What is life? Why have creatures evolved as they are? Which species have been the most successful? Where does humanity fit in? Christopher Lloyd leads us on an extraordinary journey, from the birth of life to the present day, as he attempts to answer these questions and to explain, in a jargon-free way, the phenomena that we call 'life on Earth'. Lloyd starts off on the early Earth, 'before man', when loose strands of genetic code swarmed the planet, and moves on to explore the creatures that evolved in the murky deep and crept up on the shore to become pioneers of life on land. He then investigates the world 'after man' and how the co-evolution of humans and a range of other key species has transformed the planet over the last 12,000 years. Along the way, he weaves in potted biographies of the one hundred most influential species that have ever lived, with candidates as diverse as slime, sea scorpions, dragonflies, potatoes, ants, tulips, sheep and grapes. Finally, the species are ranked into a table of influence to reveal those that have most changed life on Earth. Published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, this beautifully illustrated, wide-ranging book provides an entertaining and eye opening insight into mankind's place in nature, and our pivotal relationship with the Earth itself: past, present and future.