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Written by award-winning author Donald R. Prothero, The Evolving Earth provides a lively, engaging tour through 4.5 billion years of earth and life evolution. Completely up-to-date, the book focuses on the evidence for "How do we know what we know?" – explaining how geologists and paleontologists developed our knowledge about the ancient past – rather than focusing on memorization.
While covering the conventional topics of earth history, The Evolving Earth also offers an in-depth discussion of the Big Bang theory and the origin of the universe and solar system; an entire chapter on human evolution; and coverage of topics like climate change, the Anthropocene, and possible future scenarios for the earth. Prothero explains topics in terms of the "human interest" stories of the people who made these discoveries, and how they came to understand key evidence about earth and life history. Featuring unique paleogeographic maps of particular time intervals, integrated with photographs of the actual outcrops on which the map reconstruction is based, The Evolving Earth also includes a full appendix – suitable for use in labs on fossils – providing background to the major groups of fossils.
Donald R. Prothero teaches in the Department of Geological Sciences at California State Polytechnic University Pomona, and is a Research Associate in Vertebrate Paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. In 2013, he received the James T. Shea Award from the National Association of Geology Teachers for outstanding writing in the geological sciences.
"What stands out with The Evolving Earth is the ease in which it is written. Pictures, summaries, and review questions are crucial in making this text stand out from the others. The chapters are written well and are easy to understand. Prothero's writing style is a plus."
– Christopher Knubley, University of Arkansas, Fort Smith
"The Evolving Earth is enjoyable, inspiring, and lightly written. It brings up novel ways to look at various subjects and should not overburden students who indeed want to learn. The writing is excellent, vibrant, and interesting (much superior to other textbooks that use more conventional style.) The chapters are refreshingly current and the quality of the science is very good. The conversational tone and the use of humor are great (it's one of the things I like most about Prothero's writing.) Compared to the text I already use, The Evolving Earth works much better at communicating concepts like evolution to my students. I certainly like the concepts of the development of life, and how Prothero explains all possible mechanisms for hosting those complex reactions.
– Jonathan Sumrall, Sam Houston State University