A (Very) Short History of Life On Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Chapters

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A (Very) Short History of Life On Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Chapters

A (Very) Short History of Life On Earth: 4.6 Billion Years in 12 Chapters

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It does as well as it is possible to do in terms of making somewhat comprehensible the enormous span of that time.

Stromatolites—as we have seen, the first visible signs of life on Earth—were colonies of different kinds of bacteria. But this chapter held some surprises for me: for example, although I was aware there was a bottleneck in human evolution where the entire species nearly died out at least several times, I was surprised to learn that a small group clung to life for tens of thousands of years, confined in an African wetland that was a veritable ‘Garden of Eden’ surrounded by inhospitable deserts.definitely feels rushed at several chapters (especially chapter 3, 4), with a lot of facts that fit well into the bigger picture, but many of those facts are well forgotten. With no protective ozone layer in the upper atmosphere, the Sun’s ultraviolet rays sterilized everything above the surface of the sea or anything less than a few centimeters beneath the surface. I must admit I had never heard of the Lystrosaurus, an animal with ‘the body of a pig, the uncompromising attitude towards food of a golden retriever, and the head of an electric can opener’ – and yet, for millions of years after the End-Permian mass extinction (yes, another one), nine out of every ten animals on Earth was a Lystrosaurus.

Well, for one, it's truly astounding just how many times the earth has nearly wiped out all life in its existence.one of these planets, known as Theia, a planet about the same size as today’s Mars, which, when it struck earth, with a glancing blow and disintegrated, the collision blasted much of the earth’s surface into space, and some of this formed our moon”. The ocean-floor sludge at the fringes of vanished continents might, after hundreds of millions of years, reemerge in volcanic eruptions3 or be transformed into diamonds. In the tradition of Richard Dawkins, Bill Bryson, and Simon Winchester—An entertaining and uniquely informed narration of Life's life story.

This is now the best book available about the huge changes in our planet and its living creatures, over the billions of years of the Earth’s existence. But oxygen is so potent a force that even a trace spelled disaster to life that had evolved in its absence.

We know this not only through our ability to analyse DNA nowadays but from the hollow bones, the way that they breathe and the fact that all dinosaurs laid eggs. However, as we became able to start and manage fire and eat a range of foods and digest for long periods and became a predator, we eventually adapted but remained in a warm climate. For the first time, they ventured away from the sea and colonized freshwater ponds and streams inland.



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