Topics in Geobiology

Early Life on Earth

A Practical Guide

Authors: Wacey, David

  • Details the remarkable number of highly interesting candidate structures in the quest to decode the earliest evidence for life on Earth
  • Covers the Victorian Eozoon controversy, the ongoing stromatolite debate, and the recent Apex microfossil debate
  • Features a large number of geochemical high resolution illustrations, including thin section photomicrographs, field outcrop photographs and scanning electron microscope images as well as detailed descriptions and balanced interpretations of the structures so that the reader can compare and contrast
  • Serves as an ideal reference guide and practical pictorial textbook for students and researchers into early life
see more benefits

Buy this book

eBook $99.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-9389-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-9388-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-94-007-8933-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

When did life first appear on Earth and what form did it take? The answer to this intriguing and fundamentally important question lies somewhere within the early Archean rock record. The young Earth was, however, a very different place to that we know today and numerous pitfalls await our interpretation of these most ancient rocks.

The first half of this practical guide equips the reader with the background knowledge to successfully evaluate new potentially biological finds from the Archean rock record. Successive steps are covered, from locating promising samples in the field, through standard petrography and evaluation of antiquity and biogenicity criteria, to the latest state of the art geochemical techniques. The second half of the guide uniquely brings together all the materials that have been claimed to comprise the earliest fossil record into an easily accessible, fully illustrated format.

This will be a handbook that every Archean geologist, palaeobiologist and astrobiologist will wish to have in their backpack or on their lab-bench.

About the authors

David Wacey is a University Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia in Perth. He graduated with honours from Oxford University in 1998 and then undertook a D.Phil. investigating the geochemistry and microbiology of modern and ancient dolomite formation. It was during this time that he became interested in primitive microbes and how the earliest life on Earth may have arisen and evolved. On completion of his D. Phil he decided to concentrate his research on the earliest rocks found on Earth. After 12 years at Oxford he relocated to Western Australia where he now works on a number of problems relating to the recognition and understanding of the earliest signs of life of Earth. More information can be found here: http://cmca.uwa.edu.au/contact_directory

Reviews

From the reviews:

"Suitable for graduate students and early career researchers, this book provides a useful introduction to the current understanding of life on the early Earth. The excellent images and use of bullet points and tables to encapsulate key information make this book highly readable … providing suggestions for additional reading for those who want (or need) to know more. The text is clear and well-written … . This book is thought-provoking … ." (Alison J. Wright, The Astrobiology Society of Britain, September, 2009)

“Wacey … has chosen a daunting task: to review everything more than three billion years old that anyone has interpreted as a body, trace, or chemical remnant of life on Earth. … At approximately 100 pages, this overview is quite succinct, yet well illustrated and comprehensively referenced. … Pound for pound, this may be the best available summary of evidence of Earth’s earliest life … a good introduction for nonspecialists. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections.” (B. M. Simonson, Choice, Vol. 47 (3), November, 2009)

“Gives the reader a general overview of early-life studies … . The topics are presented in such a way that even a non-scientist would be able to grasp most of the basic concepts. … The topics covered are well-organized and clearly explained, and each section is followed by extensive lists of references for further reading. I would certainly use this book as the basis of an introductory course curriculum at the upper undergraduate or graduate level.” (Dina M. Bower, Geologos, Vol. 16 (3), September, 2010)


Table of contents (23 chapters)

  • Setting the Scene: Milestones in the Search for Early Life on Earth

    Brasier, M. D.

    Pages 1-19

  • What Can We Expect to Find in the Earliest Rock Record?

    Pages 24-33

  • The Difficulties of Decoding Early Life

    Pages 35-45

  • Establishing the Criteria for Early Life on Earth

    Pages 47-53

  • Fulfilling the Criteria for Early Life on Earth

    Pages 55-86

Buy this book

eBook $99.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-9389-0
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4020-9388-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-94-007-8933-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Loading...

Recommended for you

Loading...

Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Early Life on Earth
Book Subtitle
A Practical Guide
Authors
Series Title
Topics in Geobiology
Series Volume
31
Copyright
2009
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
eBook ISBN
978-1-4020-9389-0
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4020-9389-0
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4020-9388-3
Softcover ISBN
978-94-007-8933-3
Series ISSN
0275-0120
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
X, 274
Topics