Evolution and Escalation

Evolution and Escalation

An Ecological History of Life

Geerat J. Vermeij


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Here is one biologist's interpretation of the chronology of life during the last six hundred million years of earth history: an extended essay that draws on the author's own data and a wide-ranging literature survey to discuss the nature and dynamics of evolutionary change in organisms and their biological surroundings. Geerat Vermeij demonstrates that escalation--the process by which species adapt to, or are limited by, their enemies as the latter increase in ability to acquire and retain resources--has been a dominant theme in the history of life despite frequent episodes of extinction.


Geerat J. Vermeij:
Geerat J. Vermeij, Professor of Geology at the University of California, Davis, is the author of Biogeography and Adaptation: Patterns of Marine Life (Harvard). Vermeij received a 1992 MacArthur Fellowship. See page 24 for a description of his forthcoming book, A Natural History of Shells.