Worlds Before Adam: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Reform

Worlds Before Adam: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Reform


In the past due eighteenth and early 19th centuries, scientists reconstructed the immensely lengthy historical past of the earth—and the fairly contemporary arrival of human existence. The geologists of the interval, lots of whom have been religious believers, agreed approximately this substantial timescale. yet regardless of this obvious concord among geology and Genesis, those scientists nonetheless debated a good many questions: Had the earth cooled from its beginning as a fiery ball in area, or had it usually been an identical type of position because it is now? was once prehuman existence marked by means of mass extinctions, or had fauna and vegetation replaced slowly over time?

The first precise account of the reconstruction of prehuman geohistory, Martin J. S. Rudwick’s Worlds earlier than Adam alternatives up the place his celebrated Bursting the boundaries of Time leaves off. right here, Rudwick takes readers from the post-Napoleonic recovery in Europe to the early years of Britain’s Victorian age, chronicling the spectacular discoveries geologists made throughout the interval: the unearthing of the 1st dinosaur fossils, the glacial conception of the final ice age, and the that means of igneous rocks, between others. eventually, Rudwick finds geology to be the 1st of the sciences to enquire the old measurement of nature, a version that Charles Darwin utilized in constructing his evolutionary theory.

Featuring a global forged of colourful characters, with Georges Cuvier and Charles Lyell enjoying significant roles and Darwin showing as a tender geologist, Worlds prior to Adam is a worthwhile successor to Rudwick’s magisterial first quantity. finishing the hugely readable narrative of 1 of the main momentous adjustments in human figuring out of our position within the wildlife, Worlds earlier than Adam is a capstone to the occupation of 1 of the world’s major historians of science.

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