Cell evolution and Earth history: stasis and revolution

Thomas Cavalier-Smith, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society

This review paper synthesizes data from paleontology, comparative morphology, and molecular phylogenetics into a cohesive (if extremely controversial) model of the evolution of life on Earth. Topics covered include diversity of cell types, topology and root of the tree of life as inferred from molecular phylogenetics, mapping the tree of life onto the fossil record, and quantum evolution. The author focuses on three major dichotomies - gram-negative vs. gram-positive bacteria, eubacteria vs. archaea, and eukaryotes or eukaryotes+archaea vs. eubacteria. As previously noted, this review is strongly colored by the author's often controversial interpretations of the available data. However, it covers a lot of ground and there are copious figures to aid explanations. This would be good background reading for teachers, and may be a useful example of scientific debate if read by students.

Subject: Biology:Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Geoscience:Paleontology:Evolution , Biology:Microbiology, Evolution:Patterns, Biology:Diversity, Biology, Evolution, Evolution:Principles
Resource Type: Scientific Resources:Opinion, Bibliography, Scientific Resources, Overview/Reference Work
Grade Level: Graduate/Professional, College Upper (15-16)
Topics: Biosphere:Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Time/Earth History, Biosphere:Diversity, Evolution:Principles, Biosphere, Evolution, Evolution:Patterns
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:PaleontologyKeywords: tree of life, neomura, snowball Earth, archaebacteria, eubacteria, eukaryote origin, glycobacteria, quantum evolution