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Over 300 million years ago, an early land vertebrate developed an egg that contained the embryo in an amnion, allowing it to be deposited on land. This moment marked the first step in the fascinating and complex evolutionary journey of the reptiles. In The Rise of Reptiles, paleontologist Hans-Dieter Sues explores the diversity of reptilian lineages, discussing the relationships among turtles, crocodylians, lizards and snakes, and many extinct groups.
Reflecting the tremendous advances in the study of reptilian diversity and phylogeny over recent decades, The Rise of Reptiles is the first detailed, contemporary synthesis of the evolutionary history of these remarkable animals. Reptiles have always confused taxonomists, who have endlessly debated and rewritten their classifications. In this book, Sues adopts an explicitly phylogenetic framework to sift through the evidence and discuss the origin and diversification of Reptilia in a way no one has before. He also examines the genealogical link between dinosaurs and birds and sheds new light on the Age of Reptiles, a period that saw the rise and fall of most dinosaurs.
With this single meticulously researched volume, Sues paints a complete portrait of the reptilian evolution. Numerous photographs of key specimens from around the world introduce readers to the reptilian fossil record, and color images of present-day reptiles illustrate their diversity. The extensive bibliography provides an invaluable guide for readers who are interested in exploring individual topics more deeply. Accurate, synthetic, and sweeping, The Rise of Reptiles is the definitive work on the subject.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Amniotes and Reptiles
Chapter 3 Parareptilia: A Group of Their Own
Chapter 4 Basal Eureptilia and Nonsaurian Diapsida: Early Evolution of Modern Reptiles
Chapter 5 Testudinata: Turtles and Their Stem-Taxa
Chapter 6 Sauropterygia, Ichthyosauromorpha, and Related Reptiles: The Early Mesozoic Invasion of the Sea
Chapter 7 Lepidosauromorpha: Tuatara, Lizards, Snakes, and Their Relatives
Chapter 8 Archosauromorpha: The Ruling Reptiles and Their Relatives
Chapter 9 Pseudosuchia: Crocodile-Line Reptiles
Chapter 10 Avemetatarsalia: Bird-Line Reptiles
Chapter 11 Dinosauria: Saurischia
Chapter 12 Dinosauria: Ornithischia
Chapter 13 A Brief History of Reptiles
Chapter 14 The Future of Reptiles
Hans-Dieter Sues is a senior scientist and curator of fossil vertebrates at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. He is the coauthor of Triassic Life on Land: The Great Transition.
"A valuable reference book – entertaining read and beautifully illustrated – about how reptiles first evolved and diversified into many lineages, including the one leading to us mammals. The Rise of Reptiles is essential reading for every evolutionary biologist."
– John Long, Flinders University, coauthor of Feathered Dinosaurs: The Origin of Birds