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By the editors of Time-Life Books

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57 135 million years ago. This ancestral horseshoe crab, mesolimulus, died lying upside down in a German Jagoon. Porous iimestone formed over it, dissolving its soft interna/ organs but leaving natural molds in their place. 165 million years ago. This leaf of the plant known as zamites comes from France, where the featherlike outline of compound leaf had been preserved by compression. Now extinct, the zamites belonged to a group of plants, the cycadophytes, that had wide its distribution in the Age of Reptiles.

To leave its last, life Scientists know little nursery in the waters about these early land plants; the very evidence for their existence is meager, and they seem at best to have been no more than modest shrublike affairs. But the scientists do two harbingers a curious way, the ing the know are related. Dur- Devonian Period, which followed the the destinies of the first jawed fish that, in and the Silurian, first land plants proved to be intertwined. Descendants of the plants would become the world's first forests; cerwould become animals tain descendants of the fish that lived in these forests.

Behind it are lingula shellfish, mollusklike hyolithids swimming over sponges, and on the shore, stromatolites similar to those on page 24. There are three such broad eras be- in the history of A Devious Line to Man life on earth: the Paleozoic (Greek for ancient life], times, which, except in rare cases, left nothing but and Cenozoic (recent life). stromatolites. Mesozoic (middle Each era is ochs (chart, page drawn which the life) divided into periods, and some into ep- leozoic Era, the is 29 26).

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