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How well can we reconstruct the appearance, movements and behaviour of extinct vertebrates from studies of their bones and other preserved parts? This book, through sixteen essays, examines these questions by reviewing the latest studies.
1. On the inference of function from structure; 2. The extant phylogenetic bracket and the importance of reconstructing soft tissues in fossils; 3. Fossils, function and phylogeny; 4. Masticatory function in nonmammalian cynodonts and early mammals; 5. Correlations between craniodental morphology and feeding behavior in ungulates: reciprocal illumination between living and fossil taxa; 6. Functional predictions from theoretical models of the skull and jaws in reptiles and mammals; 7. Carnassial functioning in nimravid and felid sabretooths: theoretical basis and robustness of inferences; 8. The artificial determination of wear patterns on tooth models as a means to infer mandibular movement during feeding in mammals; 9. Determination of stresses in mammalian dental enamel and their relevance to the interpretation of feeding behaviors in extinct taxa; 10. The structural consequences of skull flattening in crocodilians; 11. Graphical analysis of dermal skull roof patterns; 12. The forelimb of Torosaurus, and an analysis of the posture and gait of ceratopsian dinosaurs; 13. Functional evolution of the hindlimb and tail from basal theropods to birds; 14. Functional interpretation of spinal anatomy in living and fossil amniotes; 15. To what extent may the mechanical environment of a bone be inferred from its internal architecture?; 16. Form vs function: the evolution of a dialectic.
'... as a discussion of the major developments in the past decade or so, particularly in the move towards more testing and robustness of interpretation, this is an invaluable text.' New Scientist '... for graduate study and serious research, this is an important collection of bench-mark papers ... A rich seam to be mined for a long period of study.' Arthur Cruikshank, Open University Geological Society Journal