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Soil Grown Tall

The Epic Saga of Life from Earth

  • Book
  • © 2022


  • Deciphers the long fossil record of ancient landscapes and ecosystems they supported
  • Provides a short accessible introduction to new ideas
  • Copiously illustrated with line and color art

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About this book

This book is designed as an easy night's read and introduction to fossil soils and the relatively new disciplines of Paleopedology and Astropedology. It includes line art and color illustrations to visualize the topic for the informed layperson or interested colleagues. It provides comprehensive information on paleosols, which are soils of the past providing a variety of clues to the evolution of life and climate on Earth and deals with topics such as the evolution of grassland ecosystems, mass extinction of the Late Permian and origin of life, all viewed from the perspective of the fossil record of soils. This turns out to be a refreshing new perspective of wide interest.

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Table of contents (16 chapters)


“Soil Grown Tall, reviewed here, is a shorter summary intended for a wider audience. … Retallack’s book is well stuffed with insights and ideas, some quite startling. … The book shines with a sense of the beauty of landscape, which has served Retallack well. The book is full of well-chosen reminiscences, which lend life to the narrative. … The book is clearly written, well illustrated, and well produced.” (Egbert Giles Leigh, Evolution, Education & Outreach, Vol. 15 (1), 2022)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oregon, Eugene, USA

    Gregory J. Retallack

About the author

Gregory J. Retallack is an emeritus professor at the University of Oregon best known for his research on the fossil record of soils. His efforts at detailed characterization and interpretation of paleosols is documented in more than 300 refereed publications and 12 books. His textbook “Soils of the past” is now in its third edition. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geological Society of America, and recipient of the Stillwell Medal of the Geological Society of Australia and the Ingerson Award of the Geochemical Society. Three fossil species have been named in his honor: a fern, angiosperm leaf, and mouse deer.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Soil Grown Tall

  • Book Subtitle: The Epic Saga of Life from Earth

  • Authors: Gregory J. Retallack

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Earth and Environmental Science, Earth and Environmental Science (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2022

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-88738-4Published: 17 February 2022

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-88741-4Published: 18 February 2023

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-88739-1Published: 16 February 2022

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXVIII, 275

  • Number of Illustrations: 70 b/w illustrations, 32 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Geology, Evolutionary Biology, Organic Chemistry, Chemistry/Food Science, general

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