Biology : History of Life on Earth : Introduction
Ask a child what interests them about biology and you will not find (in most cases anyway) a child interested in DNA and molecular biology, but rather a child wanting to know about dinosaurs, wooly mammoths, and creatures more at home in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings than seen walking about the modern world. We retain this thirst for the creatures of the past, as evidenced by the mass popularity of the Jurassic Park books and movies, popular books by a number of paleobiologists, and numerous television programs, such as Walking With Dinosaurs. Some of us have managed to keep this interest and enthusiasm for the life of the past. We are paleobiologists, a term that literally means "old studiers of life", although I prefer "study of ancient life" as I myself become more ancient!
You may have wondered: How old is the Earth? Did the same animals always live on Earth? Why did amphibians invade the land? Why are there so many types of insects? This topic will help you answer your questions about the history of life on Earth!
1. Identify two groups of prokaryotes.
2. Describe the evolution of eukaryotes.
3. Identify the first multicellular organisms to live on land.
4. Name the first animals to live on land.
5. List the first vertebrates to leave the ocean.
6. Define the term mass extinction.
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