The family Equidae have an extensive fossil record spanning the past 58 million years, and the evolution of the horse has frequently been used as a classic example of long-term evolution. In recent years, however, there have been many important discoveries of fossil horses, and these, in conjunction with such new methods as cladistics, and techniques such as precise geochronology, have allowed us to achieve a much greater understanding of the evolution and biology of this important group. This book synthesizes the large body of data and research relevant to an understanding of fossil horses from several disciplines including biology, geology and paleontology. Using horses as the central theme, the author weaves together in the text such topics as modern geochronology, paleobiogeography, climate change, evolution and extinction, functional morphology, and population biology during the Cenozoic period. This book will be exciting reading for researchers and graduate students in vertebrate paleontology, evolution, and zoology.
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Product dimensions:||7.24(w) x 10.35(h) x 0.71(d)|
Table of ContentsPreface; 1. Introduction: why study fossil horses?; 2. A renaissance in paleontology; 3. Orthogenesis and scientific thought: old notions die hard; 4. Collections, museums, and exceptional discoveries; 5. Systematics and phylogeny: Ungulata, Perissodactyla, and Equidae; 6. Isotopes, magnetic reversals, fossils, and geological time; 7. Ancient geography, changing climates, dispersal, and vicariance; 8. Evolutionary processes: Variation, speciation, and extinction; 9. Rates of morphological and taxonomic evolution; 10. Trends, laws, direction, and progress in evolution; 11. What's the use? functional morphology of feeding and locomotion; 12. Population dynamics, behavioral ecology, and 'paleoethology'; 13. Fifty-eight million years of community evolution; 14. Epilogue: summary and perspective; Appendix; References; Subject index; Taxonomic index.