470 pages, Illus
Fully documents how traditional gradualistic views of biological and geographic evolution are giving way to a catastrophism that credits cataclysmic events such as meteorite impacts, for the rapid bursts and abrupt transitions observed in the fossil record. According to catastrophists, new species do not evolve gradually; they proliferate following sudden mass extinctions. Placing this major change of perspective within the context of a range of ancient debates, Palmer discusses such topics as the history of the solar system, present-day extraterrestrial threats to earth, hominid evolution, and the fossil record.
From the reviews: "Trevor Palmer ! provides in this volume a chronicle of the emergence of catastrophe evidence and thought. He explores planetary science, paleontology, geology, and evolution, with emphasis on human evolution from about 1970 to 1999, but with substantial expeditions into the history of astronomy and evolutionary theory ! . it is ! a major contribution to understanding the growth of the present position. ! Palmer thoroughly documents the K-T extinction dispute." (Hiram Caton, Reports of the National Center for Science Education, Vol. 25 (3-4), 2005)
The Context of Evolution: The Earth and Its Surroundings. The Establishment of Gradualism. Gradualism under Challenge. Nemesis for Evolutionary Gradualism? The Eratic Descent of Man. Towards a New Evolutionary Synthesis. Index.
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