Vertebrate Life

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2002-01-01
  • Publisher: Pearson College Div
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For courses in Vertebrate Zoology, Vertebrate Biology Function, and Paleontology. Widely praised for its comprehensive coverage and exceptionally clear writing style, this best-selling exploration of vertebrate life is the only accurate and up-to-date treatment of vertebrates that employs a phylogenetic perspective and focuses on how vertebrates work, integrating ecology, behavior, anatomy, and physiology in an evolutionary context.

Table of Contents

(NOTE: Each chapter ends with Summary, Additional Readings, and Web Explorations.)


1. The Diversity, Classification, and Evolution of Vertebrates.
The Vertebrate Story. Classification of Vertebrates. Traditional and Cladistic Classifications. Earth History and Vertebrate Evolution.

2. Vertebrate Relationships and Basic Structure.
Vertebrates in Relation to Other Animals. Definition of a Vertebrate. Basic Vertebrate Structure.

3. Early Vertebrates: Jawless Vertebrates and the Origin of Jawed Vertebrates.
Reconstructing the Biology of the Earliest Vertebrates. Extant Jawless Fishes. The Radiation of Paleozoic Jawless Vertebrates—“Ostracoderms.” The Transition from Jawless to Jawed Vertebrates. Extinct Paleozoic Jawed Fishes.


4. Living in Water.
The Aquatic Environment. Water and the Sensory World of Fishes. The Internal Environment of Vertebrates. Exchange of Water and Ions. Responses to Temperature.

5. Radiation of the Chondrichthyes.
Chrondrichthyes—The Cartilaginous Fishes. Evolutionary Specializations of Chrondrichthyes. The Paleozoic Chrondrichthyan Radiation. The Early Mesozoic Elasmobranch Radiation. The Extant Radiation—Sharks, Skates, and Rays. Holocephali—The Bizarre Chrondrichthyans.

6. Dominating Life in Water: The Major Radiation of Fishes.
The Appearance of Bony Fishes. Extant Sarcopterygii—Lobe-Finned Fishes. Extant Actinopterygii—Ray-Finned Fishes. Actinopterygian Reproduction and Conservation. The Adaptable Fish—Telecost Communities in Contrasting Environments.

7. Geography and Ecology of the Paleozoic.
Earth History, Changing Environments, and Vertebrate Evolution. Continental Geography of the Paleozoic. Paleozoic Climates. Paleozoic Terrestrial Ecosystems. Early Paleozoic Extinctions.


8. Origin and Radiation of Tetrapods and Modifications for Life on Land.
Modifications for Life on Land. Tetrapod Origins. Radiation and Diversity of Nonamniote Paleozoic Tetrapods. Amniotes.

9. Salamanders, Anurans, and Caecilians.
Amphibians. Diversity of Life Histories of Amphibians. Amphibian Metamorphosis. Exchange of Water and Gases. Poison Glands and Other Defense Mechanisms. Why are Amphibians Vanishing?

10. Turtles.
Everyone Recognizes a Turtle. But What Is a Turtle? Phylogenetic Relationships of Turtles. Turtle Structure and Functions. Ecology and Behavior of Turtles. Conservation of Turtles.

11. The Lepidosaurs: Tuatara, Lizards, and Snakes.
The Lepidosaurs. Radiation of Sphenodontids and the Biology of Tuatara. Radiation of Squamates. Ecology and Behavior of Squamates. Thermoregulation. Temperature and Ecology of Squamates.

12. Ectothermy: A Low-Cost Approach to Life.
Vertebrates and Their Environments. Heat—Ectotherms in Deserts. Cold—Ectotherms in Subzero Conditions. The Role of Ectothermal Tetrapods in Terrestrial Ecosystems.

13. Geography and Ecology of the Mesozoic.
Mesozoic Continental Geography. Mesozoic Terrestrial Ecosystems.

14. Mesozoic Diapsids: Dinosaurs, Crocodilians, and Others.
Mesozoic Fauna. Phylogenetic Relationships among Diapsids. The Archosauromorpha. Archosauria. Dinosaurs. The Ornithischian Dinosaurs. The Saurischian Dinosaurs. Dinosaur Soft Parts and Temperature Regulation. Marine Diapsids—Placodonts, Plesiosaurs, and Ichthyosaurs. Terrestrial Vertebrates of the Late Mesozoic. Late Cretaceous Extinctions.


15. The Evolution of Birds and the Origin of Flight.
The Evolution of Endothermy. Activity and Metabolism. Birds as Feathered Dinosaurs. Archaeopteryx and the Origin of Flight. Early Birds. Birds as Flying Machines. Body Form and Flight. Feeding, Digestion, and Excretion. The Hindlimbs and Locomotion.

16. The Ecology and Behavior of Birds.
Birds as Model Organisms. The Sensory Systems. Social Behavior and Reproduction. Imprinting and Learning. Migration and Navigation.

17. The Synapsida and the Evolution of Mammals.
The Origin of Synapsids. Diversity of Nonmammalian Synapsids. Evolutionary Trends in Synapsids. The First Mammals.

18. Geography and Ecology of the Cenozoic.
Cenozoic Continental Geography. Cenozoic Terrestrial Ecosystems. Cenozoic Climates. Cenozoic Extinctions.

19. Mammalian Characteristics and Diversity.
Features Shared by All Mammals. Major Lineages of Mammals. Cenozoic Mammal Evolution.

20. Mammalian Specializations.
Mammalian Reproduction. Some Extreme Eutherian Reproductive Specializations. Are Eutherians Reproductively Superior to Marsupials? Specializations for Feeding. Specializations for Locomotion. Specializations of the Sensory Systems.

21. Endothermy: A High-Energy Approach to Life.
Endothermal Thermoregulation. Energy Budgets of Vertebrates. Endotherms in the Arctic. Migration to Avoid Difficult Conditions. Torpor as a Response to Low Temperatures and Limited Food. Endotherms in Deserts.

22. Body Size, Ecology, and Sociality of Mammals.
Social Behavior. Population Structure and the Distribution of Resources. Advantages of Sociality. Body Size, Diet, and the Structure of Social Systems. Primate Societies.

23. Primate Evolution and the Emergence of Humans.
Primate Origins and Diversification. Origin and Evolution of the Hominoidea. Origin and Evolution of Humans. Evolution of Human Characteristics—Bipedality, Larger Brains, and Language.

24. The Impact of Humans on Other Species of Vertebrates.
Humans and the Pleistocene Extinctions. Humans and Recent Extinctions. Organismal Biology and Conservation. The Paradoxes of Conservation.

Subject Index.
Author Index.

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