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Gaining Ground: The Origin and Evolution of Tetrapods

Popular Science

Series: Life of the Past

By: Jennifer A Clack(Author)

539 pages, 16 plates with 18 colour photos; 238 b/w photos and illustrations

Indiana University Press

Hardback | Jul 2012 | Edition: 2 | #192041 | ISBN-13: 9780253356758
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £47.99 $63/€53 approx

About this book

Please note: not to be confused with the book by David Lavigne by the same title

Around 370 million years ago, a distant relative of a modern lungfish began a most extraordinary adventure – emerging from the water and laying claim to the land. Over the next 70 million years, this tentative beachhead had developed into a worldwide colonization by ever-increasing varieties of four-limbed creatures know as tetrapods, the ancestors of all vertebrate life on land.

This new edition of Jennifer A. Clack's groundbreaking Gaining Ground tells the complex story of their emergence and evolution. Beginning with their closest relatives, the lobe-fin fishes such as lungfishes and coelacanths, Clack defines what a tetrapod is, describes their anatomy, and explains how they are related to other vertebrates. She looks at the Devonian environment in which they evolved, describes the known and newly discovered species, and explores the order and timing of anatomical changes that occurred during the fish-to-tetrapod transition.

"This outstanding update of early tetrapod anatomy, phylogeny and systematics [...] will be extremely useful to students and lecturers in palaeontology, geology, zoology and general biology [and] a `must' for researchers in the field."
- Nature

"A landmark review of some of the most important discoveries in vertebrate biology and evolution during the close of the past century."

"A wonderful tale encrypted in fossils, genes, and flesh."
- Carl Zimmer, author of At the Water's Edge



One Introduction
Two Skulls and Skeletons in Transition
Three Relationships and Relatives: The Lobe-Fin Family
Four Setting the Scene: The Devonian World
Five The First Feet: Tetrapods of the Famennian
Six From Fins to Feet: Transformation and Transition
Seven Emerging into the Carboniferous: The First Phase
Eight East Kirkton and the Roots of the Modern Family Tree
Nine The Late Carboniferous: Expanding Horizons
Ten Gaining Ground: The Evolution of Terrestriality


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Jennifer A. Clack is Professor and Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge. She was awarded the 2008 Daniel Giraud Elliot medal, by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and in 2009 was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Foreign Honorary Member by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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