Book Review: What On Earth Evolved? 100 Species That Changed the World by Christopher Lloyd | Science News

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Book Review: What On Earth Evolved? 100 Species That Changed the World by Christopher Lloyd

Review by Sid Perkins

By
11:43am, January 29, 2010

Throughout Earth’s past, innumerable species have come and gone without making much of a mark, but a select few have lived long and prospered indeed. In this eloquent and richly illustrated volume, Lloyd, who also authored the planetary history What on Earth Happened?, compiles a veritable who’s who of organisms that he contends are the 100 most important species or groups in the planet’s history. (Hint: Humans are high on the list, but they don’t top it.)

Half of those in the tally evolved before humans became a major influence on species’ fates about 12,000 years ago. Members of the second, more recent group owe much of their success to the ability to accommodate or satisfy human needs. Lloyd uses five criteria to rank organisms’ influence on t

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