Stuart Sutherland, The Great Courses – A New History of Life


The story of our world and the different living things that have populated it is an amazing epic with millions of species, exotic settings, planet-wide cataclysms, and surprising plot twists.

These 36 lectures tell the all-embracing story of life on Earth – its origins, extinctions, and evolutions – in a manner that assumes no background in science. At half an hour per lecture, youll cover the entire 4.54-billion-year history of Earth in 18 hours, averaging 70,000 years per second!

Professor Sutherland notes that if the story of Earth is compared to the height of the Washington Monument, then all of human history is the thickness of a sheet of paper balanced at the top. He devotes most of these lectures to the incredible happenings beneath that piece of paper, including stirring episodes such as Earths snowball phase, which should have been permanent according to some theories; the Cambrian explosion, after which lifes complexity soared in an explosion of genetic diversification; and the age of giant insects, where dragonflies had 30-inch wingspans and cockroaches reached 20 inches in length. By the time you reach the origin of humans in Lecture 35, youll appreciate our species in the widest possible context. Why does the Earth have continents? What causes periodic mass extinctions? How did animals move from water to land? What are the oldest fossils? Experience the thrill of scientists searching for answers to questions such as these.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

Author: Stuart Sutherland, The Great Courses
Narrator: Stuart Sutherland
Duration: 17 hours 46 minutes
Released: 19 Apr 2003
Publisher: The Great Courses
Language: English

User Review:

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This is the best treatment of the topic Ive seen. The author doesnt over-focus on any one group or hypothesis. He does make a compelling story of the biospheres history. Well done! The only negative for me was the time sequence skipped about a bit more than Id prefer.