Douglas Erwin


“The explosion of animal diversity in the Cambrian is one of the most important and compelling mysteries in the history of life, so great, in fact, that it has been the subject of a recent explosion of knowledge across a broad spectrum of disciplines. Erwin and Valentine have provided a much needed, authoritative account of what we know, and just as importantly, what we don't yet know about the geology, ecology, and biology of the "Big Bang" of animal evolution. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of life, and will provoke many new research projects.”—Sean B. Carroll is Vice President for Science Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin.

“The Cambrian Explosion is magnificent. Recent relevant genetic and ecological information is judiciously integrated with up-to-date and profoundly analyzed geological and paleontological knowledge. Well-written and beautifully illustrated, The Cambrian Explosion is a jewel that will surely remain for years to come the gold standard in the field.” —Francisco J. Ayala is University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine.

“A masterly exploration of one of the greatest evolutionary transitions in the history of life. The multidimensional approach taken here is the only way to understand the Cambrian Explosion—as a combined ecological, evolutionary, and developmental event, with complex feedbacks and deep roots. Engagingly written, but not stinting on the key details, this beautifully illustrated book belongs on the shelf of every evolutionary biologist and paleobiologist.” —David Jablonski is William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago.

“The Cambrian explosion of life established the beginnings of animal diversity as we know it. Here two leading authorities not only explore the nature of the explosion—with marvelous new illustrations of the forms that evolved—but also the drivers (the interplay of evolution, environment and ecology) and how the evidence of Cambrian fossils informs our understanding of the subsequent evolution of biodiversity on our planet. This book will appeal to both the general reader and the student of the history of life.” —Derek E.G. Briggs is Director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and G. Evelyn Hutchinson Professor of Geology and Geophysics at Yale University.

“The Cambrian Explosion vividly describes the biologic and geologic processes surrounding the rapid diversification of animal life on Earth. With a deep appreciation of the essential roles of environment and ecology in shaping biodiversity, the latest paleontologic and geologic insights are integrated with knowledge gleaned from modern animal genomes. The prose is appealing, the story compelling, the illustrations spectacular and the referencing extensive. This book will serve as an important port of call for all students of paleobiology.” —Roger Summons is Professor of Geobiology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“This fabulous book has it all. Beautifully illustrated and accessible, it is a masterful synthesis that embraces the full richness of the paleontological and geological literature on one hand, and the biological literature on the other, including genomic, developmental, ecological, phylogenetic, and anatomical data, in refreshing and insightful analysis of one of the great events in the history of life and its implications for understanding large scale evolutionary processes.” —Charles Marshall is the Director of the Museum of Paleontology and Professor of Biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The Cambrian Explosion tackles the most transformative interval in Earth and evolutionary history – the surprisingly sudden and belated expropriation of the planet by animals.  Too often treated as a single trigger issue, Erwin and Valentine present a refreshingly nuanced view of the complex feedbacks between developmental biology, ecology and physical environment that gave rise to the modern biosphere.” —N. J. Butterfield is University Lecturer at the University of Cambridge.


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