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Evolutionary Catastrophes

Evolutionary Catastrophes
The Science of Mass Extinction

$39.99 (G)

Claude Allège
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  • Date Published: March 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521891189

$39.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • Why did the dinosaurs and two-thirds of all living species vanish from the face of the Earth sixty-five million years ago? Throughout the history of life a small number of catastrophic events have caused mass extinction, and changed the path of evolution forever. Two main theories have emerged to account for these dramatic events: asteroid impact, and massive volcanic eruptions, both leading to nuclear-like winter. In recent years, the impact hypothesis has gained precedence, but Vincent Courtillot suggests that cataclysmic volcanic activity can be linked not only to the K-T mass extinction, but to most of the main mass extinction events in the history of the Earth. Courtillot's book debunks some of the myths surrounding one of the most controversial arguments in science. This story will fascinate everyone interested in the history of life and death on our planet.

    • Topic at the forefront of the public's imagination: natural disaster, mass extinction, dinosaurs, asteroid impact, volcanic eruption, evolution and life on earth
    • Very readable indeed: difficult to put down
    • Well known author at the centre of the debate on mass extinction
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Revolutionary Catastrophes tips its hat to other viewpoints, and so builds a more compelling argument...from almost the beginning of the debate, Courtillot has played a central role...his overall open-mindedness stands out." The Sciences

    "Courtillot gives a well-argued taste of the debate for the general reader." Nature

    "The style of Evolutionary Catastrophes is lively and engaging and the figures are simple, clear, and intellectually stimulating.... [This book] provides a refreshingly balanced consideration of contributions from international scholars, and also highlights some of the early and less well-known contributions to the impact and volcanic theories of the K/T crisis. Evolutionary Catastrophes is written at an easily accessible scientific level; it is appropriate for students and non-scientists; but its thorough, concise coverage of vital research topics will be of considerable value to specialists.... [This book] celebrates scientific research into geodynamics, meteorite impacts, and mass extinctions; research that is as important to understanding the history of our planet as it is to the extinction rates of the present." Willis Hames, Auburn University

    "Excellent...A well written and well-reasoned book, essential for any library." Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2002
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521891189
    • length: 188 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.26kg
    • contains: 21 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Foreword Claude Allège
    Preface to the English translation
    1. Mass extinctions
    2. An asteroid impact
    3. From the roof of the world to the Deccan traps
    4. The volcanic scenario
    5. Plumes and hotspots
    6. A remarkable correlation
    7. Nemesis or Shiva?
    8. Chicxulub
    9. Controversy and coincidence
    10. Improbable catastrophes and the flukes of evolution

  • Author

    Vincent Courtillot
    Vincent Courtillot is Professor of Geophysics at the University of Paris, heads a research group at Institut de Physique du Globe and is special advisor to the French Ministry of National Education, Research and Technology.


    Joe McClinton


    Claude Allège

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