Book Description: Of all the mysteries of the universe, there is none greater than life itself. Life appears to defy the laws of physics, and yet living things consist of the same basic substances as the rest of our planet. Creatures as large as lions and whales develop from a minute egg, invisible to the naked eye, yet containing vast amounts of information. All living things have the same basic chemistry, but a few bacteria can survive temperatures way above boiling point, while the warmth of the human hand can kill some snow-dwelling insects. Although biologists still cannot explain all of these mysteries, this century has brought them closer than ever before to a real understanding of life. They have unlocked the secrets of heredity and cracked the genetic code. They know how hormones work, how birds fly, how eyes detect light, and how the immune system destroys bacteria. Twentieth-century scientists have even traced the evolution of life from its earliest beginnings over three billion years ago to the present day. A fascinating journey through the world's rich life forms, The Evolution of Life presents these discoveries, and many more, in a remarkably clear, readable, and authoritative text. Introducing readers to the natural history, ecology, and evolution of the major plant and animal groups, this stunning volume reveals the processes at work in all living creatures, from the tiniest micromolecule to the largest of mammals. As readers learn about the evolution, heredity, growth, reproduction, and death processes of bacteria, fish, flowering plants, birds, reptiles, and mammals, they will also encounter full-color illustrations on virtually every page (over one hundred twenty color diagrams and three hundred photographs in all), which vividly depict life and its processes in all its dramatic diversity. Filled with intriguing episodes in the history of biology, The Evolution of Life unveils the story of science itself, a chronicle of discovery that reveals how we came to know what we know.