This book presents a comprehensive overview of the science of the history of life. Paleobiologists bring many analytical tools to bear in interpreting the fossil record and the book introduces the latest techniques, from multivariate investigations of biogeography and biostratigraphy to engineering analysis of dinosaur skulls, and from homeobox genes to cladistics.
All the well-known fossil groups are included, including microfossils and invertebrates, but an important feature is the thorough coverage of plants, vertebrates and trace fossils together with discussion of the origins of both life and the metazoans. All key related subjects are introduced, such as systematics, ecology, evolution and development, stratigraphy and their roles in understanding where life came from and how it evolved and diversified.
Unique features of the book are the numerous case studies from current research that lead students to the primary literature, analytical and mathematical explanations and tools, together with associated problem sets and practical schedules for instructors and students.
“..any serious student of geology who does not pick this book off the shelf will be putting themselves at a huge disadvantage. The material may be complex, but the text is extremely accessible and well organized, and the book ought to be essential reading for palaeontologists at undergraduate, postgraduate and more advanced levels—both in Britain as well as in North America.” Falcon-Lang, H., Proc. Geol. Assoc. 2010
“…this is an excellent introduction to palaeontology in general. It is well structured, accessibly written and pleasantly informative …..I would recommend this as a standard reference text to all my students without hesitation.” David Norman Geol Mag 2010
This book includes a companion website at:
The website includes:
· An ongoing database of additional Practical’s prepared by the authors
· Figures from the text for downloading
· Useful links for each chapter
· Updates from the authors
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Michael J. Benton is Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Bristol. He is interested particularly in early reptiles, Triassic dinosaurs and macroevolution, and has published 50 books and 160 scientific articles.
David Harper is a leading expert on fossil brachiopods and numerical methods in palaeontology. He is Professor of Palaeontology in the University of Copenhagen, where he is currently Head of Geology in the Natural History Museum of Denmark. He has published over 10 books and monographs, including a couple of influential textbooks, as well as over 250 scientific articles and, together with Øyvind Hammer, the widely-used software package PAST. His time is divided between collection management, exhibition work, research and some teaching.
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