Extinction: Bad Genes Or Bad Luck?

Front Cover
W. W. Norton & Company, 1992 - Science - 210 pages
In the geological record, there are five major mass extinctions--the "Big Five." The most famous happened at the end of the Cretaceous Period, when the dinosaurs and two-thirds of all marine animal species were wiped out, opening the door for the age of mammals and the rise of Homo Sapiens. Using this example as a springboard, David M. Raup leaps into an egaging discussion of the theories, assumptions, and difficulties associated with the science of species extinction. Woven is along the way are stories of the trilobite eye, tropical reefs, flying reptiles, and the fate of the heath hen on Martha's Vineyard, a very modern extinction.

This is the first major book to present a comprehensive overview of the current state of extinction studies. At the end of the journey, Raup has put forward the best science of the day to answer the question posed by the title: Bad genes or bad luck?
 

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EXTINCTION: BAD GENES OR BAD LUCK?

User Review  - Kirkus

A remarkably candid book on what we know and (mostly) what we don't know about evolution and extinction. Raup, a ``statistical'' paleontologist at the Univ. of Chicago, is best known for his popular ... Read full review

Extinction: bad genes or bad luck?

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Scientists have directed a good deal of attention to the topic of extinction in recent years. In this book, Raup, a mathematically oriented paleontologist, discusses the role of extinction in ... Read full review

Contents

COULD ALL EXTINCTIONS BE CAUSED
10
3
42
Gambling Concepts of Randomness
49
Histograms Other Models
58
Mass EXTINCTIONS
64
5
72
SELECTIVITY OF EXTINCTION
88
THE SEARCH FOR CAUSES
107
BIOLOGICAL CAUSES OF EXTINCTION
118
Forests
134
Rocks FALLING OUT OF THE SKY
156
PERSPECTIVES ON EXTINCTION
181
We Choose a Safe Planet?
195
INDEX
201
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

David M. Raup is the Sewell Avery Distinguished Service Professor and a statistical paleontologist at the University of Chicago.

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

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