Avian Growth and Development: Evolution within the Altricial-Precocial Spectrum

Avian Growth and Development: Evolution within the Altricial-Precocial Spectrum

by J. Matthias Starck, Robert E. Ricklefs
     
 

This is the first re-appraisal in 50 years of concepts of development made in birds. This book is a case study in evolutionary diversification of life histories. Although birds have a rather uniform body plan and physiology, they exhibit marked variation in development type, parental care, and rate of growth. Altricial birds are fully dependent on their parents for

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Overview

This is the first re-appraisal in 50 years of concepts of development made in birds. This book is a case study in evolutionary diversification of life histories. Although birds have a rather uniform body plan and physiology, they exhibit marked variation in development type, parental care, and rate of growth. Altricial birds are fully dependent on their parents for warmth and nutrition and begin posthatching life in a more or less embryonic condition. At the other extreme, such superprecocial species as the megapodes are independent of all parental care from hatching, and the neonate, able to fly, resembles an adult bird. This book thus attempts to present an integrative perspective of organism biology, ecology, and evolution.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"When eggs hatch, neonatal birds range from naked, blind, highly altricial songbirds, totally dependent on parental warmth and feeding, through highly precocial megapods that use their fully functional beaks, legs, wings, and brains to dig their way out of incubation mounds, and raise themselves with no parental care. . . . In 17 technical chapters by 20 authors, this volume summarizes many current perspectives on the causes and consequences of this diversity, updating Margaret Nice's classic treatment of the field 40 years ago. . . . In a final, appendix-like chapter, the editors list 1117 estimates of a standard set of four avian growth parameters for 557 species, compiled and derived from the literature. They use these data to analyse growth rate patterns at different taxonomic levels in an earlier chapter. I expect others to use these data to test diverse hypotheses for years to come."—The Quarterly Review of Biology

"[T]his book should be present on the shelves of every academic library ... This book focuses on patterns of development throughout the altricial-precocial spectrum. ... The contributions of the editors, who are authors on 9 of the 17 chapters, present many of the freshest ideas and novel analyses that most represent significant advances over previous volumes. Their chapters cover embryonic growth and development, structural variants and invariants in avian development, comparative analyses of and internal constraints on growth, developmental plasticity, models of avian development, and the evolution of avian developmental modes, as well as patterns of development throughout the altricial-precocial spectrum. ... [T]he thorough coverage of the literature, complete list of citations, and plethora of tables make the book a valuable reference. It is an outstanding contribution to the literature on growth and development and will serve as a standard in its field for years to come."—Auk

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195106084
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
02/28/1998
Series:
Oxford Ornithology Series, #8
Pages:
456
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.40(d)

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