In the Blink of an Eye

Front Cover
Da Capo Press, 2003 - Science - 316 pages
13 Reviews
The Cambrian Explosion is universally referred to as biology's "Big Bang." About 550 million years ago, there was literally an explosion of life forms, as all the major animal groups suddenly and dramatically appeared. Why did it happen this way? Why didn't these creatures continue the slow, plodding pace of evolution, appearing only very gradually in the fossil record? Although several books have been written about this surprising event, none have explained why it occurred. Indeed, none were able to.Here, for the first time, Oxford zoologist Andrew Parker reveals his theory of this great flourishing of life. Parker's "Light Switch Theory" holds that it was the development of vision in primitive animals that caused the explosion. Precambrian creatures were unable to see, making it impossible to find friend or foe. With the evolution of the eye, the size, shape, color, and behavior of animals was suddenly revealed for the first time. Once the lights were "turned on," all animals had to either adapt or die, and in a geological instant, the world became a very different place. A controversial theory but one that is quickly gaining ground, the Light Switch Theory promises to revolutionize our understanding of life and light. Drawing on evidence not just from biology but also from geology, physics, chemistry, history, and art, In the Blink of an Eye is the fascinating story of a young scientist's intellectual journey, and a celebration of the scientific method.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rnsulentic - LibraryThing

This book will open your eyes. (pun intended). Parker makes a compelling case for the reason for the "Cambrian explosion"--the development of sight by animals. Read full review

Review: In The Blink Of An Eye: How Vision Sparked The Big Bang Of Evolution

User Review  - Niloy Mitra - Goodreads

Pretty cool facts and very nicely organized. A very plausible explanation of the Cambrian explosion. I enjoyed the various optical systems described with specific examples. Read full review

Contents

Evolutions Big Bang
1
The Virtual Life of Fossils
48
The Infusion of Light
82
When Darkness Descends
117
Light Time and Evolution
142
Colour in the Cambrian?
171
The Making of a Sense
187
The Killer Instinct
230
The Solution
261
End of Story?
291
Index
300
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Andrew Parker is a Royal Society Research Fellow at Oxford University's Department of Zoology. He has been named by the London Times as one of the three most important young scientists in the world for his work in investigating and answering the great riddle of the Cambrian explosion. He lives in Oxfordshire, England.

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