Beyond Extinction: The Eternal Ocean (Wolfgang Grulke)

With good cause, the past 20 years has seen an explosion of articles, publications and books dealing with the impacts of climate change. Wolfgang Grulke's beautifully illustrated Beyond Extinction: The Eternal Ocean - Climate change & the continuity of life explores the organisms throughout our oceans and goes deep (literally and figuratively) on our oceans and the life within.

It begins with an historical perspective; indeed, from the dawn of Earth. Incredible organisms, such as brittle stars which were prolific 185 million years ago, continue to thrive today. But what is 185 million years? We often read about such figures when studying fossils and dinosaurs and the like, but what is time as it relates life, history and future potential of a species? Grulke explores this with us through concepts of molecular clocks, historical and cultural references to animal morphology, and associated scientific meanings.

This book covers so much about life in our seas (then and now), but as TONMO is a cephalopod community, let's tune our focus therein.

Grulke observes that of the ocean's largest creatures, only shark and giant squid evolved from within the ocean, whereas others evolved from life forms that originated on land. Smaller cephalopods, like the nautilus, began its existence over 500 million years ago, some 200+ million years before the ocean's first fish. What is it that makes cephalopods so resilient? Indeed, modern observations show remarkable ecological adaptation, despite aggressive and invasive changes to climate brought on by our own species.

Wolfgang Grulke is no stranger to cephalopod study, having authored other vibrantly-illustrated books, such as Nautilus: Beautiful Survivor: 500 Million Years of Evolutionary History and Heteromorph: The Rarest Fossil Ammonites: Nature at its Most Bizarre. These highly-rated books delve deep on cephalopod history and are recommended reading for any ceph enthusiast.

These insights and passions are brought into a broader context in Beyond Extinction; indeed it would be hard to tell the complex and evolving story of climate change without a substantial nod to cephalopods, both then and now -- and Grulke does not disappoint.

The book showcases a halting illustration which depicts the full mass of all water on our planet relative to the rest of the earth. I won't spoil it for you (and the book asks for your patience in not turning the page, but to consider it first) -- like me, you may share the author's surprise at the offered perspective. It may just change the way you think about our world, and your responsibility within it.

This beautiful 225-page hardcover tome includes a very cool poster offering a conceptual phylogeny and family tree. It is available now on Amazon.
Original publish date
Jul 26, 2019
About the Author
Tony converted into an octopus and cephalopod interest site in May 2000. (Find out more about how TONMO started by reading this blog entry.) He began his career in the online services industry in 1992, working for companies such as Prodigy,, Reuters and Comcast. Tony and his wife Tania are the owners of Deep Intuition, LLC, which is an entity they created to support their entrepreneurial hobbies and pursuits. He graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a B.A. in Mass Communication and lives in Pennsylvania.


There are no comments to display.

Article information

Article read time
2 min read
Last update

More from tonmo