'78 on September 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author knows his stuff, and is one of those often uncommon professors who not only knows his subject 110%, but can present it in a clear, interesting and concise fashion, with numerous diagrams and photographs to illuminate facts. All of the hundreds of illustrations are in B&W, and most are not too large, but they add a lot to the presentation and are carefully selected. No matter how much you have read on the history of life on earth, there will be facts and theories in this book you have not seen before. He covers life from the very beginning, before the Cambrian, and discusses the evolution of both plants and animals, climate zones and how the movement of continents change climate, and the full range of critters: therapsids, diapsids, multituberculates, dicynodonts, etc., along with extinctions, mentioning the possible development of a oxygen depleted Panthalassa ocean (the only ocean at that time as all the continents were fused), a theory of Isozaki (p 99) contributing to the Permian-Triassic mass extinction. I have read many books on evolution and paleontology written at the college level, and this is without a doubt the best overall presentation I have read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lena on September 2, 2013
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If you are taking a Geology class that involves Dinosaurs, Fosils or just The History of life, this is the book for you. It easy to understand and it explains everthing very good. It also helps that it has a lot of tables, pictures and that kind of stuff that helps yo undersntand the concepts better. I highly recomend this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Sitek on February 7, 2013
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This book offers a great timeline of history from the beginning of the planet to modern humans and culture. Obviously, it is nearly impossible to include immense details of every point in the history of the planet, but this book gives a great, general overview of the history of life. Highly recommended for those interested in the history of life on our planet.
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Dr Cowen has fashioned this book from instruction materials for his undergraduate biology classes at the University of California Davis. As such it assume the reader has had at least a basic college-level course in one of the life sciences. Even so there is much...really too much.... to absorb for a first time read, but what I liked about his approach was they way he addresses the biological problems and theories to explain many of the important evolutionary leaps that have occurred over the past almost 4 billion years in which life forms of one type or another have existed. Examples are many but include: origin of "life" from lifeless chemicals and their environments.; origin of eukaryotic cells (those with nucleii, internal membranes and organelles) from their prokaryotic (bacterial) predessors; origin of multicelluar lifeforms... of animals and plants of vertebrates, adaptations to survive on land. etc all the way up to the evolution of humanoids and Homo sapiens. Again, the author treats his readership as budding biologists or at least as individuals who are well-read enough in the biological sciences to pick up the threads of his arguments.

In short, this book has given me much to ponder...and I shall read it again ...and again...and
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