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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse A New History of Life for describing
how life, as it evolved, changed the environment, and by doing so,
changed the very nature of the world we live in today.

A New History of Life
Lectures by Professor Stuart Sutherland

A New History of Life (2010) - 36 lectures, 18 hours
A New History of Life at TheGreatCourses.com

Life is stranger than fiction. Recent investigations hint at episodes in the history of life on Earth that rival the most imaginative movies. For example: Could our planet have been seeded with life from elsewhere? Did the development of life create conditions that threatened to poison the biosphere? How have natural forces conspired, over and over, to remove most traces of life from the planet? And how has life itself responded with determination to survive and thrive in a multitude of astonishing forms?

The story of our world and the different living things that have populated it is an amazing epic with millions of species both familiar and strange, exotic settings, planet-wide cataclysms, and surprising plot twists. Humans are only the latest characters in this long-running drama, which has always been utterly unpredictable, since periodic mass extinctions are inevitably followed by life rebounding in unexpected ways. Indeed, life and the planet have developed together, each driving the evolution of the other.

Equally intriguing are the details of how scientists know what they do about the past. It is a detective story as riveting as any forensic thriller, with paleontologists and geologists taking the most unassuming pieces of evidence - a bit of fossil bone, a sequence of layers in rock, a geochemical test - and reading a rich narrative of past events. And by drawing on tools from other disciplines, such as biology, meteorology, and astrophysics, the scenes they describe can be truly monumental in scope, encompassing the entire Earth and even phenomena beyond the planet.

This multidisciplinary effort to understand Earth as a whole, as a system composed of many interacting parts, is called Earth system science, and it has given us an unprecedented understanding of the planet and the unfolding panorama of life.

A New History of Life tells this all-embracing story of life on Earth - its origins, extinctions, and evolutions - in 36 lavishly illustrated lectures that assume no background in science. At half an hour per lecture, you cover the entire 4.54-billion-year history of Earth in 18 hours, averaging 70,000 years per second! Professor Stuart Sutherland of The University of British Columbia gives a gripping account, showing why he is an award-winning and nationally recognized teacher.

Professor Stuart Sutherland is a Senior Instructor in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Before moving to Canada, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Leicester, conducted postdoctoral research at the Natural History Museum in London, and earned a teaching degree from Sheffield Hallam University. At UBC's Vancouver campus, his interests center on Earth history and paleontology. Professor Sutherland has received numerous teaching awards at UBC and has been mentioned as a "popular professor" among students in two editions of Maclean's Guide to Canadian Universities.

36 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1. The Interconnected Earth 19. Getting a Backbone - The Story of Vertebrates
2. The Vast Depths of Earth Time 20. The Evolution of Jaws
3. Fossil Clocks 21. These Limbs Were Made for Walking?
4. Paleontologists as Detectives 22. Tiktaalik - The Search for a Fishapod
5. The Shifting Surface of Planet Earth 23. Carboniferous Giants and Coal
6. Earliest Origins - Formation of the Planet 24. Amniotes - The Shape of Things to Come
7. Origins of Land, Ocean, and Air 25. Permian Extinction - Life's Worst Catastrophe
8. The Early Chemical Evolution of Life 26. Finding the Killer - The Greenhouse Earth
9. Hints of the First Life Forms 27. The Dinosaurs Take Over
10. How Life Transformed the Early Earth 28. Letting the Dinosaurs Speak - Paleobehavior
11. Snowball Earth - Another Crisis 29. Conquering the Air - The Evolution of Flight
12. Metazoans - Life Grows Up 30. Monsters of the Deep - Mesozoic Oceans
13. Incredible Variety - The Cambrian Explosion 31. The Cretaceous Earth - A Tropical Planet
14. Window to a Lost World - The Burgess Shale 32. The Sky Is Falling - End of the Dinosaurs
15. The Forgotten Fossils in Earth's Story 33. The Collision of North and South America
16. Introduction to the Great Mass Extinctions 34. The Rise of Mammals and the Last Ice Age
17. The Collapse of Earth's First Eden 35. The Humble Origins of Human Beings
18. Making the Break for Land 36. The Conscious Earth


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A New History of Life
Lectures by Professor Stuart Sutherland

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse A New History of Life for describing
how life, as it evolved, changed the environment, and by doing so,
changed the very nature of the world we live in today.