The first vertebrate animals appear in the fossil record over 520 million years ago. These lineages diversified and eventually crept ashore leading to further evolutionary divergence and the appearance of the familiar charismatic vertebrates of today. From the tiniest fishes, diminutive salamanders, and miniaturized lizards to gargantuan dinosaurs, enormous brontotheres, and immense whales, vertebrates have captured the imagination of the lay public as well as the most erudite academics. They are among the best-studied organisms. Vertebrate Evolution employs beautifully rendered illustrations of these diverse lineages along with informative text to document a rich evolutionary history. The prolific and best-selling author reveals much of the latest findings regarding the phylogenetic history of vertebrates without overwhelming the reader with pedantry and excessive jargon. Simultaneously, comprehensive and authoritative while being approachable and lucid, Vertebrate Evolution should appeal to both the scholar, the student, and the fossil enthusiast.
2. The Origin of Vertebrates
3. Jawless fish
4. Primitive gnathostomes
5. Bony Fish
6. The transition to land
7. Tetrapods diversify
8. Primitive reptiles
9. Back to the sea: marine reptiles
10. The Scaly ones: Lizards and snakes
11. Ruling Reptiles: Archosaurs
14. Origin of dinosaurs
15. Ornithischian dinosaurs I
16. Ornithischian dinosaurs II
20. Synapsids: The origin of mammals: Synapsids
21. Primitive Mammals: Mesozoic Mammals, Monotremes, and Marsupials
22. The placental explosion: The Mammals Diversify
23. Laurasiatheria I: Carnivores, Bat, Insectivores, and their Kin
24. Laurasiatheria II: The Ungulates
25. Euarchontoglires: Rodents, Rabbits, Primates—And Humans
Donald Prothero has taught college geology and palaeontology for 40 years, at Caltech, Columbia, Cal Poly Pomona, and Occidental, Knox, Vassar, Glendale, Mt. San Antonio, and Pierce Colleges. He earned his B.A. in geology and biology (highest honours, Phi Beta Kappa, College Award) from the University of California Riverside in 1976, and his M.A. (1978), M.Phil. (1979), and PhD (1982) in geological sciences from Columbia University. He is the author of over 40 books (including 8 leading geology textbooks, and several trade books), and over 300 scientific papers, mostly on the evolution of fossil mammals (especially rhinos, camels, and horses) and on using the earth's magnetic field changes to date fossil-bearing strata. He has been on the editorial boards of journals such as Geology, Paleobiology, Journal of Paleontology, and Skeptic magazine. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, the Paleontological Society, and the Geological Society of America, and also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Science Foundation. He served as President of Pacific Section SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) in 2012, and served for five years as Program Chair of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. In 1991, he received the Charles Schuchert Award for outstanding palaeontologist under the age of 40. In 2013, he received the James Shea Award of the National Association of Geology Teachers for outstanding writing and editing the geosciences. In 2015, he received the Joseph T. Gregory award for service to vertebrate palaeontology. In 2016 he was named a "Friend of Darwin" by the National Center for Science Education. He has been featured on numerous TV documentaries, including Paleoworld, Walking with Prehistoric Beasts, Prehistoric Monsters Revealed, Monsterquest, Prehistoric Predators: Entelodon and Hyaenodon, Conspiracy Road Trip: Creationism, as well as Jeopardy! and Win Ben Stein's Money.
"A must have for anyone with an interest in vertebrate evolution!"
– The Bird Booker Report, May 2022