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Title:Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere
Format Type:Ebook
Author:Peter D. Ward, David W. Ehlert
Publisher:National Academy Press
ISBN:0309100615
ISBN 13:
Number of Pages:282
Category:Science, Evolution, Non fiction, History, Natural history, Palaeontology, Geology, Biology, Historical

Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere by Peter D. Ward, David W. Ehlert

PDF, EPUB, MOBI, TXT, DOC Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere For million years dinosaurs ruled the Earth until a deadly asteroid forced their extinction But what accounts for the incredible longevity of dinosaurs A renowned scientist now provides a startling explanation that is rewriting the history of the Age of Dinosaurs Dinosaurs were pretty amazing creatures real life monsters that have the power to fascinate us And their fiery Hollywood ending only serves to make the story that much more dramatic But fossil evidence demonstrates that dinosaurs survived several mass extinctions and were seemingly unaffected by catastrophes that decimated most other life on Earth What could explain their uncanny ability to endure through the ages Biologist and earth scientist Peter Ward now accounts for the remarkable indestructibility of dinosaurs by connecting their unusual respiration system with their ability to adapt to Earth s changing environment a system that was ultimately bequeathed to their descendants birds By tracing the evolutionary path back through time and carefully connecting the dots from birds to dinosaurs Ward describes the unique form of breathing shared by these two distant relatives and demonstrates how this simple but remarkable characteristic provides the elusive explanation to a question that has thus far stumped scientists Nothing short of revolutionary in its bold presentation of an astonishing theory i Out of Thin Air i is a story of science at the edge of discovery Ward is an outstanding guide to the process of scientific detection Audacious and innovative in his thinking meticulous and thoroughly detailed in his research only a scientist of his caliber is capable of telling this surprising story

Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe

n November Dr John Chambers of the NASA Ames search Center gave a seminar to the Astrobiology Group at the OUniversity of Washington The audience of about listened with rapt attention as Chambers described results from a computer study of how planetary systems form The goal of his research was to answer a dec tively simple question How often would newly forming planetary systems produce Earth like planets given a star the size of our own sun By Ear like Chambers meant a rocky planet with water on its surface orbiting within a star s habitable zone This not too hot and not too cold inner gion relatively close to the star supports the presence of liquid water on a planet surface for hundreds of million of years the time span probably n essary for the evolution of life To answer the question of just how many Earth like planets might be spawned in such a planetary system Chambers had spent thousands of hours running highly sophisticated modeling p grams through arrays of powerful computers x Preface to the Paperback Edition The results presented at the meeting were startling The simulations showed that rocky planets orbiting at the right distances from the central star are easily formed but they can end up with a wide range of water c tent


Gorgon: The Monsters That Ruled the Planet Before Dinosaurs and How They Died in the Greatest Catastrophe in Earth's History

Based on more than a decade s research in South Africa s Karoo Desert this remarkable journey of discovery and real life adventure deep into Earth s history is offered by a renowned scientist Photo insert


Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future

blockquote By looking backward at the course of great extinctions a paleontologist sees what the future holds br br blockquote More than million years ago a cataclysmic event known as the Permian extinction destroyed more than percent of all species and nearly percent of all living things Its origins have long been a puzzle for paleontologists During the s and the early part of this century a great battle was fought between those who thought that death had come from above and those who thought something more complicated was at work br br Paleontologist Peter D Ward fresh from helping prove that an asteroid had killed the dinosaurs turned to the Permian problem and he has come to a stunning conclusion In his investigations of the fates of several groups of mollusks during that extinction and others he discovered that the near total devastation at the end of the Permian period was caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide leading to climate change But it s not the heat nor the humidity that s directly responsible for the extinctions and the story of the discovery of what is responsible makes for a fascinating globe spanning adventure br br In em Under a Green Sky em Ward explains how the Permian extinction as well as four others happened and describes the freakish oceans belching poisonous gas and sky slightly green and always hazy that would have attended them Those ancient upheavals demonstrate that the threat of climate change cannot be ignored lest the world s life today ourselves included face the same dire fate that has overwhelmed our planet several times before


The Life and Death of Planet Earth: How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our World

b They deftly bring together findings from many disparate areas of science in a book that science buffs will find hard to put down b i Publishers Weekly i br br Science has worked hard to piece together the story of the evolution of our world up to this point but only recently have we developed the understanding and the tools to describe the entire life cycle of our planet Peter D Ward and Donald Brownlee a geologist and an astronomer respectively are in the vanguard of the new field of astrobiology Combining their knowledge of how the critical sustaining systems of our planet evolve through time with their understanding of how stars and solar systems grow and change throughout their own life cycles the authors tell the story of the second half of Earth s life In this masterful melding of groundbreaking research and captivating eloquent science writing Ward and Brownlee provide a comprehensive portrait of Earth s life cycle that allows us to understand and appreciate how the planet sustains itself today and offers us a glimpse of our place in the cosmic order br


A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth

Charles Darwin s theories first published more than years ago still set the paradigm of how we understand the evolution of life but scientific advances of recent decades have radically altered that understanding In fact the currently accepted history of life on Earth is flawed and out of date Now two pioneering scientists one already an award winning popular author deliver an eye opening narrative that synthesizes a generation s worth of insights from new research br br Writing with zest humor and clarity Ward and Kirschvink show that many of our long held beliefs about the history of life are wrong Three central themes emerge from the narrative First the development of life was not a stately gradual process Catastrophe argue Ward and Kirschvink shaped life s history more than all other forces combined from notorious events like the sudden extinction of dinosaurs to recently discovered ones like Snowball Earth and the Great Oxygenation Event One startling possibility that life arrived on Earth from Mars Second life consists of carbon but three other molecules have determined how it evolved oxygen carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide are carbon s silent partners Third ever since Darwin we have thought of evolution in terms of i species i Yet it is the evolution of i ecosystems i from deep ocean vents to rainforests that has formed the living world as we know it br br Drawing on their years of experience in paleontology biology chemistry and astrobiology Ward and Kirschvink tell a story of life on Earth that is at once too fabulous to imagine and too familiar to dismiss And in a provocative coda they assemble discoveries from the latest cutting edge research to imagine how the history of life might unfold deep into the future


Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere

For million years dinosaurs ruled the Earth until a deadly asteroid forced their extinction But what accounts for the incredible longevity of dinosaurs A renowned scientist now provides a startling explanation that is rewriting the history of the Age of Dinosaurs Dinosaurs were pretty amazing creatures real life monsters that have the power to fascinate us And their fiery Hollywood ending only serves to make the story that much more dramatic But fossil evidence demonstrates that dinosaurs survived several mass extinctions and were seemingly unaffected by catastrophes that decimated most other life on Earth What could explain their uncanny ability to endure through the ages Biologist and earth scientist Peter Ward now accounts for the remarkable indestructibility of dinosaurs by connecting their unusual respiration system with their ability to adapt to Earth s changing environment a system that was ultimately bequeathed to their descendants birds By tracing the evolutionary path back through time and carefully connecting the dots from birds to dinosaurs Ward describes the unique form of breathing shared by these two distant relatives and demonstrates how this simple but remarkable characteristic provides the elusive explanation to a question that has thus far stumped scientists Nothing short of revolutionary in its bold presentation of an astonishing theory i Out of Thin Air i is a story of science at the edge of discovery Ward is an outstanding guide to the process of scientific detection Audacious and innovative in his thinking meticulous and thoroughly detailed in his research only a scientist of his caliber is capable of telling this surprising story


The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps

Sea level rise will happen no matter what we do Even if we stopped all carbon dioxide emissions today the seas would rise one meter by and three meters by This not drought species extinction or excessive heat waves will be the most catastrophic effect of global warming And it won t simply redraw our coastlines agriculture electrical and fiber optic systems and shipping will be changed forever And as icebound regions melt new sources of oil gas minerals and arable land will be revealed as will fierce geopolitical battles over who owns the rights to them br br In i The Flooded Earth i species extinction expert Peter Ward describes in intricate detail what our world will look like in and beyond In a blueprint for a foreseeable future Ward also explains what politicians and policymakers around the world should be doing now to head off the worst consequences of an inevitable transformation


The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive?

br In The Medea Hypothesis renowned paleontologist Peter Ward proposes a revolutionary and provocative vision of life s relationship with the Earth s biosphere one that has frightening implications for our future yet also offers hope Using the latest discoveries from the geological record he argues that life might be its own worst enemy This stands in stark contrast to James Lovelock s Gaia hypothesis the idea that life sustains habitable conditions on Earth In answer to Gaia which draws on the idea of the good mother who nurtures life Ward invokes Medea the mythical mother who killed her own children Could life by its very nature threaten its own existence br According to the Medea hypothesis it does Ward demonstrates that all but one of the mass extinctions that have struck Earth were caused by life itself He looks at our planet s history in a new way revealing an Earth that is witnessing an alarming decline of diversity and biomass a decline brought on by life s own biocidal tendencies And the Medea hypothesis applies not just to our planet its dire prognosis extends to all potential life in the universe Yet life on Earth doesn t have to be lethal Ward shows why but warns that our time is running out br Breathtaking in scope The Medea Hypothesis is certain to arouse fierce debate and radically transform our worldview It serves as an urgent challenge to all of us to think in new ways if we hope to save ourselves from ourselves br


Life as We Do Not Know It: The NASA Search for (and Synthesis of) Alien Life

No description available


Future Evolution

br div Everyone wonders what tomorrow holds but what will the real future look like Not decades or even hundreds of years from now but thousands or millions of years into the future Will our species change radically Or will we become builders of the next dominant intelligence on Earth the machine br br These and other seemingly fantastic scenarios are the very possible realities explored in Peter Ward s Future Evolution a penetrating look at what might come next in the history of the planet Looking to the past for clues about the future Ward describes how the main catalyst for evolutionary change has historically been mass extinction While many scientist direly predict that humanity will eventually create such a situation Ward argues that one is already well underway the extinction of large mammals and that a new Age of Humanity is coming that will radically revise the diversity of life on Earth Finally Ward examines the question of human extinction and reaches the startling conclusion that the likeliest scenario is not our imminent demise but long term survival perhaps reaching as far as the death of the Sun br br Full of Alexis Rockman s breathtaking color images of what animals plants and other organisms might look like thousands and millions of years from now Future Evolution takes readers on an incredible journey through time from the deep past into the far future br div br


Life as We Do Not Know It: The NASA Search for (and Synthesis of) Alien Life, Future Evolution, Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere, The Life and Death of Planet Earth: How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our World, A New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, Gorgon: The Monsters That Ruled the Planet Before Dinosaurs and How They Died in the Greatest Catastrophe in Earth's History, Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What They Can Tell Us About Our Future, The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive?, The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps