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Vertebrate Palaeontology - Michael J. Benton

Vertebrate Palaeontology

By: Michael J. Benton

Paperback | 5 August 2024 | Edition Number 5

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All-new edition of the world's leading vertebrate palaeontology textbook, now addressing key evolutionary transitions and ecological drivers for vertebrate evolution

Richly illustrated with colour illustrations of the key species and cladograms of all major vertebrate taxa, Vertebrate Palaeontology provides a complete account of the evolution of vertebrates, including macroevolutionary trends and drivers that have shaped their organs and body plans, key transitions such as terrestrialization, endothermy, flight and impacts of mass extinctions on biodiversity and ecological drivers behind the origin of chordates and vertebrates, their limbs, jaws, feathers, and hairs.

This revised and updated fifth edition features numerous recent examples of breakthrough discoveries in line with the current macroevolutionary approach in palaeontology research, such as the evolutionary drivers that have shaped vertebrate development. Didactical features have been enhanced and include new functional and developmental feature spreads, key questions, and extensive references to useful websites.

Written by a leading academic in the field, Vertebrate Palaeontology discusses topics such as:

  • Palaeozoic fishes, including Cambrian vertebrates, placoderms ('armour-plated monsters'), Pan-Chondrichthyes such as sharks and rays, and Osteichthyes ('bony fishes')
  • The first tetrapods, covering problems of life on land, diversity of Carboniferous tetrapods and temnospondyls and reptiliomorphs following the Carboniferous
  • Mesozoic reptiles, such as Testudinata (turtles), Crocodylomorpha, Pterosauria, Dinosauria, great sea dragons and Lepidosauria (lizards and snakes)
  • Mammals of the southern and northern hemispheres, covering Xenarthra (sloths, anteaters), Afrotheria (African mammals), Laurasiatheria (bats, ungulates, carnivores), and Euarchontoglires (rodents, primates)

A highly comprehensive and completely up-to-date reference on vertebrate evolution, Vertebrate Palaeontology is an ideal learning aid for palaeontology courses in biology and geology departments. The text is also highly valuable to enthusiasts who want to experience the flavour of how modern research in the field is conducted.