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Changing Planet: Past, Present, Future

Summary

Has Earth changed over deep time? How did Earth shape life and life shape Earth? What does Earth's climate in the distant past tell us about the future?

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Has Earth changed over deep time? How did Earth shape life and life shape Earth? What does Earth's climate in the distant past tell us about the future?

Modern humans have lived on Earth for only the past 200,000 years—not even a blink of an eye in the history of a planet that is about 4.6 billion years old. Scientists have discovered a rich fossil record of animal evolution going back more than 600 million years and a much richer one of microbial life starting almost 4 billion years ago. Throughout this time, the geologic record reveals that dramatic changes have occurred to Earth's oceans, atmosphere, climate, and land forms, which match major biological transitions.

In four presentations, leading scientists Andrew H. Knoll of Harvard University, Naomi Oreskes of the University of California, San Diego, and Daniel P. Schrag of Harvard University guide us on an exciting exploration of the history of life on Earth and discuss present-day concerns about climate change.

In This Series (5)

by Andrew H. Knoll, PhD

Microbes have been the dominant life form throughout Earth's history. Eukaryotes and animals evolved only after microbes...

Read More › (Duration: 1 hr 28 min 29 sec)
by Naomi Oreskes, PhD

The theory of plate tectonics took many decades to become accepted. The process by which it was finally accepted provides a...

Read More › (Duration: 57 min 59 sec)
by Daniel Schrag, PhD

Earth has been both cooler and warmer in the past, but the change is usually gradual. The current rate of carbon dioxide ...

Read More › (Duration: 1 hr 27 min 59 sec)
by Naomi Oreskes, PhD

Scientific evidence for global climate change is overwhelming, yet the American public remains skeptical. History provides...

Read More › (Duration: 58 min 29 sec)
by Andrew H. Knoll, PhD and Daniel P. Schrag, PhD

A discussion on climate change with the students attending the 2012 Holiday Lectures on Science.

Read More › (Duration: 58 min 23 sec)

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DVD

In four presentations, leading scientists Andrew H. Knoll of Harvard University, Naomi Oreskes of the University of California, San Diego, and Daniel P. Schrag of Harvard University guide us on an exciting exploration of the history of life on Earth and discuss present-day concerns about climate change.

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