630 pages, 139 illus
The fossil record on Mesozoic mammals has expanded by orders of magnitude over the past quarter century. New specimens, some of them breathtakingly complete, have poured in from almost all parts of the globe. These discoveries, together with the application of new scientific approaches and techniques, have led to profound changes in our interpretation of early mammal history. Mesozoic mammals have come into their own as an important, rich source of information for evolutionary biology in general. Their record of episodic, successive radiations speaks to the pace and mode of evolution. Early mammals were small, but they provide key information on the morphological transformations that led to modern mammals, including our own lineage of Placentalia. Early mammals were significant and fast-evolving elements of the terrestrial biota for much of the Mesozoic, and they have played an increasingly important role in studies of paleoecology, faunal turnover, and historical biogeography. The record of early mammals occupies center stage with regard to testing molecular evolutionary hypotheses on the timing and sequence of mammalian radiations.
Organized around their phylogeny, this book thoroughly covers all aspects of the anatomy, paleobiology, and systematics of early mammalian groups, in addition to the extant lineages with long history extending back into Mesozoic. Numerous detailed maps and line drawings enhance the text.
About the Author
Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska is professor emeritus at the Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw and the University of Oslo. Richard L. Cifelli is curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History and professor of zoology at the University of Oklahoma. Zhe-Xi Luo is curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.
A greatly needed summary and updating of new knowledge about early mammalian history... both a milestone marking current progress in our understanding of these wonderful beasts and a starting line of challenges for future research. -- Jason A. Lillegraven & William A. Clemens (foreword) " Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs provides a solid foundation for the continuing quest to shed light on the extensive Mesozoic history of mammals. " -- Hans Sues, Science "Only once in a decade, if then, is a milestone book such as this one published...Essential." -- Choice "A fantastic book on the new collections of Mesozoic mammals." -- Journal of the AMerican Association of Forensic Dentists "I am glad to own two copies... I expect to wear out both copies long before a comparable work emerges." -- Timothy Rowe, Nature "Quite interesting... every species of Mesozoic mammal currently known can be found between these covers." -- Lynne M. Clos, Fossil News "A valuable synthesis of what is known about early mammals... It will undoubtedly become the classic reference on the subject." -- Southeastern Naturalist
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