A Short History of Nearly Everything - Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Bill Bryson
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Part 2, Chapter 5 Summary and Analysis

James Hutton was a wealthy Englishman with many interests, including geology. Like many people, he pondered why fossils of seashells were so often found on mountaintops. Many theories were proposed in the late 1700s including explanations for natural occurrences such as floods, volcanoes and earthquakes. However, none of the theories was very convincing. Erosion suggested that all hills should be worn smooth, yet there were many mountains. Hutton suggested that the fossils were not caused by a cataclysmic event. Instead, he suggested that all the natural forces that had formed the Earth were still working, slowly and imperceptibly. He proposed that fossils were raised along with the Earth when heat from inside the Earth formed the hills. Hutton's paper was written in indecipherable prose. Half of it was comprised of quotes from French scientific works, written in French. After...

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This section contains 409 words
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