UMD’s 2020 Helz lecture: Andy Knoll on “The Deep History of Life”

The University of Maryland Department of Geology
invites you to the

George and Rosalind Helz
Distinguished Lecture in Geology

“The Deep History of Life”

Andrew Knoll

Dr. Andrew Knoll
Fisher Professor of Natural History and Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University

Thursday, March 26, 2020

5 p.m. Reception
Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center,
Sculpture Lounge (outside Room 0224)

5:30 p.m. Lecture
Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center,
Room 0224


Fossils of shells, bones, tracks and trails record a history of animal evolution nearly 600 million years in duration. Earth, however, is 4 and a half billion years old. What kinds of organisms characterized our planet’s youth and middle age? And how do we establish the nature of life and environments on the early Earth? The paleontological record shows that life has been present for most of our planet’s history and that for most of that history, life was microbial. Animals are evolutionary late comers, radiating only during an interval of pronounced environmental change more than 3 billion years after the first microorganisms initiated Earth’s evolutionary odyssey.

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