Evolution and Escalation: An Ecological History of Life

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9780691084466: Evolution and Escalation: An Ecological History of Life
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Here is one biologist's interpretation of the chronology of life during the last six hundred million years of earth history: an extended essay that draws on the author's own data and a wide-ranging literature survey to discuss the nature and dynamics of evolutionary change in organisms and their biological surroundings. Geerat Vermeij demonstrates that escalation--the process by which species adapt to, or are limited by, their enemies as the latter increase in ability to acquire and retain resources--has been a dominant theme in the history of life despite frequent episodes of extinction.

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This book is written for those who, like me, are fascinated with evolution, but I hope it will also be read by historians of human affairs. There are some obvious parallels between the history of life and the cultural history of man--the episodic pace of change the effects of crises, and the role of population growth, for example--and the fossil record teaches some sobering lessons about the futility of the seemingly unstoppable arms race between nations.

About the Author:

Geerat J. Vermeij, Professor of Geology at the University of California, Davis, is the author of Biogeography and Adaptation: Patterns of Marine Life (Harvard). Vermeij received a 1992 MacArthur Fellowship. See page 24 for a description of his forthcoming book, A Natural History of Shells.

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9780691000800: Evolution and Escalation

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ISBN 10:  0691000808 ISBN 13:  9780691000800
Publisher: Princeton University Press, 1993
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