Raup takes up a cocktail-party science topic--Why do entire branches of life "suddenly" (in geologic time) disappear?--and gives it weight and validity. Despite the catchy title, Raup's presentation is plenty rigorous, drawing in just enough geology, anthropology, biostatistics and yes, even the Alvarez meteor/earth cataclysm, to send readers looking for additional reading on current evolutionary theory. Fans of Stephen Jay Gould will find a similarly fluent and friendly lecture style here. University of Chicago professor Raup is coauthor of several standard graduate-level texts on paleontology and evolution. Illustrations not seen by PW. Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Non-fiction titles generally lend themselves to summaries a little bit more easily than non-fiction and I'd be hard pressed to beat the information the publishers have provided on the back cover. In "Extinction: Bad Luck or Bad Genes", David M Raup has provided a layman's overview and discussion of the theories, assumptions and difficulties associated with the new, emerging science of the study of species extinction. A relatively lightweight, easy-going read (as science titles … more