This comprehensive introduction to the history of life on Earth explores the basic principles and processes, the rich history of past life forms -- marine and terrestrial -- and the major events that shaped this history. Emphasizes the complexity and diversity of life through time. Considers the causes for major events in Earth history --and weighs various interpretations. Some of the many topics covered are: the organization of life, rocks and fossils, origins of the earth, oceans, atmosphere, and life, organic evolution and extinction,.marine predators, .early and advanced consumers on land. The book minimizes the use of technical terms, while providing to the reader short chapter-end lists of important key words and defines each term in a glossary.