Table of Contents

Introduction.
Special chemistry: Pre- and Early Archaean: 4550-3500 Mya.
A quick start: Middle and Late Archaean: 3500-2500 Mya.
Cells with nuclei: Proterozic: 2500-600 Mya.
Jellyfish, polyps and worms: Late Proterozoic: 700-545 Mya.
Claws, rasps and shells: Cambrian-Ordovician: 545-438 Mya.
Sand, mud and shallow seas: Silurian-Devonian: 438-362 Mya.
The giant continent forms: Carboniferous-Permian: 362-248 Mya.
A sparse start: Triassic: 248-206 Mya.
The world of the dinosaurs: Jurassic-Cretaceous: 206-65 Mya.
Today's world dawns: Tertiary-Quaternary: 65 Mya-Today.
The evolution of the able ape: 20 Mya-30,000 years ago.
Humans: the great modifiers: 40,000 years ago, today and tomorrow. How did life begin? What was 'snowball earth'? Why did the dinosaurs become extinct? Are we all descended from 'African Eve'? Will humans be responsible for the next major extinction? These and many other fundamental questions are addressed in this masterly account of The Story of Life, by eminent biologist and teacher Richard Southwood.The story unfolds with the formation of the earth around four thousand million years ago. Life first emerged a hundred million years later, and it took another fifteen million years for more complex life-forms to appear. Periods of relative calm were punctuated