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A New History of Life

The Radical New Discoveries About the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth
Narrated by: Tom Parks
Length: 14 hrs and 1 min
Categories: Non-fiction, Biology
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

Charles Darwin's theories, first published more than 150 years ago, form the backbone of how we understand the history of the Earth. In reality, the currently accepted history of life on Earth is so flawed, so out of date, that it's past time we need a "New History of Life".

In their latest audiobook, Joe Kirschvink and Peter Ward will show that many of our most cherished beliefs about the evolution of life are wrong. Gathering and analyzing years of discoveries and research not yet widely known to the public, A New History of Life proposes a different origin of species than the one Darwin proposed, one which includes eight-foot-long centipedes, a frozen snowball Earth, and the seeds for life originating on Mars.

Drawing on their years of experience in paleontology, biology, chemistry, and astrobiology, experts Ward and Kirschvink paint a picture of the origins life on Earth that are at once too fabulous to imagine and too familiar to dismiss - and looking forward, A New History of Life brilliantly assembles insights from some of the latest scientific research to understand how life on Earth can and might evolve far into the future.

©2015 Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

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  • Polaris
  • 28-07-2018

Excellent and genuinely radical

I rarely write reviews here but it's worth saying something positive to balance the silly comments posted by Robinson. I assume that these won't distract anyone with any real interest in science but it is worth lifting the average star rating and saying why the book actually deserves five stars.

"A New History of Life" is just that, a history of life from the very beginnnings to the present - and indeed looking ahead into the far future. The authors spend a long time on the early history of life - how it might have originated and how single celled life developed. The Cambrian explosion comes some way into the book.

What Ward and Kirschvink try to do is to explain this history, as far as that is possible. It's clear that much of this understanding is very recent - and must be going out of date even now. So, this is a revelation for anyone whose understanding of the subject was based in the 20th century. This explanation depends on changes in the balance of various substances in the atmosphere and sea, especially oxygen, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide. These changes were driven partly by geological processes and partly by life itself. They led to mass extinctions and several "snowball earth" episodes. The key thing I learned was how much conditions on earth have varied over time.

It's not easy going but it is a compelling story. There are a few minor irritations - a couple of technical terms not explained and a flip-flop between metric measures and feet and inches (even temperatures in Fahrenheit, which may flummox non-Americans). Nonetheless, excellent overall, and read in a manner that is clear, easy to follow and interesting for the listener.

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  • Robinson
  • 07-09-2015

Awful.

What was most disappointing about Peter Ward and Joe Kirschvink ’s story?

I purchased this audiobook expecting an interesting survey of Life and its origins. Instead what I appear to have bought is a book by two Global Warming Hysterics.

I do not recommend this book if you're interested in biology. It should be safely hidden away in the Activist Scientist section where it won't mislead anyone about its content.

0 of 5 people found this review helpful