"Do you feel lucky? Well do ya?" asked Dirty Harry.
Paleontologist Peter Ward and astronomer Donald Brownlee think all of us should feel lucky.
Their rare Earth hypothesis predicts that while simple, microbial life will be very widespread in the universe, complex animal or plant life will be extremely rare.
Ward and Brownlee admit that "It is very difficult to do statistics with an N of 1.
But in our defense, we have staked out a position rarely articulated but increasingly accepted by many astrobiologists." Their new science is the field of biology ratcheted up to encompass not just life on Earth but also life beyond Earth.
It forces us to reconsider the life of our planet as but a single example of how life might work, rather than as the only example.
The revolution in astrobiology during the 1990s was twofold.
For more information about the title Rare Earth: Why Complex Life Is Uncommon in the Universe, read the full description at Amazon.com, or see the following related books:
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