This book was published following the 17th Annual Short Course of the Paleontological Society Held at the 106th Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of Amer Sunday, October 23,1994, Seattle, Washington.
This short course focuses on the highlights of vertebrate evolution, particularly the origin of the major vertebrate classes and their subsequent diversification. Since there have been previous short courses on dinosaurs and mammals, most of this program emphasizes the origin of vertebrates, plus fishes, amphibians, birds, and other topics not previously covered. However, our understanding of fossil mammals has changed greatly in the ten years since the 1984 short course, so three talks on important new developments in synapsid and mammalian palaeontology have been included. Clearly, not every topic in vertebrate paleontology can be covered in only twelve talks, but the editors feel that most of the critical new ideas are represented.