Vertebrate evolution is studied through comparative anatomy and functional morphology of extant vertebrates as well as the fossil record. The origin, basic anatomy, and adaptation of all the major groups of vertebrates are covered in this book, together with consideration of the evolutionary processes underlying their radiation. Topics discussed include analyzing morphological and molecular data, early diversification of vertebrates, the evolutionary radiation of dinosaurs, and the origin of mammals.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Jawless Vertebrates. Acanthodians and Placoderms. Sharklike Fishes. Bony Fishes. Lobe-Fin Fishes and the Transition to Land. Early Paleozoic Faunas. Amphibians. The Advent of Reptiles. Late Paleozoic Faunas. Lepidosaurs. Aquatic Reptiles. Early Ruling Reptiles. Triumph of the Dinosaurs. Aerial Reptiles. Birds. Years of the Dinosaurs. Mammal-Like Reptiles. Beginning of the Mammals. Marsupials. Introduction to the Placentals. Early Placental Diversification. The Primates and Their Allies. Rodents and Rabbits. Creodonts and Carnivores. Whales and Dolphins. Primitive Ungulates. Artiodactyls. South American Ungulates. Perissodactyls. Elephants and Their Kin. Cenozoic Faunas. A Classification of the Phylum Chordata. Bibliography. Key to Abbreviations of Bone Names Used in Illustrations. Sources and Credits for Illustrations.
EDWIN H. COLBERT is Honorary Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. In addition, he is Curator Emeritus for the American Museum of Natural History in New York and Professor Emeritus at Columbia University in New York. MICHAEL MORALES is Curator of Geology at The Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Arizona. ELI C. MINKOFF is Professor of Biology and Chair of the Department of Biology at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.