The Rise of Amphibians: 365 Million Years of Evolution

Overview

For nearly 100 million years, amphibians and their ancestors dominated the terrestrial and shallow water environments of the earth. Archaic animals with an amphibious way of life gave rise not only to modern frogs, salamanders, and caecilians but also to the ancestors of reptiles, birds, and mammals. In this landmark publication, one of the leading paleontologists of our time explores a pivotal moment in vertebrate evolution, the rise of amphibians.

Synthesizing findings from ...

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Overview

For nearly 100 million years, amphibians and their ancestors dominated the terrestrial and shallow water environments of the earth. Archaic animals with an amphibious way of life gave rise not only to modern frogs, salamanders, and caecilians but also to the ancestors of reptiles, birds, and mammals. In this landmark publication, one of the leading paleontologists of our time explores a pivotal moment in vertebrate evolution, the rise of amphibians.

Synthesizing findings from the rich and highly diverse fossil record of amphibians, Robert Carroll traces their origin back 365 million years, when particular species of fish traveled down an evolutionary pathway of fin modification that gave rise to legs. This period of dramatic radiation was followed by a cataclysmic extinction 250 million years ago. After a long gap, modern amphibian groups gradually emerged. Now the number of amphibian species and individuals throughout the tropical and temperate regions of the earth exceeds that of mammals.

The Rise of Amphibians is documented with more than two hundred illustrations of fossil amphibians and sixteen exquisite color plates depicting amphibians in their natural habitats throughout their long existence. The most comprehensive examination of amphibian evolution ever produced, The Rise of Amphibians is an essential resource for paleontologists, herpetologists, geologists, and evolutionary biologists.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Herpetological Bulletin
Carroll has excelled himself by putting together such a magnificent piece of work, with information that is balanced efficiently.

— Steven Piggott

Integrative and Comparative Biology - Hans-Dieter Sues
I highly recommend The Rise of Amphibians to anyone interested not only in amphibians but also in the evolutionary history of vertebrates in general.
Tuscaloosa News - Whit Gibbons
A high-quality production, with finely illustrated drawings of skulls, vertebrae, ribs, teeth, and long bones of more amphibians, past and present, than most of us imagined even existed.
Systematic Biology - Axel Janke
The Rise of Amphibians should be on the bookshelf of anyone involved in vertebrate evolution... an excellent source of information... It is a first-choice reference book that stimulates further studies and research.
Quarterly Review of Biology - Robert R. Reisz
Provides a wealth of valuable information about this fascinating history in a clear, easily readable style.
Bioscience - Miguel Vences
I enjoyed reading this fascinating book. It will become a landmark and standard reference in early amphibian evolution for years to come.
American Paleontologist - Richard Kissel
A useful reference catalog for the professional or well-read amateur.
Copeia - Jason S. Anderson
This is the landmark work on the evolution of amphibians, and will be enjoyed and used for many years to come.
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology - J. SéBastien Steyer
Bob Carroll is telling us, in a modern and very readable style, the history of the amphibians, with an osteological precision nobody else has. In fact, with this new book, he shows us he stays the same, our ‘Master Yoda of the amphibians.’
Herpetological Bulletin - Robert Carroll
Carroll has excelled himself by putting together such magnificent piece of work, with information that is balanced efficiently.
Herpetological Bulletin - Steven Piggott
Carroll has excelled himself by putting together such a magnificent piece of work, with information that is balanced efficiently.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801891403
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 6/17/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 883,442
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Carroll, professor emeritus at McGill University, was the long-time director of the Redpath Museum and chairman of the Department of Biology and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is among the world’s most highly regarded experts on the evolution of amphibians and reptiles. Carroll is the author of several books, including Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

1 History of the Earth and Life 1

2 Advanced Metazoans and the Ancestry of Vertebrates 17

3 The Origin of Amphibians 38

4 The Radiation of Carboniferous Amphibians 61

5 Adaptation, Radiation, and Relationships 144

6 The Zenith of Amphibian Diversity 162

7 The Origin of Amniotes: Escape from the Water 193

8 Stereospondyls: Escape from the Land 209

9 The Enigma of Modern Amphibian Origins 228

10 The Ancestry of Frogs 253

11 The Ancestry of Salamanders 267

12 Eocaecilia and the Origin of Caecilians 291

13 The Success of Modern Amphibians 306

14 The Future of Amphibians 323

Abbreviations Used in Illustrations 331

Glossary 335

References 337

Index 355

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