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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Life on this planet has continued in much the same way for millennia, adapting to literally every conceivable setback that living organisms could encounter and thriving, from these humblest beginnings to the thrilling and unlikely story of ourselves. Each eon contains a number of 'eras' of 100-200 million years each, of which the most recent (and current) is the Cenozoic Era. 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. The membranes made a virtue of their leakiness, using holes as gateways for energy and nutrients and as exit points for wastes.

The book was over before I knew it, but I can still say I learned way more than I knew before; in a very easy to understand way. And I'm a little doubtful of the assertion 'Within the next few thousand years Homo sapiens will have vanished.These wetlands eventually dried out to become the Makgadikgadi Pan, which is one of the world’s largest salt pans, located in the middle of the dry savanna of northeastern Botswana. At the highest level of the temporal hierarchy are the 'eons' (I think this would be 'aeons' to the classicists). From a geological perspective, humanity is but a blip on the map, and may not even make as meaningful an impact on the Earth as much smaller, and more simple forms of life. Speculating on the future of life on Earth, Dr Gee proposes an interesting idea for how all life may eventually go extinct on this planet.

This is one of the delights of the chapter that peers in to the future - although all our focus at the moment is on keeping carbon dioxide levels down (and that is essential for now), long term it is likely to be reducing carbon dioxide rates that does for much of life on Earth.However, I was listening to the book, and not reading it, and this is where the experience really fell short for me. They could have been some form of colonial bacteria, but we cannot discount the possibility that there once lived entire categories of living organisms—bacterial, eukaryote, or something entirely other—that died out without leaving any descendants and that we should therefore find hard to comprehend. Ich finde, man merkt dem Autor die Leidenschaft des Themas an und für alle, die sich allgemein für die Weltgeschichte interessieren, ist das Buch sicherlich lesenswert. The core is kept hot by gravity and the decay of heavy radioactive elements such as uranium, forged in the final moments of the ancient supernova. Die Karriere aller Lebewesen ende mit dem Aussterben, zitiert Gee in seinem Nachwort den britischen Politiker Enoch Powell.

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