In the Blink of an Eye: The Cause of the Most Dramatic Event in the History of Life

In the Blink of an Eye: The Cause of the Most Dramatic Event in the History of Life

by Andrew Parker (Author)


A stunning exploration of the cause of the 'Big Bang' of evolution: the development of the eye and the birth of predation. Between 543 and 538 million years ago, something remarkable happened. After hundreds of millions of years of gradual and painstaking evolution, suddenly the process exploded into life. For the first time animals evolved hard external parts. For the first time there was evidence of active predation, with both hunters and hunted rapidly developing both armaments and defences. And in this short space of time -- the blink of an eye, in geological terms -- the number of different classifications of animals, or phyla, mushroomed from three to thirty-eight, the number we still have today. The 'when' and the 'what' of this extraordinary event, known as the 'Cambrian Explosion', have been known for some years and were made famous in Stephen Jay Gould's bestselling book WONDERFUL LIFE. What has until now been speculation is the 'why'. Andrew Parker's astounding explanation, which is becoming increasingly influential and accepted, is fully explored and described in this groundbreaking book. A scientific detective story which encompasses disciplines as diverse as biology, history, geology and art, IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE is destined to become a popular-science classic.


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More Information

Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Edition: First Edition
Publisher: Free Press
Published: 06 May 2003

ISBN 10: 0743219805
ISBN 13: 9780743219808

Media Reviews
Parker's book is sub-titled The Cause of the Most Dramatic Event in the History of Life. The 'event' referred to is the so-called Cambrian Explosion - the point at which 'all the major animal groups evolved hard parts and became distinct shapes'. How and why did this happen? The author is a specialist in the field, and his research has led him to formulate a version of the 'Light Switch' theory in answer to this big question. But he's also a good synthesizer and explainer of all the relevant history, background and theory. The book ranges across - and connects up - a variety of scientific disciplines, theories and fields of research in a highly readable and intriguing fashion
Author Bio
Andrew Parker was born in 1967. After completing his Ph.D. in Marine Biology he worked as a postdoctoral fellow in Australia, Poland and the United States. He is currently a Royal Society Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology at Oxford University. This is his first book.