A visit to Darwin's Lost World


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of Martin Brasier's Darwin’s Lost World: The Hidden History of Animal Life (Oxford University Press, 2009). The preview consists of the preface — in which Brasier explains, "Some 150 years ago, in 1859, Charles Darwin was greatly puzzled by a seeming absence of animal fossils in rocks older than the Cambrian period. He drew attention to a veritable Lost World that was later found to have spanned more than eighty per cent of Earth history. This book tells the story of his lost world, and of the quest to rescue its hidden history from the fossil record" — as well as the first chapter, "In Search of Lost Worlds."

The Quarterly Review of Biology praised Darwin's Lost World as "a scientific adventure that will entertain and inform general readers and has the potential to inspire the next generation of young researchers," and Roy E. Plotnick, reviewing the book for RNCSE, wrote, "Reading Brasier's book will introduce readers to many of the key localities and discoveries, as well as provide glimpses of many of the major investigators, of Ediacaran and early Cambrian life. ... I readily recommend this book as an entertaining introduction to a major field in studying the history of life. It will give you invaluable information for the next time you get asked to explain how evolution explains the Cambrian 'explosion'."