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Colbert's Evolution of the Vertebrates: A History of the Backboned Animals Through Time, 5th Edition

ISBN: 978-0-471-38461-8
576 pages
September 2001


Vertebrate evolution is studied through comparative anatomy and functional morphology of existing vertebrates as well as fossil records. Since the publication of the previous edition of Colbert's Evolution of the Vertebrates: A History of the Backboned Animals Through Time, there have been significant advances in the knowledge surrounding backboned animals. This latest edition of the classic text is completely revised to offer the most recent discoveries in this continually evolving field of science. Covering the various aspects of vertebrate life, from skeletal system to ecology, behavior, and physiology, the Fifth Edition includes new sections on conodonts, dinosaurs, primates, and the origin of birds, and discusses:
* Analysis of morphological and molecular data
* Early diversification of vertebrates
* The evolution of dinosaurs
* The origin of mammals
* Early ruling reptiles
* Basic adaptation of ungulates

Colbert's Evolution of the Vertebrates, Fifth Edition carries on its legacy as an invaluable reference for professionals in evolutionary biology and paleontology, as well as an ideal textbook for students in those fields.
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Table of Contents


Jawless Vertebrates.

Acanthodians and Placoderms.

Sharklike Fishes.

Bony Fishes.

Lobe-Fin Fishes and the Transition to Land.

Early Paleozoic Faunas.


The Advent of Reptiles.

Late Paleozoic Faunas.


Aquatic Reptiles.

Early Ruling Reptiles.

Triumph of the Dinosaurs.

Aerial Reptiles.


Years of the Dinosaurs.

Mammal-Like Reptiles.

Beginning of the Mammals.


Introduction to the Placentals.

Early Placental Diversification.

The Primates and Their Allies.

Rodents and Rabbits.

Creodonts and Carnivores.

Whales and Dolphins.

Primitive Ungulates.


South American Ungulates.


Elephants and Their Kin.

Cenozoic Faunas.

A Classification of the Phylum Chordata.


Key to Abbreviations of Bone Names Used in Illustrations.

Sources and Credits for Illustrations.
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Author Information

EDWIN H. COLBERT is Honorary Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. In addition, he is Curator Emeritus for the American Museum of Natural History in New York and Professor Emeritus at Columbia University in New York.

MICHAEL MORALES is Curator of Geology at The Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Arizona.

ELI C. MINKOFF is Professor of Biology and Chair of the Department of Biology at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.
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"The book points out very cleary the climatic and geological conditions, and environment that allowed the various taxa of vertebrates to evolve and thrive. The clarity and insightfulness of the authors are highly recommended." (W.H. Tam, University of Western Ontario)

"considered a classic" (New York Times, 25 November 2001)

"An absolute must for readers with an interest in vertebrate evolution." (Northeastern Naturalist, Vol. 9, No. 2, 2002)

"Eminently readable and lavishly illustrated (with Lois Darling's classic drawings of reconstructed species plus up-to-date cladograms), Colbert's Evolution of the Vertebrates is the perfect book for students of vertebrate paleontology. Unlike encyclopedic reference texts which are full of confusing jargon, this is a book that can be read by the non-specialist. Colbert tells--and shows--the fascinating story of vertebrate evolution and diversity, with all of the major groups represented. With thorough yet uncluttered text and well-chosen figures, with complete coverage of paleoecology, stratigraphy, and taphonomy, this book is perfect for anyone who wishes to learn more about our "extended" family tree." (Alexander J. Werth, Ph.D., Hampden-Sydney College)

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Colbert's Evolution of the Vertebrates: A History of the Backboned Animals Through Time, 5th Edition (US $268.00)

-and- A Companion to Paleopathology (US $214.95)

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