The World According to Margulis

MICROCOSMOS Four Billion Years of Evolution from Our Microbial Ancestors. Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan. Summit Books, New York, 1986. 301 pp., illus. $17.95. For the past 20 years, Lynn Margulis has been an important intellectual force in the fields of evolutionary biology and Earth history. She has authored provocative hypotheses on such disparate topics as the origins of life, the eukaryotic cell, sex and multicellularity and has championed novel ideas concerning bacterial evolution and the

Andrew Knoll
Oct 19, 1986

MICROCOSMOS
Four Billion Years of Evolution from Our Microbial Ancestors.
Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan.
Summit Books, New York, 1986. 301 pp., illus.
$17.95.

For the past 20 years, Lynn Margulis has been an important intellectual force in the fields of evolutionary biology and Earth history. She has authored provocative hypotheses on such disparate topics as the origins of life, the eukaryotic cell, sex and multicellularity and has championed novel ideas concerning bacterial evolution and the biological regulation of Earth surface environments.

As this new book, written with Dorion Sagan, makes clear, her many ideas are really of a piece. Collectively, they constitute a coherent world view that stands in sharp contrast to conventional wisdom about our planet and its biota. Although Microcosmos can be read with enjoyment as a slightly idiosyncratic chronicle of evolution, it is really a sustained argument in support of an alternative biology.

In the world...