Bringing Fossils to Life: An Introduction to Paleobiology / Edition 3

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One of the leading textbooks in its field, Bringing Fossils to Life applies paleobiological principles to the fossil record while detailing the evolutionary history of major plant and animal phyla. It incorporates current research from biology, ecology, and population genetics, bridging the gap between purely theoretical paleobiological textbooks and those that describe only invertebrate paleobiology and that emphasize cataloguing live organisms instead of dead objects. For this third edition Donald R. Prothero has revised the art and research throughout, expanding the coverage of invertebrates and adding a discussion of new methodologies and a chapter on the origin and early evolution of life.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Highly recommended.
Quarterly Review of Biology - Catherine Badgley
Substantive, well illustrated, and engaging. [Bringing Fossils to Life] serves to introduce a field that illuminates not only our past but also important aspects of our future.
Prothero's very welcome as it gives not only for students but for every geologist a nice and up-to-date overview of the wide field of paleobiology... An excellent, well written and nicely illustrated textbook.
Bruce S. Lieberman
This well-written, well-illustrated book comprehensively covers the science of paleontology, running the gamut from the history of different aspects of the field to technical discoveries and taxonomic information. It is perfectly aimed at a student audience and belongs in the libraries of all professional (and amateur) paleontologists.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231158930
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 11/12/2013
  • Edition description: third edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 441,692
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald R. Prothero is one of today's leading scientists and authors in the field of paleontology and evolution. He is a former professor of geology at Occidental College and a lecturer in geobiology at Caltech. He is presently a research associate in the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum. The author of more than thirty books and 250 scientific papers published in leading scholarly journals, he received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is a fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Linnean Society of London. In 1991 he received the award for Outstanding Paleontologist Under the Age of 40 and was awarded the 2013 James Shea Award by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers for outstanding writing and editing in the geosciences.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents


To the Student: Why Study Fossils?

PART I: THE FOSSIL RECORD: A WINDOW ON THE PAST1. The Fossil RecordWhat is a Fossil? How Does an Organism Become a Fossil? What Factors Affect the Fossilization Potential of an Organism? What Factors are Required for Extraordinary Preservation? How Good is the Fossil Record? Conclusions

2. Variation in FossilsTheme: Variation; How do Organisms vary during their Lifespans? How do Populations of Organisms Vary? Conclusions

3. Species and Speciation

4. SystematicsWhy Systematics? Evolution and Classification; Competing Systematic Philosophies; Molecular Systematics; Codes of Systematic Nomenclature; Conclusions

5. EvolutionThe Evolution of Evolution; The "Evolutionary Synthesis"; Challenges to the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis; Evolution and the Fossil Record; Conclusions

6. Extinction

7. Functional MorphologyForm and Function; Theoretical Morphology; Functional Hypotheses as Testable Science; Case Studies in Functional Morphology; Conclusions

8. PaleoecologyEcology and Paleoecology; Ecological Relationships; Environmental Limiting Factors; Direct Paleoecological Evidence; Some Ecological Ideas that have been Applied (and Misapplied) to the Fossil Record; Evolutionary Paleoecology; Conclusions

9. BiogeographyOrganisms in Space and Time; Ecological Biogeography; Historical Biogeography; Conclusions

10. BiostratigraphyFaunal Succession; Biostratigraphic Zonations; Factors controlling Fossil Distributions; Biostratigraphic Sampling; The Time Significance of Biostratigraphic Events; North American Land Mammal "Ages" and Biochronology; Resolution, Precision, and Accuracy; Index Fossils and the Global Biostratigraphic Standard; Conclusions

PART II: LIFE OF THE PAST AND PRESENT11. Life's Origins and Early EvolutionConcocting the "Primordial Soup"; Mud and Mosh Pits, Kitty Litter and Fool's Gold; Life is a Commune; The Earliest Fossils; Cambrian "Explosion"—or "Short Fuse"?; Why did Life Change So Slowly Before the Cambrian?; Rocks, Hox, and Molecular Clocks.

12. Micropaleontology: Fossil ProtistansIntroduction; The Kingdoms of Life; Systematics; Foraminifera; Radiolaria; Diatoms; Coccolithophores

13. Colonial Life: Sponges, Archaeocyathans, and Cnidarians

14. The Lophophorates: Brachiopods and Bryozoans

15. Jointed Limbs: The Arthropods

16. Kingdom of the Seashell: The MolluscsIntroduction; Systematics; Mollusc Origins and Diversification; Gastropods; Bivalves; Cephalopods

17. Spiny Skins: The Echinoderms

18. Dry Bones: Vertebrates and their RelativesIntroduction; The Road to Amphioxus; Getting a Head: The Craniates; Jaws: The Gnathostomes; Fish Bones The Osteichthyans; Lobe Fins: The Sarcopterygians; Four on the Floor: The Tetrapods; Land Eggs: The Amniotes; Feathered Dinosaurs: The Birds; Furry Folk: Synapsids and Mammals

19. Fossilized Behavior: Trace Fossils

20. Traces of Earth's Green Mantle: PaleobotanyIntroduction; Plant Taphonomy; The First Photosynthetic Organisms; The Plant Kingdom; Vascular Plants; Tracheophytes; Naked Seeds: The Gymnosperms; Flower Power: The Angiosperm Revolution; Floras through Time




Columbia University Press

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