cover image Life Pulse: Episodes from the Story of the Fossil Record

Life Pulse: Episodes from the Story of the Fossil Record

Niles Eldredge / Author Facts on File $24.5 (246p) ISBN 978-0-

This biological approach to paleontology examines the history of entire ecosystems as well as evolutionary change. Eldredge, of the American Museum of Natural History and author of Time Frames, leads us on a vast journey through time and space. One of his major themes is extinction, and the author reminds us that it opens the ecological space for new events in evolutionary history. The Darwinian picture of evolution as a slow, gradual process is incorrect, he argues; rather, evolution occurs in great spurts after mass extinctions. On the most famous extinction of allthat of dinosaursEldredge believes it was well under way before the ""catastrophe,'' for which theories abound (he disagrees with the popular speculation that an asteroid struck Earth). Because much of the fossil record relies on marine invertebrates, it is essential that readers of this study have knowledge of their biology. This is Earth history on a grand scale; those who enjoy the works of Stephen Jay Gould will appreciate Life Pulse. Illustrated. (January 15)