Major Transitions in Vertebrate Evolution

Major Transitions in Vertebrate Evolution

Distribution: World
Publication date: 09/11/2007
Format: Hardback 76 b&w photos, 27 color photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-34926-2
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New discoveries of ancient vertebrates, filling in gaps in the fossil record, are quickly eroding the traditionally recognized differences between the principal groups of vertebrates—for example, between dinosaurs and birds—and radically changing our understanding of the evolutionary history of the major group of animals to which our species belongs. This book describes this changing scientific landscape and contributes to the revolution in our knowledge of the developmental mechanisms that underlie evolutionary transformation.

Author Bio

Jason S. Anderson is a vertebrate paleontologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary. He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Paleontology.

Hans-Dieter Sues is a vertebrate paleontologist and Associate Director for Research and Collections, National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution.


Very topical, particularly from an evo—devo perspective. The authors are top—notch, each appropriate to the topics under consideration.The topic is one of the most fascinating aspects of the general field of vertebrate paleobiology. The range of chapters and the reputation of the authors as experts in their fields make this a significant contribution.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Studying Evolutionary Transitions among Vertebrates Hans-Dieter Sues and Jason S. Anderson
1. Plasticity of and Transitions between Skeletal Tissues in Vertebrate Evolution and Development Brian K. Hall and P. Eckard Witten
2. Homologies and Evolutionary Transitions in Early Vertebrate History Philippe Janvier
3. Paired Fins of Jawless Vertebrates and Their Homologies across the "Agnathan"-Gnathostome Transition Mark V. H. Wilson, Gavin F. Hanke, and Tiiu Märss
4. MODEs of Developmental Evolution: An Example with the Origin and Definition of the Autopodium Hans C. E. Larsson
5. Incorporating Ontogeny into the Matrix: A Phylogenetic Evaluation of Developmental Evidence for the Origin of Modern Amphibians Jason S. Anderson
6. The Cranial Anatomy of Basal Diadectomorphs and the Origin of Amniotes Robert R. Reisz
7. Snake Phylogeny, Origins, and Evolution: The Role, Impact, and Importance of Fossils (1869<N>2006) Michael W. Caldwell
8. The Beginnings of Birds: Recent Discoveries, Ongoing Arguments, and New Directions Luis M. Chiappe and Gareth J. Dyke
9. Successive Diversifications in Early Mammalian Evolution Zhe-Xi Luo
10. The Terrestrial to Aquatic Transition in Cetacea Mark D. Uhen