Peter Ward (paleontologist)

Peter Douglas Ward (born 1949) is an American paleontologist and professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, and Sprigg Institute of Geobiology at the University of Adelaide . He has written numerous popular science works for a general audience and is ook een adviser to the Microbes Mind Forum. [2]

Life and work

His parents, Joseph and Ruth Ward, moved to Seattle -following World War II . Ward Grew up in the Seward Park neighborhood of Seattle, Attending Franklin High School , and he spent time prolongation summers at a family summer cabin on Orcas Island . [3]

Ward’s academic career has included teaching posts and professional connections with Ohio State University , the NASA Astrobiology Institute , the University of California , McMaster University (where he RECEIVED his PhD in 1976), and the California Institute of Technology . He was elected as a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences in 1984.

Ward gespecialiseerd in the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event , the Permian-Triassic extinction event , [3] and mass extinctions algemeen. He has published books on biodiversity and the fossil record . His 1992 book On Methuselah’s Trail RECEIVED a “Golden Trilobite Award” from the Paleontological Society as the best popular science book of the year. Ward ook Serves as an assistant professor of zoology and astronomy .

His book The End Of Evolution was published in 1994. In it, he discussed in three parts, lycra about an extinction event on earth. This book was rewritten and published in 2000 as Rivers in Time .

Ward is co-author, Along with Astronomer Donald Brownlee , of the best-selling Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe , published in 2000. In dat work, the authors suggest dat de universe is Fundamentally hostile to advanced life, and therein, while simple life Might Be abundant, the likelihood of widespread life forms as advanced as Those on Earth is marginal. In 2001, his book Future Evolution was published, featuring illustrations by artist Alexis Rockman . [4] [5]

Ward and Brownlee are’ll be co-authors of the book The Life and Death of Planet Earth: How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of the World , welke discusses the Earth’s future and eventual Demise if it is ultimately DESTROYED by a warming and Expansion Sun. In this book, Ward and Brownlee depict Earth’s long-term future at Comparing zijn life span to therein or a Typical human’s, pointing out dat zijn systems that keep it habitable will gradually break down one by one, like Organs in a humans if he or she like. Ze ook predictors the Earth’s eventual fate by compressing zijn 12 billion-year-old history to a clock voltage 12 hours, with the first life Appearing at 1:00 am, and the first animals and plants Appearing at 4:00 am, with the present day being 4: 29.59 am; and even though the Earth will be destroyed by the Sun at “high noon”, animals and plants will come to an end at 5:00 am. See also Future of the Earth .

Volgens to Ward’s 2007 book, Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What Way Down Can Tell Us About Our Future , [6] all but one of the major mass extinction events in history port leg brought` one at climate change. The author argues dat events in the Past kan give Valuable information about the future of our planet. Reviewer Doug Brown goes remit, stating “this is how the world ends.” Scientists at the Universities of York and Leeds warn ook dat de fossil record supports evidence of impending mass extinction.

Medea hypothesis

Main article: Medea hypothesis

The Medea hypothesis is a term coined by Ward for the anti- Gaian hypothesis therein multicellular life , understood as a superorganism , is suicidal . [7] [8] [9] In 2009, Ward wrote a book about this hypothesis under the co-names.


Peter Ward was featured in the PBS ‘s Evolution series (2001) to Discuss the evidence for evolution in the geology record and has Appeared on NOVA scienceNOW . He was ook one of the scientists on Animal Planet ‘s Animal Armageddon (2009).

Selected works

  • In Search of Nautilus: Three Centuries of Scientific Adventures in the Deep Pacific to Capture a Prehistoric, Living Fossil (1988) ISBN 978-0-671-61951-0 OCLC 17840660
  • On Methuselah’s Trail: Living Fossils and the Great Extinctions (1992) ISBN 978-0-7167-2488-9
  • The Call of Distant Mammoths: Why the Ice Age Mammals Disappeared (1997) ISBN 978-0-387-98572-5
  • Time Machines: Scientific Exploration of Deep Time (1998) ISBN 978-0-387-98416-2
  • Rivers in Time: the Search for Clues to Earth’s Mass Extinctions (2000) ISBN 978-0-231-11862-0
  • Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe with Donald Brownlee (2000) ISBN 978-0-387-95289-5
  • Future Evolution: An Illuminated History of Life to Come (2001) ISBN 978-0-7167-3496-3
  • The Life and Death of Planet Earth: How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our World with Donald Brownlee (2003) ISBN 978-0-8050-7512-0
  • Gorgon: Obsession, paleontology, and the Greatest Catastrophe in Earth’s History (2004) ISBN 978-0-670-03094-1
  • Life as We Do Not Know It : The NASA Search for (and Synthesis of) Alien Life (2005) ISBN 0-670-03458-4
  • Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth’s Ancient Atmosphere (2006) ISBN 0-309-10061-5
  • Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What Way Down Can Tell Us About Our Future (2007) ISBN 978-0-06-113791-4
  • The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive? (2009) ISBN 0-691-13075-2
  • The Flooded Earth: Our Future in a World Without Ice Caps (2010) ISBN 978-0-465-00949-7
  • A New History of Life: The radical New Discoveries about the origins and evolution of life on Earth with Joe Kirschvink (2015) ISBN 978-1608199075


  1. Jump up^ “Professor Peter Ward” . . External link( help ) |publisher=
  2. Jump up^ “Advisers, Microbe Mind Forum” .
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b Dietrich, William (2005-12-09). “Prophet, populist, Poet of Science” . Pacific Northwest Magazine . Retrieved 26 October 2010 .
  4. Jump up^ Motluk, Alison (2002-01-29). ” ” Future Evolution “by Peter Ward” . Salon . Retrieved 2010-10-20 .
  5. Jump up^ “Anthropology Update / Future Evolution” . Talk of the Nation . National Public Radio . 2002-03-22 . Retrieved 2010-10-19 .
  6. Jump up^ Ward, Peter Douglas (2007). Under a Green Sky: Global Warming, the Mass Extinctions of the Past, and What Way Down Can Tell Us About Our Future . New York: Smithsonian Books / Collins. OCLC  224875122 . Lay summary (July-August 2007). by Christopher Cokinos, Orion magazine
  7. Jump up^ Bennett, Drake (January 11, 2009). “Dark green. A scientist argues dat the natural world is not benevolent and sustaining: it’s done on self-destruction” . Boston Globe . Retrieved October 21, 2012 .
  8. Jump up^ Peter Ward speaker profile . TED . Retrieved 2009-02-27 .
  9. Jump up^ D’Arconte (February 10, 2009). “Is Mother Nature utilities?” . The Sun Chronicle . Retrieved 2009-02-27 .
  • The Science of Doom: Peter Ward takes on the great unknowns , Pacific Northwest magazine ( Seattle Times ), January 11, 2005, p. 12ff