Convergent Evolution: Animal Form and Function presents a series of case studies, at different levels of inclusivity, of how organisms exhibit functional convergence as a key evolutionary mechanism resulting in responses to similar environmental constraints in mechanically similar ways. The contributors to this volume have selected and documented cases of convergent evolution of form and function that are perceived to be driven by environmental abiotic and/or biotic challenges that fall within their areas of expertise. Collectively these chapters explore this phenomenon across a broad phylogenetic spectrum. The sequence of chapters follows the organizational principle of increasing phylogenetic inclusivity, rather than the clustering of chapters by the perceived similarity of the phenotypic features or biomechanical challenges being considered. This is done to maintain focus on the evolutionary phenomenon that is the primary subject matter of the book, thereby providing a basis for discussion among the readership about what is necessary and sufficient to justify the recognition of functional convergence. All chapters stress the need for integrative approaches for the elucidation of both pattern and process as they relate to convergence at various taxonomic levels.
Vincent Bels was born in Verviers, Belgium. He completed his PhD at the University of Liège on the topic of behavioural ritualization. Currently, Professor at the Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle de Paris (France), he investigates the evolution of feeding, drinking, locomotion, and display behaviours in vertebrates. His main objective is the integration of behavioural and functional studies to arrive at a more comprehensive understanding of the "Form-Function" complex as it relates to the evolution of organisms.
Anthony Patrick Russell was born in London, UK. He completed his PhD at the University of London in the area of functional anatomy. As a Professor at the University of Calgary, he has authored over 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles, 19 chapters, and three books. The continuing focus of his research has been the structure, function and evolution of geckos. Outside the University he has served as President of the Canadian Society of Zoologists, and President of the International Society of Vertebrate Morphologists.