In this Book

summary

How is it that we came to be here? The search for answers to that question has preoccupied humans for millennia. Scientists have sought clues in the genes of living things, in the physical environments of Earth from mountaintops to the depths of the ocean, in the chemistry of this world and those nearby, in the tiniest particles of matter, and in the deepest reaches of space. In Islands of the Cosmos, Dale A. Russell traces a path from the dawn of the universe to speculations about our future on this planet. He centers his story on the physical and biological processes in evolution, which interact to favor more successful, and eliminate less successful, forms of life. Marvelously, these processes reveal latent possibilities in life's basic structure, and propel a major evolutionary theme: the increasing proficiency of biological function. It remains to be seen whether the human form can survive the dynamic processes that brought it into existence. Yet the emergence of the ability to acquire knowledge from experience, to optimize behavior, to conceptualize, to distinguish "good" from "bad" behavior all hint at an evolutionary outcome that science is only beginning to understand.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. i-vi
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Foreword
  2. pp. ix-xiv
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xv-xviii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xix-xxiii
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  1. 1. TIME TRAVEL
  2. pp. 1-26
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  1. 2. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL PRE-HADEAN
  2. pp. 27-34
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  1. 3. THE HADEAN EON
  2. pp. 35-46
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  1. 4. THE ARCHEAN EON
  2. pp. 47-58
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  1. 5. THE PROTEROZOIC EON
  2. pp. 59-74
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  1. 6. PHANEROZOIC MARINE LIFE
  2. pp. 75-86
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  1. 7. ORIGIN OF COMPLEX TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS
  2. pp. 87-104
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  1. 8. TOWARD THE COAL AGE
  2. pp. 105-126
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  1. 9. ASCENDANCY OF LIFE ON LAND
  2. pp. 127-142
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  1. 10. BRIDGING THE ERAS
  2. pp. 143-158
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  1. 11. THE NATURAL HISTORY OF NATURAL SELECTION
  2. pp. 159-166
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  1. 12. AN AGE OF GIANTS
  2. pp. 167-190
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  1. 13. ONE EARTH, TWO WORLDS
  2. pp. 191-256
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  1. 14. THE MODERN EARTH
  2. pp. 257-316
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  1. 15. SYNTHESIS
  2. pp. 317-357
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  1. EPILOGUE: THE WAY OF LIFE
  2. pp. 358-363
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  1. References
  2. pp. 364-443
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 444-457
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253023919
Related ISBN
9780253352736
MARC Record
OCLC
966803045
Pages
480
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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