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On GaiaA Critical Investigation of the Relationship between Life and Earth$
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Toby Tyrrell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691121581

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691121581.001.0001

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(p.199) Chapter 10 Conclusions
On Gaia

Toby Tyrrell

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter evaluates the Gaia hypothesis. Based on the evidence studied in this book, the chapter argues that the Gaia hypothesis is not a reasonable picture of how Earth and life interact with each other. There is no single body of facts or line of unimpeachable reasoning that sways the debate conclusively in favor of Gaia. The lack of any established bottom-up mechanism that can explain how Gaia is produced also weighs against it. No one has been able to explain convincingly how Gaia could emerge out of evolutionary or ecological dynamics. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that major evolutionary advances, such as the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis, or the first foresting of the land by sizeable trees, have been associated with environmental catastrophes.

Keywords:   Gaia hypothesis, evolutionary dynamics, ecological dynamics, evolutionary advances, oxygenic photosynthesis, environmental catastrophes

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