Could a planet have cyclical climate extremes over millions of years resulting in life evolving from bacteria differently each cycle?

Are there any novels based on such a scenario?

Ronald 7

Yes It is called Earth History Look it up

Adam D

"life evolving from bacteria differently each cycle" - I take this to mean that you're thinking each time the climate changes drastically, the microorganisms suited to the new environment evolve into larger, more complex creatures, while the current complex creatures who cannot adapt die off? This isn't likely, since any complex ecosystem will have certain organisms that are well-suited to a wide variety of environments. These generalists survive changes, then as groups are isolated they speciate into more specialized species that fill the various niches of the new environment. It takes a long time to go from single cells to more complex creatures, more on the order of billions, rather than millions, of years. For species that might be on the cusp of that when the environment changes, they have to deal with competition from the generalists and their newly evolved family members - who are already complex, already adapted to the environment, and already have a numbers advantage. I'm not aware of any fiction dealing with this. For such a scenario to work in a story, you'd need a few specific circumstances. Your environmental change would need to be rapid and catastrophic. It needs to remove some of the competition for the newly evolving species by preventing them from having time to adapt and their future generations form having time to evolve and out-compete. You'd need 10's or 100's of millions of years of fairly stable climate after that to allow for evolution. And you'd need high reproductive rates with short cycles - cram in more generations in a given time frame and you'd get more evolutionary potential. And also remember with a story a lot of things can be dismissed, hand-waved away to make things work.

Peter T

Have you read the Helliconia series by Brian Aldiss? Not quite what you were asking about, the planet has a 2500 Earth-year long year and the species have various adaptation cycles and relationships between them change over the course of that time.


Yes, if the right conditions are present for simple bacteria to form, organisms could evolve differently if the cycle was repeated. Though it would need to be complete reboot of the cycle, and each cycle would need millions of years based on earths evolution process.


there is plenty of evidence that the 200 BILLION tons of CO2 we put in the air year after year has triggered a very rapid runaway , irreversible greenhouse effect .


Yes. Do a a google or Bing search on in Milankovitch cycles, axial precession and iceball Earth. As for any novels or science fiction/fantasy series, maybe Anne and Todd McCaffrey's Dragon series might qualify, but that is NOT Earth. This is a mother sand son team. There is a fine line between science fiction and fantasy. Another example is Mercedes Lackey and her husband, but they don't always write as a team. Another example is Eric Flint and his wife, that is alternative history and science fiction, and he coauthors with other people. Alternative history is a thriving genre. Andre Norton is another example and so was Arthur C. Clarke.

Mackenzie Schmutz

It would depend on the composition of the planet, the composition of its atmosphere, and of course, evolution and natural selection. It could happen, yes. However, I do not know of any novels on the subject.


Possible but not true. We find that there is only one source for our universe, Earth and life on Earth.