Nature Through Time is the culmination of a twelve-year project begun envisioned by Edoardo Martinetto, Turin, Italy, under the auspices of the International Organization of Palaeobotany. The textbook, the chapters of which are designed to transport the reader across the planet, focuses on the how terrestrial ecosystems have changed over time. Yet, the book’s organization differs from those currently on the market in this approach.
Previous textbooks at the university level have taken a “forward-in-time” march from early plants and animals, with coverage of groups of organisms. Here, we have used “postcards” and case studies from around the globe covering specific points backwards in geologic time to demonstrate how what we know about our planet, today, is rooted deeply in its past. And, how past diversification, extinction, and Earth Systems events have played their roles in the planet’s biodiversity. This is done in 14 chapters with 96 different contributors, and includes all levels of the biosphere: plants, invertebrates, and vertebrates. We also have taken a different pedagogical approach that now fits the educational conditions under which we have found ourselves (and, contrary to what might be claimed at governmental levels, our book approach did not precipitate the pandemic).
Each book’s chapter is offered with a set of teaching slides and accompanying text, with each slide referenced in each appropriate chapter. In this way, it offers the instructor a complete set of well developed and exemplary teaching materials, and the student the opportunity to review those lectures at one’s leisure. We note, also, that it is not necessary for an instructor or student to adopt the book for the classroom to access the teaching materials. Those teaching materials can be accessed with the following Carboniferous-forest link: