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More than 300 million years ago, during the period known as the Carboniferous, there emerged a group of four-legged animals known as synapsids. Their descendents, the therapsids, would eventually give rise to mammals.
Beginning with an introduction to the synapsids, their descendents, and the ancient world in which they lived, this book surveys their radiation, histology, and biology. It documents types of bone microstructure and their biological implications, provides insights into their biology and the evolution of endothermy in the group, and highlights areas for future research.
List of Contributors
1. The Origin and Radiation of Therapsids Tom S. Kemp
2. Therapsid Biodiversity Patterns and Paleoenvironments of the Karoo Basin, South Africa Roger Smith, Bruce Rubidge, and Merrill van der Walt
3. The Microstructure of Bones and Teeth of Nonmammalian Therapsids Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
4. The Paleobiology and Bone Microstructure of Pelycosaurian-Grade Synapsids Adam K. Huttenlocker and Elizabeth Rega
5. Dicynodont Growth Dynamics and Lifestyle Adaptations Sanghamitra Ray, Jennifer Botha-Brink, and Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
6. Biological Inferences of the Cranial Microstructure of the Dicynodonts Oudenodon and Lystrosaurus Sandra C. Jasinoski and Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
7. Bone and Dental Histology of Late Triassic Dicynodonts from North America Jeremy L. Green
8. Bone Histology of Some Therocephalians and Gorgonopsians, and Evidence of Bone Degradation by Fungi Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan and Sanghamitra Ray
9. The Radiation and Osteohistology of Nonmammaliaform Cynodonts Jennifer Botha-Brink, Fernando Abdala, and Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
10. The Radiation, Bone Histology, and Biology of Early Mammals Jorn H. Hurum and Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
11. The Evolution of Mammalian Endothermy John A. Ruben, Willem J. Hillenius, Tom S. Kemp, and Devon E. Quick
Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan is a paleobiologist and global expert on fossil bone microstructure. She is Professor and Fellow of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is former director of the National History Collections, Iziko Museums of Cape Town. She is author of "The Microstructure of Dinosaur Bone: Deciphering Biology through Fine Scale Analysis" and "Famous Dinosaurs of Africa".
Ever since Nick Holton's book from 1980 we have needed an update on the biology of therapsids, and it has been Anusuya Chinsamy and her students and associates who through their bone histological work have made the greatest progress in this field.
- Martin Sander, Steinman Institute, University of Bonn