Books  Palaeontology  Palaeozoology & Extinctions 

Vertebrate Palaeontology

Textbook

By: Michael J Benton (Author)

490 pages, 22 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations; b/w photos, b/w illustrations, tables

John Wiley & Sons

Paperback | Oct 2014 | Edition: 4 | #213948 | ISBN-13: 9781118406847
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £44.50 $57/€53 approx
Hardback | Oct 2014 | Edition: 4 | #213949 | ISBN-13: 9781118407554
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £84.99 $108/€101 approx

About this book

Vertebrate palaeontology is a lively field, with new discoveries reported every week… and not only dinosaurs! This new edition reflects the international scope of vertebrate palaeontology, with a special focus on exciting new finds from China.

A key aim is to explain the science. Gone are the days of guesswork. Young researchers use impressive new numerical and imaging methods to explore the tree of life, macroevolution, global change, and functional morphology.

The fourth edition is completely revised. The cladistic framework is strengthened, and new functional and developmental spreads are added. Study aids include: key questions, research to be done, and recommendations of further reading and web sites.

Vertebrate Palaeontology is designed for palaeontology courses in biology and geology departments. It is also aimed at enthusiasts who want to experience the flavour of how the research is done. Vertebrate Palaeontology is strongly phylogenetic, and this makes it a source of current data on vertebrate evolution.

"The book is a main textbook for vertebrate palaeontology and aimed at students and anyone with an interest in the evolution of vertebrates. It meets its five aims and is excellent value."
– Proceedings of the Open University Geological Society, 1 April 2015


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Contents

Concise table of contents:

List of boxes viii
Preface x
About the companion website xii

1 Vertebrates Originate 1
2 How to Study Fossil Vertebrates 18
3 Early palaeozoic fishes 45
4 Early tetrapods and amphibians 84
5 Evolution of early amniotes 118
6 Bounceback: tetrapods of the Triassic 147
7 Evolution of fishes after the devonian 172
8 The age of dinosaurs 204
9 The birds 273
10 Mammals 318
11 Human evolution 400

Appendix: Classification of the vertebrates 433
Glossary 448
Index 453
The colour plate section can be found between pp. 244–245


Detailed table of contents:

List of boxes viii
Preface x
About the companion website xii

1 Vertebrates Originate 1
Key questions in this chapter 2
Introduction 2
1.1 Sea squirts and the lancelet 2
1.2 Ambulacraria: echinoderms and hemichordates 4
1.3 Deuterostome relationships 6
1.4 Chordate origins 8
1.5 Vertebrates and the head 14
1.6 Further reading 14
Questions for future research 15
1.7 References 15

2 How to Study Fossil Vertebrates 18
Key questions in this chapter 19
Introduction 19
2.1 Digging up bones 19
2.2 Publication and professionalism 24
2.3 Geology and fossil vertebrates 29
2.4 Biology and fossil vertebrates 33
2.5 Discovering phylogeny 36
2.6 The quality of the fossil record 39
2.7 Macroevolution 41
2.8 Further reading 43
2.9 References 43

3 Early palaeozoic fishes 45
Key questions in this chapter 46
Introduction 46
3.1 cambrian vertebrates 46
3.2 vertebrate hard tissues 49
3.3 the jawless fishes 51
3.4 origin of jaws and gnathostome relationships 59
3.5 placoderms: armour-plated monsters 60
3.6 chondrichthyes: the first sharks 65
3.7 acanthodians: the ‘spiny skins’ 65
3.8 devonian environments 67
3.9 osteichthyes: the bony fishes 70
3.10 early fish evolution and mass extinction 79
3.11 further reading 79
Questions for future research 80
3.12 References 80

4 Early tetrapods and amphibians 84
Key questions in this chapter 85
Introduction 85
4.1 Problems of life on land 85
4.2 Devonian tetrapods 88
4.3 The Carboniferous world 96
4.4 Diversity of Carboniferous tetrapods 98
4.5 Temnospondyls and reptiliomorphs after the Carboniferous 106
4.6 E volution of the modern amphibians 109
4.7 Further reading 114
Questions for future research 114
4.8 References 114

5 Evolution of early amniotes 118
Key questions in this chapter 119
Introduction 119
5.1 Hylonomus and Paleothyris – biology of the first amniotes 119
5.2 Amniote evolution 121
5.3 The Permian world 125
5.4 The parareptiles 125
5.5 The eureptiles 128
5.6 Basal synapsid evolution 132
5.7 The Permo-Triassic mass extinction 142
5.8 Further reading 143
Questions for future research 143
5.9 References 143

6 Bounceback: tetrapods of the Triassic 147
Key questions in this chapter 148
Introduction 148
6.1 The Triassic world and its effect on the recovery of life 148
6.2 Triassic marine reptiles 150
6.3 E volution of the archosauromorphs 154
6.4 Origin of the dinosaurs 161
6.5 Reptile evolution in the Triassic 164
6.6 Further reading 168
Questions for future research 168
6.7 References 168

7 Evolution of fishes after the devonian 172
Key questions in this chapter 173
Introduction 173
7.1 The early sharks and chimaeras 173
7.2 Post-Palaeozoic chondrichthyan radiation 178
7.3 The early bony fishes 181
7.4 Radiation of the teleosts 191
7.5 Post-Devonian evolution of fishes 198
7.6 Further reading 199
Questions for future research 199
7.7 References 199

8 The age of dinosaurs 204
Key questions in this chapter 205
Introduction 205
8.1 Biology of Plateosaurus 205
8.2 The Jurassic and Cretaceous world 206
8.3 The diversity of saurischian dinosaurs 207
8.4 The diversity of ornithischian dinosaurs 221
8.5 Were the dinosaurs warm-blooded or not? 232
8.6 Pterosauria 236
8.7 Testudinata: the turtles 241
8.8 Crocodylomorpha 247
8.9 Lepidosauria: lizards and snakes 250
8.10 The great sea dragons 256
8.11 The Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction 259
8.12 Further reading 263
Questions for future research 264
8.13 References 264

9 The birds 273
Key questions in this chapter 274
Introduction 274
9.1 The origin of birds 274
9.2 The origin of bird flight 282
9.3 Cretaceous birds, with and without teeth 287
9.4 The radiation of modern birds: explosion or long fuse? 296
9.5 Flightless birds: palaeognathae 299
9.6 Neognathae 300
9.7 The three-phase diversification of birds 311
9.8 Further reading 312
Questions for future research 313
9.9 References 313

10 Mammals 318
Key questions in this chapter 319
Introduction 319
10.1 Cynodonts and the acquisition of mammalian characters 319
10.2 The first mammals 328
10.3 The Mesozoic mammals 332
10.4 Evolution of modern mammals 343
10.5 Marsupials down under 346
10.6 South American mammals – a world apart 349
10.7 Afrotheria and the break-up of Gondwana 355
10.8 Boreoeutherian beginnings: the Palaeocene in the northern hemisphere 361
10.9 Basal laurasiatherians: Lipotyphla 366
10.10 Cetartiodactyla: cattle, pigs and whales 366
10.11 Pegasoferae: bats, horses, carnivores and pangolins 375
10.12 Glires: rodents, rabbits and relatives 383
10.13 Archonta: primates, tree shrews and flying lemurs 388
10.14 Ice age extinction of large mammals 389
10.15 Further reading 390
Questions for future research 390
10.16 References 391

11 Human evolution 400
Key questions in this chapter 401
Introduction 401
11.1 What are the primates? 401
11.2 The fossil record of early primates 402
11.3 Anthropoidea: monkeys and apes 407
11.4 Hominoidea: the apes 411
11.5 E volution of human characteristics 414
11.6 The early stages of human evolution 416
11.7 The past two million years of human evolution 421
11.8 Further reading 428
Questions for future research 428
11.9 References 429

Appendix: Classification of the vertebrates 433
Glossary 448
Index 453
The colour plate section can be found between pp. 244–245


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Biography

Michael J. Benton FRS is Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Bristol. He is particularly interested in early reptiles, Triassic dinosaurs, and macroevolution, and has published over 50 books and 300 scientific articles. He leads one of the most successful palaeontology research groups at the University of Bristol, and has supervised over 60 PhD students.

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