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Perilous Planet Earth
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  • Page extent: 534 pages
  • Size: 247 x 174 mm
  • Weight: 1.05 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 551.3/97
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: QE506 .P35 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Asteroids--Collisions with Earth
    • Catastrophes (Geology)
    • Evolution

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521819282 | ISBN-10: 0521819288)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published July 2003

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$149.00 (P)

Reviewing our present concerns about the threat from natural disasters, such as asteroids and immense volcanic eruptions, within the context of history, this volume is written at a level that interests academics as well as general readers. It explains how catastrophic events have influenced the course of evolution in the distant past, and the rise and fall of civilizations in more recent times. Trevor Palmer argues that a better understanding of the past will allow humanity to take appropriate action to preserve civilization for the future.


Introduction; Part I. Catastrophism: The Story of its Decline and Fall … and Resurrection; Section 1. From Prehistory to 1899: Catastrophism Dominates for Centuries, but Then Gives Way to Gradualism: 1. Mythology, religion and catastrophism; 2. Hutton: fact and fiction about the origins of modern gradualism; 3. Cuvier and Lamarck: choosing between extinction and evolution; 4. Natural theology and Noah's Flood: the high-water mark of catastrophism; 5. Catastrophism, uniformitarianism and idealist philosophy; 6. Lyell triumphant: gradualism dominates geology; 7. Darwin and evolution; 8. After the Origin: the triumph of evolutionary gradualism; Section 2: From 1900 to 1979: Gradualism Reigns Supreme: 9. Neo-Darwinism: the Modern Synthesis; 10. Phyletic gradualism; 11. Gradualist perceptions of human evolution; 12. Heretical catastrophists; 13. Atlantis: rational and irrational theories of a 'lost' civilisation; 14. Evolutionary mass extinctions and neocatastrophism; 15. Punctuated equilibrium: a new evolutionary perspective; 16. Human evolution: gradual or punctuational?; Section 3. From 1980 to the Present Day: Catastrophism Strikes Back: 17. Evolution evolving; 18. Into the new millennium: evolution today; 19. Chaos in the Solar System; 20. Catastrophes on Earth; 21. The death of the dinosaurs: iridium and the K-T extinctions; 22. The continuing K-T debate; 23. Mass extinctions and the course of evolution; Part II. Catastrophes and the History of Life on Earth: 24. Extinctions large and small; 25. Cyclic processes and mass extinctions; 26. The uncertain origins of humankind; 27. Ice ages in the Pleistocene epoch; 28. Modern views of Atlantis; 29. Natural catastrophes and the rise and fall of civilisations; 30. Conclusions; References; Index.

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