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Cambridge University Press
Evolutionary Catastrophes: The Science of Mass Extinction / Edition 1

Evolutionary Catastrophes: The Science of Mass Extinction / Edition 1

by Vincent Courtillot, Joe McClinton


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Evolutionary Catastrophes: The Science of Mass Extinction / Edition 1

Why did the dinosaurs and two-thirds of all living species vanish from the face of the Earth sixty-five million years ago? Throughout the history of life a small number of catastrophic events have caused mass extinction, and changed the path of evolution forever. Two main theories have emerged to account for these dramatic events: asteroid impact, and massive volcanic eruptions, both leading to nuclear-like winter. In recent years, the impact hypothesis has gained precedence, but Vincent Courtillot suggests that cataclysmic volcanic activity can be linked not only to the K-T mass extinction, but to most of the main mass extinction events in the history of the Earth. Courtillot's book debunks some of the myths surrounding one of the most controversial arguments in science. This story will fascinate everyone interested in the history of life and death on our planet.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521891189
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 173
Sales rank: 414,698
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.39(d)

About the Author

Vincent Courtillot is Professor of Geophysics at the University of Paris, heads a research group at Institut de Physique du Globe and is special advisor to the French Ministry of National Education, Research and Technology.

Table of Contents

Foreword Claude Allège; Preface; Preface to the English translation; 1. Mass extinctions; 2. An asteroid impact; 3. From the roof of the world to the Deccan traps; 4. The volcanic scenario; 5. Plumes and hotspots; 6. A remarkable correlation; 7. Nemesis or Shiva?; 8. Chicxulub; 9. Controversy and coincidence; 10. Improbable catastrophes and the flukes of evolution; Index.

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