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This is about as good as it gets, in terms of appealing to your inner five-year-old child that LOVED dinosaurs, while still making the logical, rational adult side of you happy.
Brannen tackles the 5 major extinctions that the Earth has experienced with the flare of a Vonnegut, while maintaining the scientific details of a Dawkins. This is a monumentally hard task, but he does it deftly. His research, descriptions, and attention to detail of the plants and animals interspersed between these cataclysms was remarkable.
After listening to more than a few dry, boring, repetitive science books, this was one I embraced like the warm sun after a cold winter's night.
The narrator was spot on as well.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
I loved this book. At times it is very grim, but the ability of life on Earth to regenerate itself after total or partial annihilation is very uplifting. You realize that the timescales of geology and evolution are on the order of tens to hundreds of thousands of human generations. When an extinction event occurs (and it can be very sudden such as the asteroid impact at the end of the Cretaceous period) there is no hope for any exposed species.
The author sets the current 6th extinction into context, making it clear that it is small compared to the earlier extinctions in terms of biodiversity lost. Also, the level of carbon dioxide in past eras fluctuated widely along with Earth's temperature. As did sea levels and arctic ice conditions.
I had two takeaways from this book. First, humanity needs to either develop the ability to control CO2 levels in the atmosphere, or develop a resiliency towards future climate changes.
Second, for humanity to truly survive mass extinction events, we must develop the ability to colonize other planets. However, that is firmly in the realm of science fiction and will be for a long time to come, if it will ever happen.
Hopefully we will be able to come together and develop technologies that allow us to manage our climate, in time to keep the CO2 level in the atmosphere not much higher than today.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful