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Clarkson's Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution, 5th Edition

Clarkson's Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution, 5th Edition

E. N. K. Clarkson, Richard Twitchett, Christopher Smart

ISBN: 978-1-119-23323-7

Jun 2021, Wiley-Blackwell

512 pages

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5TH EDITION of Clarkson’s Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution.


This revision is intended to be undertaken over a 3 year period, for publication in 2006-7, retaining the taxonomic/systematic framework of the book, updating the contents, and further developing the evolutionary, palaeoenvironmental, palaeoecological, and taphonomic aspects. The new edition will be accompanied by a CD of associated information including pre-made power-point tutorials based on the books text and images, building on Palaeobase, with a full systematic glossary and reference base. The CD will also include lecture notes as a teaching aid for invertebrate palaeontology..

Title and Authorship:.

Although the majority of the revision will be undertaken by two new authors, Dr L. Cherns (Cardiff University) and Dr J. Hilton (National Museums of Scotland) the precise authorship and title of this revision depends on the involvement of the previous author, Professor E. N. K. Clarkson. Professor Clarkson has already agreed to make many new illustrations for the book such that the familiar and consistent style will be maintained, presenting uniformity in the diagrammatic illustrations. However, Prof. Clarkson remains uncertain of his level of involvement in the project, and as a result the alternatives currently available are to be decided in conjunction with Professor Clarkson and the publisher (Blackwell Science):.

· Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution by E. N. K. Clarkson, L. Cherns and J. Hilton.

· Clarkson’s Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution by L. Cherns and J. Hilton.

Underlying rationale behind the revision:.

In undertaking this revision we note the previous strengths of the text book, and wish to retain these recognising that the first 4 editions have been extremely popular, have educated several generations of palaeontologists, and have been successfully marketed around the world. These strengths are:

  • Solid taxonomic and systematic framework
  • Clearly written, informal, informative and inquiring writing style
  • Clearly understandable diagrams that are numerous and dispersed though the text
  • Comprehensive citation and referencing undertaken within individual chapters

We therefore propose to retain the outline of the taxonomic/systematic framework from the 4th edition, updating the text and illustrations with discoveries published since the previous version of the text was completed. This will also incorporate new illustrations prepared by Prof. Clarkson.

The main changes concentrate on Part One of the book, which covers the principles behind the study of palaeontology, and chapter 12 which previously detailed exceptional faunas and ichnology.

Chapters 1-3 will undergo major revision, incorporating recent advances in understanding of geobiology and the underlying principles of palaeobiology, and using more illustrations. Chapter 1 will include a complete revision to cover taphonomy, the fossil record, taxonomy, palaeoecology, palaeobiogeography and stratigraphy in order to highlight what is present in the fossil record, what is not, and their significance in broad terms. Chapter 2 will be significantly updated to incorporate advances in evolutionary patterns and processes, integrating morphological information of the phenotype with molecular information from the genotype, to present an essential overview to past invertebrate life on earth. Chapter 3 will focus on major events in the history of life, integrating the fossil record with current theory and incorporating biotic radiation, faunal turnover, and extinction.

Chapter 12 from the 4th edition will be separated into two chapters, both significantly expanded from their current content. The new Chapter 12 will deal with ichnology which will be expanded to include trace fossil classification, behavioural and environmental interpretations, stratigraphical usage and infaunal tiering history. The new Chapter 13 will focus on exceptional faunas (lagerstätten) that demonstrate unique windows into the past life on earth. A selection of case studies will cover ecological and statigraphical assemblages that have been instrumental in changing how we understand and interpret the fossil record..

Limiting factors:.

This plan has been drawn up within the constraints proposed by the publishers whereby limited additional length could be incorporated. As such any additions will have to be balanced by omissions from the 4th edition. To incorporate the necessary changes we will reduce/condense some of the taxonomic/systematic information, through more reliance on diagrams, and by reducing references in the text to key sources while retaining full citations on the supplementary CD.

Although one of the authors (JH) specialises in palaeobotany and plant evolution, this current plan does not include the addition of palaeobotany to the subjects covered. The addition of palaeobotany would change the scope and title of the book from invertebrates and this is not something we consider worthwhile at this time. It would also require the addition of a large chapter and several additional case studies to Chapter 13. These additions to text length are incompatible with the page length restrictions and the content changes that are already planned..

Associated marketing content:.

Although length and format of the revised edition will be essentially comparable with the previous edition, we wish to include along with the book a CD of supplementary information. We feel that an integral CD is essential if the book is to be marketed successfully alongside US publications. The CD will include:.

· additional systematic/taxonomic information removed from the text as ‘detailed features’ of individual groups.

· powerpoint style presentations on each of the groups based on the text/illustrations in the book to aid both teachers and students in palaeontology.

· full glossary for each chapter.

· full reference list for each chapter.

The CD would benefit from further collaboration with the Palaeobase project (developed alongside the 4th edition of the book), but this has yet to be negotiated with the publishers.



1 Principles of Palaeontology.


Fossil record.

Taxonomy – species, hierarchy, phylogeny, cladistics, molecular genetics.


Palaeobiogeography and faunal provinces.


2 Evolution and the Fossil Record.

Darwin and Natural Selection, mutations, speciation.

Fossil record and evolution.

Punctuated equilibria and gradualism.


Microevolution, Macroevolution – testing patterns of evolution.


Coevolution – Red Queen. physical vs. biological controls.

Patterns of diversification – sampling, species vs families.

Rates of evolution, radiations, extinctions.


3 Major Events in the History of Life.

Precambrian life – the first 3000Ma. Prokaryotes, eukaryotes, multicellular algae, Ediacara and the earliest metazoans.

The Cambrian Explosion – skeletisation, small shelly fossils, Burgess Shale and other lagerstätten, trace fossils. Causes, metazoan relationships.

Sepkoski’s Major Evolutionary Faunas.

Trophic structures – tiering, infauna/epifauna.

Extinctions – events, causes, turnover, recovery.

Major Invertebrate Phyla.

· Limited modification from 4th edition – updating of taxonomy and classification, examples of applications, evolutionary and environmental interpretations.

4 Sponges (Porifera).

5 Corals (Cnidaria).

6 Molluscs.

7 Arthropods.

8 Brachiopods.

9 Bryozoans.

10 Echinoderms.

11 Graptolites (Hemichordates).

12 Trace Fossils – expanded to full chapter. Classification, behavioural and environmental interpretations, stratigraphical usage. Infaunal tiering history..

13 Exceptional biotas – selected to include key lagerstätten and their significance as exceptional windows into the past. Coverage will concentrate on invertebrates but will include the role of vertebrates and plants in reconstructing palaeoenvironments. To include:

  • Early Cambrian biotas – Chengjiang, China. New to 5th Edition.
  • Mid Cambrian and the Cambian explosion - Burgess shale. Updated from 4th Edition.
  • Upper Cambrian marine faunas of southern Sweden. Updated and expanded from 4th Edition.
  • Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstatte – synthesis of published details of soft-bodied marine fauna. New to 5th Edition.
  • Lower Devonian marine faunas – the Hunsrückschiefer fauna. Expanded from 4th Edition.
  • Lower Devonian early terrestrial biota and terrestrialization – the Rhynie Chert. New to 5th Edition.
  • Lower Carboniferous Granton shrimp bed
  • Upper Carboniferous marine and terrestrial Mazon Creek fauna.
  • Late Jurassic restricted marine biotas of the Solnhofen Lithographic Limestone. Expanded from 4th Edition.
  • Early Cretaceous terrestrial and freshwater communities of the Jehol Biota, NE China. New to 5th Edition.
  • Fossils in amber – Biotas in Mesozoic and Tertiary amber. New to 5th Edition.