Avian Evolution

Author: Gerald Mayr
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1119020727
Format: PDF
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Knowledge of the evolutionary history of birds has much improved in recent decades. Fossils from critical time periods are being described at unprecedented rates and modern phylogenetic analyses have provided a framework for the interrelationships of the extant groups. This book gives an overview of the avian fossil record and its paleobiological significance, and it is the only up-to-date textbook that covers both Mesozoic and more modern-type Cenozoic birds in some detail. The reader is introduced to key features of basal avians and the morphological transformations that have occurred in the evolution towards modern birds. An account of the Cenozoic fossil record sheds light on the biogeographic history of the extant avian groups and discusses fossils in the context of current phylogenetic hypotheses. This review of the evolutionary history of birds not only addresses students and established researchers, but it may also be a useful source of information for anyone else with an interest in the evolution of birds and a moderate background in biology and geology.

Dinosaur Paleobiology

Author: Stephen L. Brusatte
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 0470656581
Format: PDF, Docs
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The study of dinosaurs has been experiencing a remarkable renaissance over the past few decades. Scientific understanding of dinosaur anatomy, biology, and evolution has advanced to such a degree that paleontologists often know more about 100-million-year-old dinosaurs than many species of living organisms. This book provides a contemporary review of dinosaur science intended for students, researchers, and dinosaur enthusiasts. It reviews the latest knowledge on dinosaur anatomy and phylogeny, how dinosaurs functioned as living animals, and the grand narrative of dinosaur evolution across the Mesozoic. A particular focus is on the fossil evidence and explicit methods that allow paleontologists to study dinosaurs in rigorous detail. Scientific knowledge of dinosaur biology and evolution is shifting fast, and this book aims to summarize current understanding of dinosaur science in a technical, but accessible, style, supplemented with vivid photographs and illustrations. The Topics in Paleobiology Series is published in collaboration with the Palaeontological Association, and is edited by Professor Mike Benton, University of Bristol. Books in the series provide a summary of the current state of knowledge, a trusted route into the primary literature, and will act as pointers for future directions for research. As well as volumes on individual groups, the series will also deal with topics that have a cross-cutting relevance, such as the evolution of significant ecosystems, particular key times and events in the history of life, climate change, and the application of a new techniques such as molecular palaeontology. The books are written by leading international experts and will be pitched at a level suitable for advanced undergraduates, postgraduates, and researchers in both the paleontological and biological sciences. Additional resources for this book can be found at: http://www.wiley.com/go/brusatte/dinosaurpaleobiology.

The Origin and Evolution of Birds

Author: Alan Feduccia
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300078619
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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An exploration of all that is known about the origin of birds and of avian flight. It draws on fossil evidence and studies of the structure and biochemistry of living birds to present knowledge and data on avian evolution and to propose a new model of this evolutionary process.

The Rise of Birds

Author: Sankar Chatterjee
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 142141614X
Format: PDF
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A small set of fossilized bones discovered almost thirty years ago led paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee on a lifelong quest to understand their place in our understanding of the history of life. They were clearly the bones of something unusual, a bird-like creature that lived long, long ago in the age of dinosaurs. He called it Protoavis, and the animal that owned these bones quickly became a contender for the title of "oldest known bird." In 1997, Chatterjee published his findings in the first edition of The Rise of Birds. Since then Chatterjee and his colleagues have searched the world for more transitional bird fossils. And they have found them. This second edition of The Rise of Birds brings together a treasure trove of fossils that tell us far more about the evolution of birds than we once dreamed possible. With no blind allegiance to what he once thought he knew, Chatterjee devours the new evidence and lays out the most compelling version of the birth and evolution of the avian form ever attempted. He takes us from Texas to Spain, China, Mongolia, Madagascar, Australia, Antarctica, and Argentina. He shows how, in the "Cretaceous Pompeii" of China, he was able to reconstruct the origin and evolution of flight of early birds from the feathered dinosaurs that lay among thousands of other amazing fossils. Chatterjee takes us to where long-hidden bird fossils dwell. His compelling, occasionally controversial, revelations—accompanied by spectacular illustrations—are a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in the evolution of "the feathered dinosaurs," from vertebrate paleontologists and ornithologists to naturalists and birders. -- Alan Feduccia, University of North Carolina

Living Dinosaurs

Author: Dr. Gareth Dyke
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1119990459
Format: PDF, ePub
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Living Dinosaurs offers a snapshot of our current understanding of the origin and evolution of birds. After slumbering for more than a century, avian palaeontology has been awakened by startling new discoveries on almost every continent. Controversies about whether dinosaurs had real feathers or whether birds were related to dinosaurs have been swept away and replaced by new and more difficult questions: How old is the avian lineage? How did birds learn to fly? Which birds survived the great extinction that ended the Mesozoic Era and how did the avian genome evolve? Answers to these questions may help us understand how the different kinds of living birds are related to one another and how they evolved into their current niches. More importantly, they may help us understand what we need to do to help them survive the dramatic impacts of human activity on the planet.

Paleontology

Author: Derek Turner
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139497782
Format: PDF
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In the wake of the paleobiological revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, paleontologists continue to investigate far-reaching questions about how evolution works. Many of those questions have a philosophical dimension. How is macroevolution related to evolutionary changes within populations? Is evolutionary history contingent? How much can we know about the causes of evolutionary trends? How do paleontologists read the patterns in the fossil record to learn about the underlying evolutionary processes? Derek Turner explores these and other questions, introducing the reader to exciting recent work in the philosophy of paleontology and to theoretical issues including punctuated equilibria and species selection. He also critically examines some of the major accomplishments and arguments of paleontologists of the last 40 years.

Cetacean Paleobiology

Author: Felix G. Marx
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118561279
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) have fascinated and bewildered humans throughout history. Their mammalian affinities have been long recognized, but exactly which group of terrestrial mammals they descend from has, until recently, remained in the dark. Recent decades have produced a flurry of new fossil cetaceans, extending their fossil history to over 50 million years ago. Along with new insights from genetics and developmental studies, these discoveries have helped to clarify the place of cetaceans among mammals, and enriched our understanding of their unique adaptations for feeding, locomotion and sensory systems. Their continuously improving fossil record and successive transformation into highly specialized marine mammals have made cetaceans a textbook case of evolution - as iconic in its own way as the origin of birds from dinosaurs. This book aims to summarize our current understanding of cetacean evolution for the serious student and interested amateur using photographs, drawings, charts and illustrations.

Birds of Stone

Author: Luis M. Chiappe
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 1421420252
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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When fossils of birds from China’s Jehol region first appeared in scientific circles, the world took notice. These Mesozoic masterpieces are between 120 and 131 million years old and reveal incredible details that capture the diversity of ancient bird life. Paleontologists all over the world began to collaborate with Chinese colleagues as new and wondrous fossil-related discoveries became regular events. The pages of National Geographic and major scientific journals described the intricate views of feathers as well as food still visible in the guts of these ancient birds. Now, for the first time, a sweeping collection of the most interesting of Jehol’s avian fossils is on display in this beautiful book. Birds of Stone makes visible the unexpected avian diversity that blanketed the earth just a short time (geologically speaking) after a dinosaur lineage gave rise to the first birds. Our visual journey through these fossils is guided by Luis M. Chiappe, a world expert on early birds, and Meng Qingjin, a leading figure in China's natural history museum community. Together, they help us understand the "meaning" of each fossil by providing straightforward narratives that accompany the full-page photographs of the Jehol discoveries. Anyone interested in the history of life—from paleontologists to inquisitive birders—will find Birds of Stone an irresistible feast for the eyes and mind.

Forerunners of Mammals

Author: Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
Publisher: Indiana University Press
ISBN: 0253005337
Format: PDF
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About 320 million years ago a group of reptiles known as the synapsids emerged and forever changed Earth’s ecological landscapes. This book discusses the origin and radiation of the synapsids from their sail-backed pelycosaur ancestor to their diverse descendants, the therapsids or mammal-like reptiles, that eventually gave rise to mammals. It further showcases the remarkable evolutionary history of the synapsids in the Karoo Basin of South Africa and the environments that existed at the time. By highlighting studies of synapsid bone microstructure, it offers a unique perspective of how such studies are utilized to reconstruct various aspects of biology, such as growth dynamics, biomechanical function, and the attainment of sexual and skeletal maturity. A series of chapters outline the radiation and phylogenetic relationships of major synapsid lineages and provide direct insight into how bone histological analyses have led to an appreciation of these enigmatic animals as once-living creatures. The penultimate chapter examines the early radiation of mammals from their nonmammalian cynodont ancestors, and the book concludes by engaging the intriguing question of when and where endothermy evolved among the therapsids.

Amphibian Evolution

Author: Rainer R. Schoch
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118759133
Format: PDF, Kindle
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This book focuses on the first vertebrates to conquer land and their long journey to become fully independent from the water. It traces the origin of tetrapod features and tries to explain how and why they transformed into organs that permit life on land. Although the major frame of the topic lies in the past 370 million years and necessarily deals with many fossils, it is far from restricted to paleontology. The aim is to achieve a comprehensive picture of amphibian evolution. It focuses on major questions in current paleobiology: how diverse were the early tetrapods? In which environments did they live, and how did they come to be preserved? What do we know about the soft body of extinct amphibians, and what does that tell us about the evolution of crucial organs during the transition to land? How did early amphibians develop and grow, and which were the major factors of their evolution? The Topics in Paleobiology Series is published in collaboration with the Palaeontological Association, and is edited by Professor Mike Benton, University of Bristol. Books in the series provide a summary of the current state of knowledge, a trusted route into the primary literature, and will act as pointers for future directions for research. As well as volumes on individual groups, the series will also deal with topics that have a cross-cutting relevance, such as the evolution of significant ecosystems, particular key times and events in the history of life, climate change, and the application of a new techniques such as molecular palaeontology. The books are written by leading international experts and will be pitched at a level suitable for advanced undergraduates, postgraduates, and researchers in both the paleontological and biological sciences.