Echoes of Life: What Fossil Molecules Reveal about Earth History

Hardcover | November 15, 2008

bySusan M. Gaines, Geoffrey Eglinton, Jurgen Rullkotter

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In 1936 a German chemist identified certain organic molecules in ancient rocks and oils as the fossil remains of chlorophyll, presumably from plants that had lived millions of years in the past. Many years later this insight was revisited and the term "biomarker" coined to describe fossilmolecules whose molecular structures could reveal the presence of otherwise elusive organisms and processes - and then, the hunt was on. Echoes of Life is the story of those molecules and how they illuminate the history of the earth and its life. It is also the story of how a few maverick organic chemists and geologists defied the dictates of their disciplines and, at a time when the natural sciences were fragmenting intoever-more-specialized sub-disciplines, reunited chemistry, biology and geology in a common endeavor.

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In 1936 a German chemist identified certain organic molecules in ancient rocks and oils as the fossil remains of chlorophyll, presumably from plants that had lived millions of years in the past. Many years later this insight was revisited and the term "biomarker" coined to describe fossilmolecules whose molecular structures could revea...

Susan Gaines was trained as a chemist and oceanographer. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary anthologies and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and she is the author of the novel Carbon Dreams. Geoffrey Eglinton is a Professor of Organic Geochemistry at the University of Bristol. Jurgen Rullkotter is a Professor of...

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Kobo ebook|Nov 5 2008

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:376 pages, 9.25 × 6.5 × 0.98 inPublished:November 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195176197

ISBN - 13:9780195176193

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Table of Contents

Fossil Molecules in Geologic Time1. Molecular Informants: A Changing Perspective of Organic Chemistry2. Looking to the Rocks: Molecular Clues to the Origin of Life3. From the Moon to Mars: The Search for Extraterrestrial Life4. Black Gold: An Alchemist's Guide to Petroleum5. Deep Sea Mud: Biomarker Clues to Ancient Climates6. More Molecules, More Mud and the Isotopic Dimension: Ancient Environments Revealed7. Microbiologists (Finally) Climb on Board8. Weird Molecules, Inconceivable Microbes, and Unlikely Proxies: Marine Ecology Revised9. Molecular Paleontology and Biochemical Evolution10. Early Life Revisited11. Thinking Molecularly, Anything Goes: From Mummies to Oil Spills, Doubts to New DirectionsAppendix: Biomarkers at a GlanceGlossaryFigure ListSelected BibliographyIndexA Biomarker-centric Tree of Life

Editorial Reviews

"Echoes of Life is a fascinating and comprehensive history of biomarker research spanning the birth of the field to the application of biomarkers to a variety of scientific disciplines. Gaines et al. present an enormous amount of information in a simple yet elegant manner. This wonderfullyinterdisciplinary book is a must-read for biomarker experts and for those who enjoy intriguing scientific detective stories." --Samantha Joye, Professor, Biogeochemistry/ Molecular Microbial Ecology Group, University of Georgia