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When the Invasion of Land Failed – The Legacy of the Devonian Extinctions - Columbia Scholarship Online
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When the Invasion of Land Failed: The Legacy of the Devonian Extinctions

George McGhee,


The invasion of land by ocean-dwelling plants and animals was one of the most revolutionary events in the evolution of life on Earth, yet the animal invasion almost failed—twice—because of the twin mass extinctions of the Late Devonian Epoch. Some 359 to 375 million years ago, these catastrophic events dealt our ancestors a blow that almost drove them back into the sea. If those extinctions had been just a bit more severe, spiders and insects—instead of vertebrates—might have become the ecologically dominant forms of animal life on land. This book examines the profound evolutionary consequence ... More

Keywords: ocean-dwelling plants, ocean-dwelling animals, Late Devonian Epoch, animal invasion, evolution, extinctions, fish, Devonian extinctions, vertebrates

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780231160575
Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015 DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231160575.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

George McGhee,, author