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Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution
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Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  502 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Microcosmos brings together the remarkable discoveries of microbiology of the past two decades and the pioneering research of Dr. Margulis to create a vivid new picture of the world that is crucial to our understanding of the future of the planet. Addressed to general readers, the book provides a beautifully written view of evolution as a process based on interdependency a ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 29th 1997 by University of California Press (first published 1986)
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Jackie Daggers
May 20, 2012 Jackie Daggers rated it really liked it
Margulis is kind of a crazy bitch, but this book reflects her better (more sane?) ideas. Her primary ideas contrast sharply with Dawkins, and her science background gives her a much stronger footing on which to present her case. Dawkins always struck me as an angry asshat writing about science and what he thinks is right. Margulis writes like an asshat scientist. I love the concepts of cooperation and non-competition in the grand scheme of evolution. They don't invalidate or combat the harsher " ...more
Erik Graff
Oct 30, 2010 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: evolutionary theory fans
Recommended to Erik by: Tom Miley
Shelves: sciences
Tom Miley, his older brother and I once shared an apartment in East Rogers Park, Chicago. Both the Miley brothers are, like myself, dissatisfied with themselves and both have striven mightily to make improvement. Much, but not all, of this effort has been along the lines of self-education in the common sense of going to schools, reading lots of books, writing and talking about one's studies. We have long inspired and comforted one another. We have, despite their moves to San Francisco and Sonoma ...more
Mike Smith
May 07, 2014 Mike Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Life has existed on Earth for nearly 4 billion years. For 80% of that time, according to Microcosmos, it consisted solely of pre-cellular and single-celled organisms. Authors Margulis and Sagan give a convincing and engrossing account of how atoms and molecules on the early Earth may have coalesced and combined, eventually forming more complex molecules that could make copies of themselves. Through a variety of chemical interactions, these complex molecules combined together to form bacterial ce ...more
Natalia Fredes
Feb 25, 2017 Natalia Fredes rated it it was amazing
Excelente libro. Un recorrido ameno y entretenido por la evolución de la vida
Daniel Aguilar
One of those mind-bending books that make you rethink many things about yourself, about the world... inspiring, entertaining, exciting...
The authors make an excellent job at taking ideas from many different thinkers and scientists (Lovelock, Darwin, von Neumann, Dawkins... ) and create a coherent narrative that takes the reader (relatively) easily through disciplines such as biology, cybernetics, anthropology and more. At some points the arguments seem to get a bit too far, a bit too speculativ
Dec 30, 2009 Kathline rated it really liked it
Microcosmos inspired in me a real awe for the complexity and the durability of this small world. We are literally swarming with microbes, and there isn’t much we touch that isn’t also teeming with them. We are intimately involved with the microbial world, from the moment the sperm cell with its flagellum (likely inherited from spirochetes, according to Margulis) punctures the egg—to when we rejoin the earth and are consumed by and reissued from, microbes. Since it is a book written toward a non- ...more
Sep 22, 2015 Julene rated it really liked it
Read many years ago as part of my study and practice of Continuum. She is a biologist and it resonates with the micromovement and being in contact with your body at a cellular level, including the microtubules.
Jan 19, 2010 M rated it really liked it
I might not recommend it for the casual reader but I really liked it. I appreciated the picture of the biosphere as a place of balance, a universe of microbes. Lower organisms have no clue that they make up us higher organisms (and vice-versa).
Oct 26, 2015 Bart rated it really liked it
Very interesting hypotheses.
May 16, 2014 Dave rated it really liked it
Especially enjoyed the first several chapters that discussed early evolution. Her projections for the future were less interesting.
Sep 01, 2008 Ellen is currently reading it
Standing on the shoulders of micro-organisms...
Oct 25, 2008 Brenda rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
Nice book, but, unfortunately, some of it is a little out of date now.
Dec 22, 2007 Spacemummy rated it really liked it
I'm hot for microbes!
Jenny Wehinger
Oct 24, 2007 Jenny Wehinger rated it it was amazing
It will change the way to see living systems for sure! An excellent eye-opener.

Jan 17, 2016 Erika marked it as to-read
Shaun Joyce
Jul 10, 2014 Shaun Joyce marked it as to-read
published in 1997 so a good bit of it may be outdated... may still be a good read though.
Apr 24, 2014 Tim rated it liked it
Good source for the story of microbial evolution and the path to animals etc but the far too long philosophical and speculative section later in the book really detracts from the whole.
J.R. Ortiz
May 15, 2012 J.R. Ortiz rated it it was amazing
Jun 16, 2010 Kate marked it as to-read
Shelves: shelved
I had to return it to the library. I'll hit it again later...
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Nov 18, 2013
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Sep 11, 2014
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  • The Planet in a Pebble: A Journey Into Earth's Deep History
  • Oxygen: The Molecule That Made the World
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  • Written in Stone: Evolution, the Fossil Record, and Our Place in Nature
  • At the Water's Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea
  • Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origins
  • The Emerald Planet: How Plants Changed Earth's History
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  • The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
  • Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World
  • Annals of the Former World
  • Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution
  • Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life
  • The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss
  • In The Blink Of An Eye: How Vision Sparked The Big Bang Of Evolution
Lynn Margulis (1938-2011) was a Professor of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.
More about Lynn Margulis...

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