Books  Ecological & Biological Sciences  Animal & General Biology  Animals: Vertebrate Zoology 

Hypsodonty in Mammals: Evolution, Geomorphology, and the Role of Earth Surface Processes

By: Richard H Madden(Author)

423 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Dec 2014 | #214953 | ISBN-13: 9781107012936
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £85.99 $113/€97 approx

About this book

The evolution of high-crowned teeth, hypsodonty, is a defining characteristic of many terrestrial herbivores. To date, the most prominent focus in the study of the teeth of grazing herbivores has been co-evolution with grasses and grasslands. Hypsodonty in Mammals develops the idea further and looks at the myriad ways that soil can enter the diet. Madden then expands this analysis to examine the earth surface processes that mobilize sediment in the environment. The text delivers a global perspective on tooth wear and soil erosion, with examples from the islands of New Zealand to the South American Andes, highlighting how similar geological processes worldwide result in convergent evolution. The final chapter includes a review of elodonty in the fossil record and its environmental consequences. Offering new insights into geomorphology and adaptive and evolutionary morphology, this text will be of value to any researcher interested in the evolution of tooth size and shape.

"[...] packed with data and analysis, much of it unpublished elsewhere."
– Christine Janis, Ameghiniana

"This book is a detailed and wide-ranging evaluation of an alternative explanation for the evolution of high-crowned chewing teeth in grazing mammals from South America and all over the world [...] Many of the analyses are sophisticated and complex, and the final chapter includes some philosophical musings about the metaphysics of causation. I first heard Madden discuss this issue at a conference in Bolivia a decade and a half ago. I found it exciting and important, and have been waiting to see it in print ever since. It was worth the wait."
– John G. Fleagle, The Quarterly Review of Biology



1. Hypsodonty in South America
2. Hypsodonty in the South American fossil record
3. South America and global hypsodonty
4. Excess tooth wear in New Zealand
5. Soil erosion, soil ingestion and tooth wear in Australia
6. Crown height and tooth wear on islands
7. The East African Plio-Pleistocene
8. The middle Cenozoic of Patagonia
9. Ever-growing teeth
10. Summary and conclusions


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Richard H. Madden is a research professional in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago. In over 30 years of studying mammalian ecology, he has spent extensive periods conducting paleontological surveys throughout South America. His current research focuses on geographic variation in tooth wear rates in herbivores and the impact of environmental and geological processes.

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