Download A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries about the by Peter D. Ward, Joe Kirschvink PDF

By Peter D. Ward, Joe Kirschvink

Charles Darwin's theories, first released greater than one hundred fifty years in the past, shape the spine of ways we comprehend the historical past of the Earth. in truth, the at present authorized heritage of lifestyles in the world is so incorrect, so old-fashioned, that it's earlier time we want a 'New historical past of Life.'

In their most recent booklet, Joe Kirschvink and Peter Ward will express that a lot of our such a lot adored ideals concerning the evolution of lifestyles are flawed. collecting and reading years of discoveries and learn now not but well known to the general public, a brand new historical past of existence proposes a distinct foundation of species than the single Darwin proposed, one that contains eight-foot-long centipedes, a frozen "snowball Earth," and the seeds for all times originating on Mars.

Drawing on their years of expertise in paleontology, biology, chemistry, and astrobiology, specialists Ward and Kirschvink paint an image of the origins lifestyles in the world which are straight away too superb to visualize and too well-known to dismiss—and having a look ahead, a brand new heritage of lifestyles brilliantly assembles insights from a few of the most up-to-date clinical study to appreciate how existence on the earth can and may evolve some distance into the long run.

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Additional info for A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth

Example text

A supposed adaptation that fails to augment fitness in 1991 may do so in 1992, or in another part of the forest. A gene pool is an imperfect record of a running average of selection pressures over a long period of time in an area often much larger than individual dispersal distances. It would be rash to assume that any brief and local biological study can yield reliable data on long-term directions and intensities of natural selection. Good examples of the variability of selection over a number of years are provided by Gibbs and Grant (1987) and by Pease and Bull (1990).

All heterozygosity is retained in asexual lineages, and it can be expected to increase from occasional mutation. Here also, selection in the codical domain must be entirely at the level of the genotype rather than the gene, and this genotypic selection can be modeled realistically by a dendrogram (Fig. 1C). The situation is more complicated and interesting if, as is common in most plant and many animal groups, reproduction is usually asexual but occasionally outcrossed sexual. Ultimately some quantification of usually and occasionally must be achieved for rigorous understanding, but for most examples the answer to the important question is clear.

Van Valen showed clade selection against mammals of large size but perhaps not selection against large size. When large species go extinct and small ones persist, there is no assurance that size itself caused the difference. Size would be an indirect cause if, for instance, selection was actually against small populations. Large body size would often result in a small population, vulnerable to chance extinction by numerical fluctuation (Pimm et al. 1988). Similarly in the study by Mitter et al.

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