Cowen's History of Life

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2019-10-07
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


A newly revised and fully updated edition of the market-leading introduction to paleontology

Designed for students and anyone else with an interest in the history of life on our planet, the new edition of this classic text describes the biological evolution of Earth’s organisms, and reconstructs their adaptations and the ecology and environments in which they functioned.

Cowen's History of Life, 6th Edition includes major updates, including substantial rewrites to chapters on the origins of eukaryotes, the Cambrian explosion, the terrestrialization of plants and animals, the Triassic recovery of life, the origin of birds, the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, and human evolution. It also features new chapters on plants, soils and transformation of the land; the Mesozoic marine revolution; and the evolution of oceans and climates. Beginning with the origin of the Earth and the earliest life on earth, the book goes on to offer insightful contributions covering: the evolution of Metazoans; the early vertebrates; life of vertebrates on land; and early amniotes and thermoregulation. The book also looks at: dinosaur diversity, as well as their demise; early mammals; the rise of modern mammals; the Neogene Savannas; primates; life in the ice ages; and more.

  • Covers the breadth of the subject in a concise yet specific way for undergrads with no academic background in the topic
  • Reorganizes all chapters to reflect the geological series of events, enabling a new focus on big events
  • Updated with three brand new chapters and numerous revised ones
  • Put together by a new editorial team internationally recognized as the global leaders in paleontology
  • Filled with illustrations and photographs throughout
  • Includes diagrams to show internal structures of organisms, cladograms, time scales and events, and paleogeographic maps
  • Supplemented with a dedicated website that explores additional enriching information and discussion, and which features images for use in visual presentations

Cowen's History of Life, 6th Edition is an ideal book for undergraduate students taking courses in introductory paleontology, as well those on global change and earth systems.

Author Biography

MICHAEL J. BENTON, PHD, is senior member of the Paleobiology Research Group at the University of Bristol, and is the author of two successful Wiley titles, Vertebrate Palaeontology and Introduction to Paleobiology.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

About the Companion Website xi

1 The Origin of Life on Earth 1

2 The Earliest Life on Earth 17

3 The Origin of Eukaryotes 33

4 The Evolution of Metazoans 45

5 The Cambrian Explosion 59

6 Changing Life in a Changing World 71

7 The Early Vertebrates 93

8 Leaving the Water 109

9 Early Tetrapods and Amniote Origins 123

10 Early Amniotes and Thermoregulation 137

11 The Mesozoic Marine Revolution 151

12 The Triassic Takeover 169

13 Dinosaurs 181

14 Birds and the Evolution of Flight 203

15 The Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution 219

16 The End of the Dinosaurs 233

17 Changing Oceans and Climates 245

18 The Origin of Mammals 263

19 Cenozoic Mammals 277

20 Geography and Evolution 297

21 Primates 313

22 Evolving Toward Humans 325

23 Life in the Ice Age 343

Glossary 361

Index 369

Rewards Program

Reviews for Cowen's History of Life (9781119482215)