This uniquely interdisciplinary textbook explores the exciting and complex relationship between Earth's geological history and the biodiversity of life. Its innovative design provides a seamless learning experience, clarifying major concepts step by step with detailed textual explanations complemented by detailed figures, diagrams and vibrant pictures. Thanks to its layout, the respective concepts can be studied individually, as part of the broader framework of each chapter, or as they relate to the book as a whole. It provides in-depth coverage of: - Earth's formation and subsequent geological history, including patterns of climate change and atmospheric evolution; - The early stages of life, from microbial 'primordial soup' theories to the fossil record's most valuable contributions; - Mechanisms of mutual influence between living organisms and the environment: how life changed Earth's history whilst, at the same time, environmental pressures continue to shape the evolution of species; - Basic ideas in biodiversity studies: species concepts, measurement techniques, and global distribution patterns; - Biological systematics, from their historical origins in Greek philosophy and Biblical stories to Darwinian evolution by natural selection, and to phylogenetics based on cutting-edge molecular techniques. This book's four major sections offer a fresh cross-disciplinary overview of biodiversity and the Earth's history. Among many other concepts, they reveal the massive diversity of eukaryotes, explain the geological processes behind fossilisation, and provide an eye-opening account of the relatively short period of human evolution in the context of Earth's 4.6 billion-year history. Employing a combination of proven didactic tools, the book is simultaneously a reading reference, illustrated guide, and encyclopaedia of organismal biology and geology. It is aimed at school- and university-level students, as well as members of the public fascinated by the intricate interrelationship of living organisms and their environment. von Boenigk, Jens und Wodniok, Sabina und Glücksman, Edvar
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