Symbiotic Planet by Lynn Margulis
A New Look At Evolution

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Synopsis

Although Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution laid the foundations of modern biology, it did not tell the whole story. Most remarkably, The Origin of Species said very little about, of all things, the origins of species. Darwin and his modern successors have shown very convincingly how inherited variations are naturally selected, but they leave unanswered how variant organisms come to be in the first place.In Symbiotic Planet, renowned scientist Lynn Margulis shows that symbiosis, which simply means members of different species living in physical contact with each other, is crucial to the origins of evolutionary novelty. Ranging from bacteria, the smallest kinds of life, to the largest—the living Earth itself—Margulis explains the symbiotic origins of many of evolution’s most important innovations. The very cells we’re made of started as symbiotic unions of different kinds of bacteria. Sex—and its inevitable corollary, death—arose when failed attempts at cannibalism resulted in seasonally repeated mergers of some of our tiniest ancestors. Dry land became forested only after symbioses of algae and fungi evolved into plants. Since all living things are bathed by the same waters and atmosphere, all the inhabitants of Earth belong to a symbiotic union. Gaia, the finely tuned largest ecosystem of the Earth’s surface, is just symbiosis as seen from space. Along the way, Margulis describes her initiation into the world of science and the early steps in the present revolution in evolutionary biology; the importance of species classification for how we think about the living world; and the way “academic apartheid” can block scientific advancement. Written with enthusiasm and authority, this is a book that could change the way you view our living Earth.
 

About Lynn Margulis

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Eric D. Schneider served as senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and director of the National Marine Water Quality Laboratory of the Environmental Protection Agency. His work on thermodynamics--a topic he has pursued for more than twenty years--has been widely anthologized and cited. Dorion Sagan is coauthor of "Acquiring Genomes" and "Up from Dragons," Called an "unmissable modern master" of science writing by "New Scientist," Sagan has written for the "New York Times," "Natural History," and "Wired," among other publications.
 
Published August 5, 2008 by Basic Books. 164 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Let's hear it for the bugs— not your creepy-crawlies, but bacteria, the be-all (and possible end-all) of life on Earth, according to Margulis.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Symbiotic Planet: A New Look ...

Publishers Weekly

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From the origin of life to the classification and phylogeny of living organisms, from a discussion of Gaia--the belief that Earth operates like a living being--to a discussion of the underlying reason

Sep 28 1998 | Read Full Review of Symbiotic Planet: A New Look ...

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