Vertebrate Life

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  • Edition: 7th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-01-01
  • Publisher: Benjamin Cummings
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The eagerly anticipated revision of Herpetology by Pough, Andrews, Cadle, Crump, Savitzky, and Wells is available in a third edition. Herpetology presents a comprehensive picture of amphibians and reptiles and their important roles in modern ecosystems. The new edition features full-color photos and species maps, a new chapter on biogeography, and expanded treatment of conservation.

Author Biography

John B. Heiser was Director of the Shoals Marine Laboratory operated by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire on the Isles of Shoals in the Gulf of Maine.

Table of Contents

Vertebrate Diversity, Function, and Evolution
The Diversity, Classification, and Evolution of Vertebrates
Vertebrate Relationships and Basic Structure
Early Vertebrates: Jawless Vertebrates and the Origin of Jawed Vertebrates
Non-Amniotic Vertebrates: Fishes and Amphibians
Living in Water
Radiation of the Chondrichthyes
Dominating Life in Water: The Major Radiation of Fishes
Geography and Ecology of the Paleozoic
Living on Land
Origin and Radiation of Tetrapods
Salamanders, Anurans, and Caecilians
Sauropsida: Turtles, Lepidosaurs, And Birds
Synapsids and Sauropods: Two Approaches to Terrestrial Life
The Lepidosaurs: Tuatara, Lizards, and Snakes
Ectothermy: A Low-Cost Approach to Life
Geography and Ecology of the Mesozoic
Mesozoic Diapsids: Dinosaurs, Crocodilians, and Birds
Avian Specializations
Synapsida: The Mammals
The Synapsida the the Evolution of Mammals
Geography and Ecology of the Cenozoic
Mammalian Characteristics and Diversity
Mammalian Specializations
Endothermy: A High-Energy Approach to Life
Body Size, Ecology, and Sociality of Mammals
Primate Evolution and the Emergence of Humans
The Impact of Humans on Other Species of Vertebrates
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.


The seventh edition ofVertebrate Lifeexpands the emphasis on integration of structure and function in a phylogenetic context with a large number of changes in both text and art, many of which were suggested by colleagues who are using the book. We have added a new chapter, "diving on Land", that emphasizes the physical differences between water and air and the consequences of those differences for organismal form and function. Another new chapter, "Synapsids and Sauropsids: Two Approaches to Terrestrial Life," provides an evolutionary perspective on the anatomical and physiological differences between these two lineages of amniotes that emphasizes interactions among lung ventilation, locomotion, metabolism, endothermy, nitrogen excretion, and sensory systems. We believe that this synthesis provides a context that will help students to understand the origin and significance of the anatomical and physiological differences between extant birds and mammals. An enormous quantity of information about feathered dinosaurs and the evolution of birds has appeared since the sixth edition was published. The transition between birds and dinosaurs (in the popular sense) is so compelling that we have moved the description of the origin and early evolution of birds to the end of the chapter describing Mesozoic diapsids.This placement allows us to focus on extant birds in the following chapter, and our treatment of this group has been revised extensively. Our understanding of human evolution has also been greatly extended. In this rapidly changing field, new fossils have extended the hominid record back to more than 6 million years ago and shown that early hominids were far more diverse than we had realized. At the opposite end of the time scale, fossils ofHomo erectusfrom Indonesia indicate that three species of Homo coexisted as recently as 30,000 years ago. The increased emphasis on conservation in the sixth edition was well received by users. We have brought that material up to date (a depressing process for the most part) and added new examples of the application of information about organismalbiology to conservation and management throughout the text.

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