Although birds have rather uniform body plan and physiology, they exhibit marked variation in developmental type, parental care, and rate of growth. This makes them ideal for studying and understanding evolutionary adaptation. Presenting an integrative perspective of organism biology, ecology, and evolution, this book is a case study in the evolutionary diversification of life histories.
"When eggs hatch, neonatal birds range from naked, blind, highly altricial songbirds, totally dependent on parental warmth and feeding, through highly precocial megapods that use their fully functional beaks, legs, wings, and brains to dig their way out of incubation mounds, and raise themselves with no parental care. . . . In 17 technical chapters by 20 authors, this volume summarizes many current perspectives on the causes and consequences of this diversity, updating Margaret Nice's classic treatment of the field 40 years ago. . . . In a final, appendix-like chapter, the editors list 1117 estimates of a standard set of four avian growth parameters for 557 species, compiled and derived from the literature. They use these data to analyse growth rate patterns at different taxonomic levels in an earlier chapter. I expect others to use these data to test diverse hypotheses for years to come."--The Quarterly Review of Biology
"[T]his book should be present on the shelves of every ac
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