In Pursuit of Early Mammals

In Pursuit of Early Mammals

Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/12/2013
Format: Hardback 7 color illus., 71 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-00817-6
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In Pursuit of Early Mammals presents the history of the mammals that lived during the Mesozoic era, the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and describes their origins, anatomy, systematics, paleobiology, and distribution. It also tells the story of the author, a world-renowned specialist on these animals, and the other prominent paleontologists who have studied them. Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska was the first woman to lead large-scale paleontological expeditions, including eight to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, which brought back important collections of dinosaur, early mammal, and other fossils. She shares the difficulties and pleasures encountered in finding rare fossils and describes the changing views on early mammals made possible by these discoveries.

Author Bio

Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska, Professor Emerita at the Institute of Pa¬leobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, is a world-renowned specialist on Mesozoic mammals. She is author of Hunting for Dinosaurs and (with R. L. Cifelli and Z.-X. Luo) Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs: Origins, Evolution, and Structure. Between 1963 and 1971, Kielan-Jaworowska organized eight paleontological expeditions to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. These expeditions assembled an impressive collec¬tion of dinosaurs and Cretaceous mammals. Her research has focused on the study of the detailed structure of the brain and musculature of early mammals and their evolutionary relationships.


“This history of the mammals that lived during the Mesozoic era describes their origins, anatomy, systematics, paleobiology, and distribution and follows the story of the author, a world-renowned specialist, and other prominent paleontologists.”

“A fascinating window into the development of the field . . . The perspective of an individual at the center of these developments is captivating, informative, and has never before been published . . . An excellent starting point for any student interested in this field and for laymen interested in the path of scientific discovery.”
 — Gregory P. Wilson, University of Washington

“Nobody is better suited or more qualified to summarize how research on early mammal evolution has made its numerous breakthroughs than Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska. No one alive has had her kind of long and rich experience and her very diverse collaborations with scientists worldwide. . . . In my view, in the whole area of studies on Mesozoic mammal evolution for the past 100 years, only the late American paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson would be her equal.”
 — Zhe-Xi Luo, Carnegie Museum of Natural History

“Mesozoic mammal fossils are the focus of this fascinating book, which reviews both the fossils themselves and the history of their discovery. Paleontologist Kielan-Jaworowska . . . is uniquely qualified to synthesize the state of this field with its history; she has worked with various international collaborators for 50 years . . . Highly recommended. ”
 — Choice

“Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska provides a thorough review of the current state of early mammalian paleontology presented through the unique historical filter of someone who was at the foremost of the field for over half a century.”

“Part textbook, part personal narrative, this book succeeds in blending genres because of the warmth of the author. Whether she’s talking about how mammals evolved their distinctive ear bones, or how she built a cabin out of plywood during a particularly cold field season in the Gobi, you know that a remarkable, passionate person is telling a story of science and adventure in her own words. ”
 — Priscum

“Overall, this book provides an excellent description of the Mesozoic mammals. In addition to the author's personal experiences, she provides an overview of today’s knowledge, with excellent illustrations, readable and up-to-date, and accompanied by a wealth of information on the people who have helped to further our knowledge. The reviewer is not aware of a similar work by another author. The book is recommended for anyone who is interested in the early history of the mammal . . .”
 — Zentralblatt für Geologie und Paläontologie

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Methods: Collecting Materials and Establishing Relationships
3. Paleontological Exploration of Mongolia by American, Japanese, Soviet and Russian Expeditions
4. Polish-Mongolian Expeditions, and the Nomadic Expedition, 2002
5. Origins of Mammals and the Earliest Representatives of Mammaliaforms and Mammals
6. Haramiyidans and Probable Related Forms
7. Docodontans
8. Eutriconodontans
9. Monotremes and the Issue of Australosphenida and Boreosphenida
10. Multituberculates and Gondwanatherians
11. "Symmetrodontans"
12. "Eupantotherians" and the Origin of Pseudotribosphenic Molars
13. Tribotheria, Matatheria, and the Issue of Deltatheroida
14. Eutherian and Placental Mammals
15. Paleobiology of Mammaliaforms and Early Mammals
16. Diversification of Mammaliaforms and Mesozoic Mammals: A Summary

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