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The Animal Kingdom: A Very Short Introduction

Popular Science

Series: Very Short Introduction Series (VSI) Volume: 293

By: Peter Holland

130 pages, 15 b/w line drawings

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Nov 2011 | #191633 | ISBN-13: 9780199593217
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days
NHBS Price: £7.99 $10/€9 approx

About this book

The animal world is immensely diverse, and our understanding of it has been greatly enhanced by analysis of DNA and the study of evolution and development ('evo-devo'). In this "Very Short Introduction" Peter Holland presents a modern tour of the animal kingdom. Beginning with the definition of animals (not obvious in biological terms), he takes the reader through the high-level groupings of animals (phyla) and new views on their evolutionary relationships based on molecular data, together with an overview of the biology of each group of animals. The phylogenetic view is central to zoology today and the volume will be of great value to all students of the life sciences, as well as providing a concise summary for the interested general reader.


1: What is an animal?
2: Animal phyla
3: The evolutionary tree of animals
4: Basal animals: corals, sponges and jellyfish
5: The bilaterians: building a body
6: Lophotrochozoa: wondrous worms
7: Ecdysozoa: insects and nematodes
8: Deuterostomes I: starfish, sea squirts and amphioxus
9: Deuterostomes II: the rise of vertebrates
10: Deuterostomes III: vertebrates on land
11: Enigmatic animals

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Peter Holland is Linacre Professor of Zoology and Associate Head of Department, as well as Fellow of Merton College. After a degree in Zoology and a PhD in Genetics he has spent the last 20 years undertaking and directing research into the evolution of the animal kingdom, focussing primarily on the genetic and developmental differences between animal groups. This research has been published over 140 research papers, including some in Nature and Science.

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