From shrews to blue whales, placental mammals are among the most diverse and successful vertebrates on the Earth. Arising sometime near the Late Cretaceous, this broad clade of mammals contains more than 1,000 genera and approximately 4,400 extant species. Although much studied, the origin and diversification of the placentals continue to be a source of debate.
Paleontologists Kenneth D. Rose and J. David Archibald have assembled the world's leading authorities to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date evolutionary history of placental mammals. Focusing on anatomical evidence, the contributors present an unbiased scientific account of the initial radiation and ordinal relationships of placental mammals, representing both the consensus and significant minority viewpoints. The Rise of Placental Mammals will be invaluable to paleontologists, evolutionary biologists, mammalogists, and students.
"Placental Mammals achieves a balance between molecular work, on the one hand, and anatomical and paleontological work, on the other. Influential figures of twentieth-century studies of placental mammalian phylogenetics are fulsomely acknowledged, particularly W. K. Gregory and G. G. Simpson [...] A complete treatment of uniformly high quality has emerged [...] A tribute to the vision and dynamism of the editors, and a vindication of their choice of contributors [...] This timely volume somehow represents that biological cliche: synthesis."
– Trends in Ecology and Evolution
"The volume should be welcome bedside reading for all mammal systematicists and anyone interested in the evolution of mammals."
– Science 2005
"An excellent summary of current thinking about the higher levels of mammalian evolution."
– Choice 2006
"Not only an up-to-date textbook, but a detailed source of reference for all readers interested in mammals and their evolution."
– Giessen P. Langer, Mammalian Biology 2005
"I give this book a glowing review and a high recommendation"
– James W. Waddick, Science Books and Films 2005
"I recommend the book to all those interested in the evolutionary history of placentals."
– Lucja Fostowicz-Frelik, Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 2006
"An excellent reference on the current state of knowledge and issues surrounding the origin, diversification, and phylogenetic position of placental mammalian clades."
– Christopher C. Gilbert, Evolutionary Anthropology 2007
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Kenneth D. Rose is a professor at the Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a research associate at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.
J. David Archibald is a professor of biology at San Diego State University.