This is the epic story of life on Earth, uniquely retold through some of the most significant fossils ever found. A History of Life in 100 Fossils travels through 3.5 billion years of Earth's history and across all seven continents, showcasing the unusual and wonderful creatures that have played a pivotal role in our evolutionary past. Ancient Australian microbes reveal the very first signs of life on Earth, tiny Triassic snails demonstrate the effects of past mass extinctions, and the remains of our own ancestors tell us where we came from. The history of all living things can be found in the ground. Epic tales of survival and migration, evolution and destruction are hidden in the buried remains of animals and plants that lived long ago.
A History of Life in 100 Fossils brings together remarkable fossil discoveries to illustrate how life on Earth evolved. Palaeontologists Paul D. Taylor and Aaron O'Dea explain the importance of each fossil and tell the engaging stories of the sharp-eyed and sharp-witted people who discovered them. Discover Cambrian worms from China that provide a window on early animal life in the sea, ancient insects encapsulated by amber, the first fossil bird Archaeopteryx and the last ancestor of humankind. The fossils have been selected from the renowned collections of the two premier natural history museums in the world, London's Natural History Museum and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington. Each fossil is beautifully illustrated with photographs to bring this unique story to life.
Paul D. Taylor has worked in the Earth Sciences Department at the Natural History Museum, London for 35 years, heading the Invertebrate and Plants division between 1990 and 2003. His research focuses on fossil and living bryozoans, with subsidiary interests in evolution, palaeoecology and fossil folklore. He is the author of Fossil Invertebrates.
Aaron O'Dea is a palaeobiologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. He uses the fossil record to understand the drivers of evolution and to reconstruct what Caribbean reefs were like before humans. Aaron has a broad passion for exploring, understanding and communicating the history of life in the tropics.