Evolution and Escalation
An Ecological History of Life
Geerat J. Vermeij


Here is one biologist's interpretation of the chronology of life during the last six hundred million years of earth history: an extended essay that draws on the author's own data and a wide-ranging literature survey to discuss the nature and dynamics of evolutionary change in organisms and their biological surroundings. Geerat Vermeij demonstrates that escalation--the process by which species adapt to, or are limited by, their enemies as the latter increase in ability to acquire and retain resources--has been a dominant theme in the history of life despite frequent episodes of extinction.

Geerat J. Vermeij, Professor of Geology at the University of California, Davis, is the author of Biogeography and Adaptation: Patterns of Marine Life (Harvard). Vermeij received a 1992 MacArthur Fellowship. See page 24 for a description of his forthcoming book, A Natural History of Shells.