520 pages, 110 b/w photos, 120 b/w illustrations, tables
Our knowledge of the origin and early evolution of birds has exploded in the past ten to fifteen years. In the 1990s alone, scientists became aware of approximately three times more species of early birds than were previously known, marking the first 85 million years of avian development as a period of remarkable species diversity. Assembling work by an international group of renowned scientists, Mesozoic Birds: Above the Heads of Dinosaurs is the most authoritative and up-to-date source on early avian evolution currently available. This unique resource provides a comprehensive examination of the known fossil record and is also an unparalleled guide to the fast-paced developments in current research.
Mesozoic Birds: Above the Heads of Dinosaurs covers a wide range of topics, including discussions of avian origins, the fossil record of feathers and footprints, bone histology, and locomotor evolution. Controversial taxa such as Protoavis, Caudipteryx, and Mononykus receive special treatment. But the heart of the volume presents the anatomy, relationships, and paleobiology of the undisputed Mesozoic aviary. Some of Mesozoic Birds: Above the Heads of Dinosaurs's most exciting features are the new definitive descriptions and illustrations of taxa that previously have received only brief notice, such as the alvarezsaurid Shuvuuia; the enantiornithines Sinornis; Eoalulavis, Vorona, and Patagopteryx; and the hesperornithiform Enaliornis.
The origin of birds and their relationship to dinosaurs continue to be hotly debated among paleontologists, ornithologists, and evolutionary biologists. This cutting-edge reference will become an essential resource for those interested in this debate and in the many other fascinating topics relating to the evolution of the earliest known birds.
"Impressive [...] Serious students of early birds and closely related theropods would be prudent to include this progress report among their core references."
– Bradley Livezey, Science (AAAS)
"Mesozoic Birds is the first book to bring together world-renowned specialists on fossil birds and their importance to avian origins and, more importantly, it stresses a unified approach (cladistics) and presents the most anatomically detailed analyses available to date. No other study or collection of studies has ever done so much. How could the project not be welcomed by its audience of paleontologists, ornithologists, and evolutionary biologists!"
– David Weishampel, editor of The Dinosauria
"This is the first comprehensive volume dedicated to the relationships and evolution of the birds that lived during the Age of Dinosaurs. Its wealth of information and its diversity of viewpoints will ensure that this indispensable volume is used and discussed for many years to come."
– Kevin Padian, University of California, Berkeley
Part I: The Archosaurian Heritage of Birds
1. The Debate on Avian Ancestry: Phylogeny, Function, and Fossils
LAWRENCE M. WITMER
2. Cladistic Approaches to the Relationships of Birds to Other Theropod Dinosaurs
JAMES M. CLARK, MARK A. NORELL, AND PETER J. MAKOVICKY
Part II: Taxa of Controversial Status
3. The Enigmatic Birdlike Dinosaur Avimimus portentosus: Comments and a Pictorial Atlas
PATRICIA VICKERS-RICH, LUIS M. CHIAPPE, AND SERGEI KURZANOV
4. The Cretaceous, Short-Armed Alvarezsauridae: Mononykus and Its Kin
LUIS M. CHIAPPE, MARK A. NORELL, AND JAMES M. CLARK
5. Alvarezsaurid Relationships Reconsidered
FERNANDO E. NOVAS AND DIEGO POL
Part III: The Mesozoic Aviary: Anatomy and Systematics
6. Archaeopterygidae (Upper Jurassic of Germany)
7. The Discovery and Study of Mesozoic Birds in China
ZHOU ZHONGHE AND HOU LIANHAI
8. Sinornis santensis (Aves: Enantiornithes) from the Early Cretaceous of Northeastern China
PAUL C. SERENO, RAO CHENGGANG, AND LI JIANJUN
9. The Birds from the Lower Cretaceous of Las Hoyas (Province of Cuenca, Spain)
JOSÉ L. SANZ, BERNARDINO P. PÉREZ-MORENO, LUIS M. CHIAPPE, AND ANGELA D. BUSCALIONI
10. Noguerornis gonzalezi (Aves) from the Early Cretaceous of Spain
LUIS M. CHIAPPE AND ANTONIO LACASA-RUIZ
11. Skeletal Morphology and Systematics of the Cretaceous Euenantiornithes (Ornithothoraces: Enantiornithes)
LUIS M. CHIAPPE AND CYRIL A. WALKER
12. Vorona berivotrensis, a Primitive Bird from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar
CATHERINE A. FORSTER, LUIS M. CHIAPPE, DAVID W. KRAUSE, AND SCOTT D. SAMPSON
13. Osteology of the Flightless Patagopteryx deferrariisi from the Late Cretaceous of Patagonia (Argentina)
LUIS M. CHIAPPE
14. Enaliornis, an Early Cretaceous Hesperornithiform Bird from England, with Comments on other Hesperornithiformes
PETER M. GALTON AND LARRY D. MARTIN
15. The Mesozoic Radiation of Neornithes
16. A Review of Avian Mesozoic Fossil Feathers
ALEXANDER W. A. KELLNER
17. The Track Record of Mesozoic Birds and Pterosaurs: An Ichnological and Paleoecological Perspective
MARTIN G. LOCKLEY AND EMMA C. RAINFORTH
Part IV: Functional Morphology and Evolution
18. Bone Microstructure of Early Birds
19. Locomotor Evolution on the Line to Modern Birds
STEPHEN M. GATESY
20. Basal Bird Phylogeny: Problems and Solutions
LUIS M. CHIAPPE
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Luis M. Chiappe is Curator and Chairman of the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. He is the coauthor of Walking on Eggs (2001) and The Tiniest Giants (1999).
Lawrence M. Witmer is Associate Professor of Anatomy at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and author of The Search for the Origin of Birds (1995).