The evolutionary history of Arthropoda is essential to a complete understanding of biodiversity. The group of invertebrates, which includes such fauna as trilobites and crustaceans, has represented life's most diverse phylum for nearly 600 million years. How does the fossil record illuminate the history of this phylum and its major components? Are the interrelationships among groups of arthropods resolved whether or not fossils are included? Which taxa play a decisive role in altering hypotheses based on extant arthropods? And how can disparate lines of evidence from fossil and living taxa be integrated into a robust phylogenetic scheme for Arthropoda? Each of the contributors to this book addresses a major issue in arthropod diversity by reviewing evidence of key fossils from a common perspective, and examining the interplay between extinct and extant species through inference of the structure of the arthropod evolutionary tree. The growth of research in high-level phylogeny of Arthropoda and the scientific interest in the role that fossils play in phylogenetic analysis inspire this volume.
The recent growth of knowledge of DNA sequencing has also added to the more complete appraisal of the history of arthropods. This volume advances the debate on paleontology's role in discovering life's hierarchy and should be of interest to specialists in a wide range of fields including paleontology, petroleum geology, oceanography and entomology.
"The editor has solicited all specialists currently involved in this field of research and instructed them to give their frank opinion. The result is most interesting: though in some of the major issues a trend to consensus can be noted, in other topics opinions diverge widely, and all have been amply corroborated by sound arguments! In this way we receive the most timely information "right from the horse's mouth" and we become aware of the latest developments from the very forefront of science. It seems clear that anyone who'd wish to contribute to the field encompassing the origin and diversification of the arthropod phylum in forthcoming years, can find a thorough and comprehensive reference in the various contributions put together in this volume...Not surprisingly, the crustaceans figure prominently in many of the papers: items like their position in the arthropod tree (Chapters 1, 2), their relationships with annelids/annelid-like ancestors and crustacean-like extinct groups (Ch. 2), the origin of the schizoramous limb (Ch. 4, 5) and the origin and homology of the various, differentiated appendages of the crustaceans, approached just as well from a phylogenetic as from an ontogenetic point of view (Ch. 5), and, finally, the interrelationships of the taxa composing the Crustacea, both extant and extinct (Ch. 6), are all addressed in extenso by the various contributors.The composition, lay-out, printing, and binding have been well taken care of: a fine publication indeed, loaded with interesting details on the roots as well as the radiation(s) of the jointed-legged animals." -- J. C. von Vaupel Klein, "Crustaceana"