The Next Species

The Next Species

The Future of Evolution in the Aftermath of Man

While examining the history of our planet and actively exploring our present environment, science journalist Michael Tennesen describes what life on earth could look like after the next mass extinction.

A growing number of scientists agree we are headed toward a mass extinction, perhaps in as little as 300 years. Already there have been five mass extinctions in the last 600 million years, including the Cretaceous Extinction, during which an asteroid knocked out the dinosaurs. Though these events were initially destructive, they were also prime movers of evolutionary change in nature. And we can see some of the warning signs of another extinction event coming, as our oceans lose both fish and oxygen. In The Next Species, Michael Tennesen questions what life might be like after it happens.

Tennesen discusses the future of nature and whether humans will make it through the bottleneck of extinction. Without man, could the seas regenerate to what they were before fishing vessels? Could life suddenly get very big as it did before the arrival of humans? And what if man survives the coming catastrophes, but in reduced populations? Would those groups be isolated enough to become distinct species? Could the conquest of Mars lead to another form of human? Could we upload our minds into a computer and live in a virtual reality? Or could genetic engineering create a more intelligent and long-lived creature that might shun the rest of us? And how would we recognize the next humans? Are they with us now?

Tennesen delves into the history of the planet and travels to rainforests, canyons, craters, and caves all over the world to explore the potential winners and losers of the next era of evolution. His predictions, based on reports and interviews with top scientists, have vital implications for life on earth today.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451677515 | 
  • March 2015
List Price $26.00
Ships on or around March 17, 2015

About the Author

Michael Tennesen
Photograph by Martin Cox

Michael Tennesen

Michael Tennesen is a science writer who has written more than 300 stories in such journals as Discover, Scientific American, New Scientist, National Wildlife, Audubon, Science, Smithsonian, and others. He was a Media Fellow at the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University, and a Writer in Residence at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. He lives in the California desert near Joshua Tree National Park with Maggie, his wife; China, his dog; and Swift, his tortoise.

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