How Vertebrates Left the Water

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University of California Press, 2010 - Science - 199 pages
"How Vertebrates Left the Water integrates new and diverse lines of evidence to show what it took to make the transition to land. Although some aspects of Laurin's view are controversial, his presentation succeeds because he considers the received views as well. This topic is too important to leave to textbook orthodoxy."--Kevin Padian, University of California, Berkeley

"The invasion of land by vertebrates, like the task of putting a human on the moon, was not easy. In recent years, the complex and intriguing evolutionary story of 'How Vertebrates left the Water' has benefited from many important new discoveries and has been a matter of considerable debate. Michel Laurin's international reputation for research makes him as well equipped as anyone to take on the formidable task of recounting this complex and intriguing evolutionary story. This considerable achievement brings us right up to date in understanding this critical transition in our deep ancestry, which is largely unfamiliar to all but a small group of palaeontologists. I think that Darwin would have been both surprised and pleased to read Michel Laurin's How Vertebrates left the Water and discover just how much has been achieved over the last 150 years since his theory of evolution was published."--Douglas Palmer, author of Evolution: The Story of Life
 

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Contents

HOW CAN WE RECONSTRUCT EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY?
1
CONQUEST OF LAND DATA FROM EXTANT VERTEBRATES
45
PALEONTOLOGICAL CONTEXT
55
VERTEBRATE LIMB EVOLUTION
73
DIVERSITY OF PALEOZOIC STEGOCEPHALIANS
99
ADAPTATIONS TO LIFE ON LAND
135
SYNTHESIS AND CONCLUSION
161
Glossary
169
Bibliography
175
Index
187
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About the author (2010)

Michel Laurin is a vertebrate paleontologist and a CNRS research scientist working in the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle in Paris.

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