When Life Nearly Died

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The Geological Time-scale • Chapter 1: Antediluvian Sauria • Chapter 2: Murchison Names the Permian • Chapter 3: The Death of Catastrophism • Chapter 4: The Concept that Dared Not Speak Its Name • Chapter 5: Impact! • Chapter 6: Diversity, Extinction and Mass Extinction • Chapter 7: Homing in on the Event • Chapter 8: Life’s Biggest Challenge • Chapter 9: A Tale of Two Continents • Chapter 10: On the River Sakmara • Chapter 11: What Caused the Biggest Catastrophe of all Time? • Chapter 12: Recovery from the Bring • Chapter 13: The Sixth Mass Extinction?

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What caused the greatest mass extinction in Earth's history? Michael Benton assembles all the evidence and gives his verdict.

About the Author

Michael J. Benton is Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol. He has written over 40 books, including Vertebrate Palaeontology, The Penguin Historical Atlas of the Dinosaurs and When Life Nearly Died.


'A superb book that tells a gripping tale … a dénouement worthy of Hercule Poirot' - The Times Higher Education Supplement

'Brings back to Earth Science a sense of adventure ... it is both a wonderfully good read and a valued reference' - James Lovelock, author of Gaia

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