Vertebrate Evolution : From Origins to Dinosaurs and Beyond book cover
1st Edition

Vertebrate Evolution
From Origins to Dinosaurs and Beyond

ISBN 9780367473167
Published April 18, 2022 by CRC Press
464 Pages 349 Color & 25 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The first vertebrate animals appear in the fossil record over 520 million years ago. These lineages diversified and eventually crept ashore leading to further evolutionary divergence and the appearance of the familiar charismatic vertebrates of today. From the tiniest fishes, diminutive salamanders, and miniaturized lizards to gargantuan dinosaurs, enormous brontotheres, and immense whales, vertebrates have captured the imagination of the lay public as well as the most erudite academics. They are the among the best studied organisms. This book employs beautifully rendered illustrations of these diverse lineages along with informative text to document a rich evolutionary history. The prolific and best-selling author reveals much of the latest findings regarding the phylogenetic history of vertebrates without overwhelming the reader with pedantry and excessive jargon. Simultaneously, comprehensive and authoritative while being approachable and lucid, this book should appeal to both the scholar, the student, and the fossil enthusiast.

Key Features

  • Provides an up-to-date account of evolution of vertebrates
  • Includes numerous beautiful color reconstructions of prehistoric vertebrates
  • Describes extinct vertebrates and their evolutionary history
  • Discusses and illustrates the first vertebrates, as well as familiar lineages of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals
  • Reviews mass extinctions and other important events in the diversification of vertebrates

Related Titles

Bard, J. Evolution: The Origins and Mechanisms of Diversity (ISBN 9780367357016)

Böhmer, C., et al. Atlas of Terrestrial Mammal Limbs (ISBN 9781138705906)

Diogo, R., et al. Muscles of Chordates: Development, Homologies, and Evolution (ISBN 9781138571167)

Schweitzer, M. H., et al. Dinosaurs: How We Know What We Know (ISBN 9780367563813)

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Origin of Vertebrates
  3. Jawless fish
  4. Primitive gnathostomes
  5. Bony Fish
  6. The transition to land
  7. Tetrapods diversify
  8. Primitive reptiles
  9. Back to the sea: marine reptiles
  10. The Scaly ones: Lizards and snakes
  11. Ruling Reptiles: Archosaurs
  12. Crocodylomorphs
  13. Pterosaurs
  14. Origin of dinosaurs
  15. Ornithischian dinosaurs I
  16. Ornithischian dinosaurs II
  17. Sauropods
  18. Theropods
  19. Birds
  20. Synapsids: The origin of mammals: Synapsids
  21. Primitive Mammals: Mesozoic Mammals, Monotremes, and Marsupials
  22. The placental explosion: The Mammals Diversify
  23. Laurasiatheria I: Carnivores, Bat, Insectivores, and their Kin
  24. Laurasiatheria II: The Ungulates
  25. Euarchontoglires: Rodents, Rabbits, Primates—And Humans

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Donald Prothero has taught college geology and paleontology for 40 years, at Caltech, Columbia, Cal Poly Pomona, and Occidental, Knox, Vassar, Glendale, Mt. San Antonio, and Pierce Colleges. He earned his B.A. in geology and biology (highest honors, Phi Beta Kappa, College Award) from University of California Riverside in 1976, and his M.A. (1978), M.Phil. (1979), and Ph.D. (1982) in geological sciences from Columbia University. He is the author of over 40 books (including 8 leading geology textbooks, and several trade books), and over 300 scientific papers, mostly on the evolution of fossil mammals (especially rhinos, camels, and horses) and on using the earth's magnetic field changes to date fossil-bearing strata. He has been on the editorial boards of journals such as Geology, Paleobiology, Journal of Paleontology, and Skeptic magazine. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, the Paleontological Society, and the Geological Society of America, and also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Science Foundation. He served as President of Pacific Section SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) in 2012, and served for five years as Program Chair of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. In 1991, he received the Charles Schuchert Award for outstanding paleontologist under the age of 40. In 2013, he received the James Shea Award of the National Association of Geology Teachers for outstanding writing and editing the geosciences. In 2015, he received the Joseph T. Gregory award for service to vertebrate paleontology. In 2016 he was named a “Friend of Darwin” by the National Center for Science Education. He has been featured on numerous TV documentaries, including Paleoworld, Walking with Prehistoric Beasts, Prehistoric Monsters Revealed, Monsterquest, Prehistoric Predators: Entelodon and Hyaenodon, Conspiracy Road Trip: Creationism, as well as Jeopardy! and Win Ben Stein's Money.


"A must have for anyone with an interest in vertebrate evolution!" The Bird Booker Report, May 2022