An awe-inspiring journey through the eons and across the globe in search of visible traces of evolution in the living creatures that have survived from earlier times. In this groundbreaking book, prize-winning science writer Richard Fortey chronicles life's history not through the fossil record, but through the stories of organisms that have survived, almost unchanged, through geological time. Fortey takes us on a journey to ancient worlds: on a moonlit beach in Delaware where the horseshoe crab shuffles its way through a violent romance, we catch a glimpse of life 450 million years ago.
Along a stretch of Australian coastline, we bear witness to the sights and sounds that would have greeted a Precambrian dawn. And, in the dense rainforests of New Zealand, where the secretive velvet worm burrows into the rotting timber of the jungle floor, we marvel at a living fossil which has survived unchanged since before the break-up of Gondwana, the ancient supercontinent, over 150 million years ago. Written with Fortey's customary sparkle and gusto, this wonderfully engrossing exploration of the world's oldest flora and fauna brilliantly combines the best science writing about the origins of life with an explorer's sense of adventure and a poet's wonder at the natural world.