Chapter Four: EARTH HOME
If I were to plunge into any study about Earth's natural systems,
the logical place would be Princeton University's Natural History
Museum. Though not a major museum, the curators there helped
by giving me yet another reading list--or should I say "lists."
It turns out that Natural History is a very large field, consisting
of major disciplines. I really had to pick-and-choose, so I had
to think about where I might want to head in this part of my
Eventually I made my choices, reading in the following areas:
Paleontology, Botany, Ornithology, Entomology, Marine Life,
Ecology, Climatology, and Evolutionary Theory. Need I say, this
particular project took awhile. Yet it had to be done, because
our Earth home was really the only practical laboratory available
in which to work.
Reading through large batches of books that cover all these
disciplines. I realized that certain "themes" were jumping out
at me. I was beginning to detect a sense of evolutionary
movement through the millennia upon millennia.
I'm sure that I am not the only one to make this discovery, but
could be my perspective might be different. The themes I found
peeking through were interesting. A little infrastructure, if I may:
• Geologically our Earth followed the pattern of the greater
universe, in that it was primordially violent, fiery, gaseous,
eventually cooling off, developing primitive and violent land
forms that eventually moved towards more moderate climes.
• Natural Systems shifted. Land once under the sea became
dry, sometimes turning into deserts. Mountains protruded
from the depths, reaching toward the sky. Tropical Rain Forests
turned into an equatorial-belt oxygen producer. Wetlands
and food producing land accommodated Life more effectively.
The oceans proved a vast reservoir for Life as well. Even the
deserts provided numerous possibilities for the survival of Life.
And within the Earth were rich veins of material that have
supported Life down through the ages.
• Seemingly Life emerged from non-Life; and over time Life Forms
moved from being large to becoming smaller. Simplicity led to
Complexity. Mindless moved to Mind.