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The Cambrian explosion is the 'big bang' of evolution – a period of less than five million years during which life on Earth rapidly developed both armaments and defences. Animals suddenly became both hunters and the hunted, and the number of animal groups with hard body parts mushroomed from three to 38. But why did the explosion happen when it did? Ground-breaking and accessible, In the Blink of an Eye examines the evidence demonstrating that this was the period when the eye evolved, leading to an evolutionary scramble for survival.
First published to critical acclaim in 2003. For this new edition, geological dates mentioned in the text have been adjusted. The author has, however, not incorporated new discoveries of Cambrian fossils made in the intervening 13 years, although he asserts that many of these discoveries support the thesis laid out in this book.
Andrew Parker completed his Ph.D. in Marine Biology before working as a postdoctoral fellow in Australia, Poland and the United States. He is currently a Royal Society Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology at Oxford University.
"A beautifully produced account [...] [Parker] sets out his arguments meticulously and comprehensibly [...] Exhilarating."
– Sunday Telegraph
"The Cambrian explosion's explanation is the Holy Grail for palaeontologists [...] The outlines of [Parker's] argument are laid out with compelling logic and clarity, and his solution to the Cambrian mystery seems both brilliant and obvious: we must have been blind to miss it."
– Daily Telegraph
"A dazzling array of facts from optics, art history, zoology, geology and palaeontology [...] Parker's remarkable command of different lines of evidence makes a fascinating read [...] This book allows the reader to get right inside contemporary scientific debate, and leaves a vivid impression of science as a work in progress."