- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; Revised ed. edition (October 8, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465072720
- ISBN-13: 978-0465072729
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Symbiotic Planet: A New Look At Evolution Revised ed. Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
From the origin of life to the classification and phylogeny of living organisms, from a discussion of GaiaAthe belief that Earth operates like a living beingAto a discussion of the underlying reasons for sex, iconoclastic biologist Margulis (coauthor, What Is Sex?, etc.) takes on many of the big questions in biology in this small, rambling and informal tract. In a book that is part autobiography and part biological primer, MargulisAthe scientist most responsible for the theory that animal and plant cells originally arose by combining with simple bacteriaAadvances the idea that a large part of organic evolution can be explained by symbiosis, "the living together in physical contact of organisms of different species." Rather than convincing readers of this theory, however, she seems content to lavish most of her attention on basic biological concepts. While Margulis conveys a sense of the wondrous and intricate origins of life, many of the issues she touches upon here are more clearly and comprehensively dealt with in her other works. 11 b&w illustrations.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
For 30 years, the Gaia theory of life on Earth has remained vital, dynamic, and controversial. One of its leading advocates provides a synthesis and overview of the current status of the theory, plus a few important new ideas of her own.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
In the chapter on Individuality by Incorporation, she tries to make the case for the symbiotic process. For example, an archaebacterium merges with a swimming bacterium, which subsequently merges with an oxygen-breathing bacterium, which subsequently engulfs, but fails to digest, a photosynthetic bacterium ultimately evolving into a swimming green algae. It is believed that our mitochondria in our cells and the chloroplasts in plant cells are of bacteriological origin. These processes are part of the theory called Serial Endosymbiosis Theory or SET. Margulis next delves into the problems with taxonomy or the classification of life. She discusses Robert Whittaker's (1924-1980) five-kingdom classification, but then goes on to develop a modified version that she feels more accurately "reflects the evolution of protoctists from symbiotic bacteria, and of animals, plants and fungi from protoctists."
In discussing evolution, the author notes that the bacterial cell is the minimal unit of life, and this is where one must begin. These organisms are like more advanced life; they use energy to take up food, have DNA and RNA and proteins, and use chemical reactions to keep themselves going. It is interesting to note that "no life-form exists outside a self-maintaining, self-reproducing cell." She spends a chapter discussing the possible origins of sex which I found interesting. Moving on to the evolving of life on land, Margulis feels strongly that symbiogenesis is what made habitation on land possible. She concludes the book with a chapter on Gaia, which she defines as the physiologically regulated Earth, or the "system that emerges from ten million or more connected living species that form its incessantly active body."
I found the book fairly readable for the layperson; however, you may have to research some terminology. In one chapter, for example, I came across a few undefined words or expressions, such as photosynthate food, fungal hyphal networks, and chitinase enzymes to name a few. The concept of SET is very interesting, and it appears to be another facet in our quest to understand the process of evolution.
Her theory met with considerable opposition, and Margulis points to her predecessors, both Americans and Russians for similar work, as well as her contemporaries. We also get a snippet about her life and how a series of events led her to her present scientific and personal position. An extension of her theory to a planetary basis is Lovelock's Gaia theory which, in turn, has received considerable opposition and scorn. That, too, was preceded by a Russian scientist named Vernadsky.
The author does not speculate as to where our human form might go, but there is plenty of ground to cover between our origin and today.
Most recent customer reviews
UMASS Amherst professor who died too young . Excellent and informative insight and review