Knowledge of the evolutionary history of birds has much improved in recent decades. Fossils from critical time periods are being described at unprecedented rates and modern phylogenetic analyses have provided a framework for the interrelationships of the extant groups. This book gives an overview of the avian fossil record and its paleobiological significance, and it is the only up-to-date textbook that covers both Mesozoic and more modern-type Cenozoic birds in some detail. The reader is introduced to key features of basal avians and the morphological transformations that have occurred in the evolution towards modern birds. An account of the Cenozoic fossil record sheds light on the biogeographic history of the extant avian groups and discusses fossils in the context of current phylogenetic hypotheses. This review of the evolutionary history of birds not only addresses students and established researchers, but it may also be a useful source of information for anyone else with an interest in the evolution of birds and a moderate background in biology and geology.
An exploration of all that is known about the origin of birds and of avian flight. It draws on fossil evidence and studies of the structure and biochemistry of living birds to present knowledge and data on avian evolution and to propose a new model of this evolutionary process.
The study of exotic birds has had a particularly long history and has come to represent a fascinating intersection between the study of biological invasions, avian conservation biology, and basic principles of ecology and evolution. Avian Invasions summarizes and synthesizes this unique historical record and unravels the insights that the study of exotic birds brings to all three of these research strands. It includes chapters onthe well-known contributions of exotic bird study to ecological science, and on the post-establishment evolution of introduced bird populations. The result is the most comprehensive picture yet of the invasion process.
Birds are among the most successful vertebrates on Earth. An important part of our natural environment and deeply embedded in our culture, birds are studied by more professional ornithologists and enjoyed by more amateur enthusiasts than ever before. However, both amateurs and professionals typically focus on birds' behaviour and appearance and only superficially understand the characteristics that make birds so unique. The Inner Bird introduces readers to the avian skeleton, then moves beyond anatomy to discuss the relationships between birds and dinosaurs and other early ancestors. Gary Kaiser examines the challenges scientists face in understanding avian evolution - even recent advances in biomolecular genetics have failed to provide a clear evolutionary story. Using examples from recently discovered fossils of birds and near-birds, Kaiser describes an avian history based on the gradual abandonment of dinosaur-like characteristics, and the related acquisition of avian characteristics such as sophisticated flight techniques and the production of large eggs. Such developments have enabled modern birds to invade the oceans and to exploit habitats that excluded dinosaurs for millions of years. While ornithology is a complex discipline that draws on many fields, it is nevertheless burdened with obsolete assumptions and archaic terminology. The Inner Bird offers modern interpretations for some of those ideas and links them to more current research. It should help anyone interested in birds to bridge the gap between long-dead fossils and the challenges faced by living species.
Stronger than the others, worse than the undead. Adam awakes to discover that he has been miraculously cured of the dreaded zombie virus. He is the First Subject, born from the experiments of a group known as the Charon Initiative. As the first of a new breed of mankind, Adam must struggle to find a place for himself in this strange new world. All he knows about himself is that he is a good man. Then a Second Subject is chosen, and this person may prove to be something very different compared to Adam. The question becomes: Did we ever consider the kind of people we are bringing back from the dead?
Examines the scientific implications and continuing controversy over Archaeopteryx, a bird-reptile fossil discovered 130 years ago that many scientists believe offers tangible proof of Darwin's theory of evolution
The use of DNA and other biological macromolecules has revolutionized systematic studies of evolutionary history. Methods that use sequences of nucleotides and amino acids are now routinely used as data for addressing evolutionary questions that, although not new questions, have defied description and analysis. The world-renowned contributors use these new methods to unravel particular aspects of the evolutionary history of birds. Avian Molecular Evolution and Systematics presents an overview of the theory and application of molecular systematics, focusing on the phylogeny and evolutionary biology of birds. New, developing areas in the phylogeny of birds at multiple taxonomic areas are covered, as well as methods of analysis for molecular data, evolutionary genetics within and between bird populations, and the application of molecular-based phylogenies to broader questions of evolution. Contains authoritative contributions from leading researchers Discusses the utility of different molecular markers for questions of avian evolution, involving populations and higher-level taxa Applies molecular-based phylogenies of birds and molecular population genetics data to broad questions of organismal and molecular evolution. Compares and contrasts molecular and morphological data sets
A small set of fossilized bones discovered almost thirty years ago led paleontologist Sankar Chatterjee on a lifelong quest to understand their place in our understanding of the history of life. They were clearly the bones of something unusual, a bird-like creature that lived long, long ago in the age of dinosaurs. He called it Protoavis, and the animal that owned these bones quickly became a contender for the title of "oldest known bird." In 1997, Chatterjee published his findings in the first edition of The Rise of Birds. Since then Chatterjee and his colleagues have searched the world for more transitional bird fossils. And they have found them. This second edition of The Rise of Birds brings together a treasure trove of fossils that tell us far more about the evolution of birds than we once dreamed possible. With no blind allegiance to what he once thought he knew, Chatterjee devours the new evidence and lays out the most compelling version of the birth and evolution of the avian form ever attempted. He takes us from Texas to Spain, China, Mongolia, Madagascar, Australia, Antarctica, and Argentina. He shows how, in the "Cretaceous Pompeii" of China, he was able to reconstruct the origin and evolution of flight of early birds from the feathered dinosaurs that lay among thousands of other amazing fossils. Chatterjee takes us to where long-hidden bird fossils dwell. His compelling, occasionally controversial, revelations—accompanied by spectacular illustrations—are a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in the evolution of "the feathered dinosaurs," from vertebrate paleontologists and ornithologists to naturalists and birders. -- Alan Feduccia, University of North Carolina
The second edition of Avian Immunology provides an up-to-date overview of the current knowledge of avian immunology. From the ontogeny of the avian immune system to practical application in vaccinology, the book encompasses all aspects of innate and adaptive immunity in chickens. In addition, chapters are devoted to the immunology of other commercially important species such as turkeys and ducks, and to ecoimmunology summarizing the knowledge of immune responses in free-living birds often in relation to reproductive success. The book contains a detailed description of the avian innate immune system, encompassing the mucosal, enteric, respiratory and reproductive systems. The diseases and disorders it covers include immunodepressive diseases and immune evasion, autoimmune diseases, and tumors of the immune system. Practical aspects of vaccination are examined as well. Extensive appendices summarize resources for scientists including cell lines, inbred chicken lines, cytokines, chemokines, and monoclonal antibodies. The world-wide importance of poultry protein for the human diet, as well as the threat of avian influenza pandemics like H5N1 and heavy reliance on vaccination to protect commercial flocks makes this book a vital resource. This book provides crucial information not only for poultry health professionals and avian biologists, but also for comparative and veterinary immunologists, graduate students and veterinary students with an interest in avian immunology. With contributions from 33 of the foremost international experts in the field, this book provides the most up-to-date review of avian immunology so far Contains a detailed description of the avian innate immune system reviewing constitutive barriers, chemical and cellular responses; it includes a comprehensive review of avian Toll-like receptors Contains a wide-ranging review of the "ecoimmunology" of free-living avian species, as applied to studies of population dynamics, and reviews methods and resources available for carrying out such research
Living Dinosaurs offers a snapshot of our current understanding of the origin and evolution of birds. After slumbering for more than a century, avian palaeontology has been awakened by startling new discoveries on almost every continent. Controversies about whether dinosaurs had real feathers or whether birds were related to dinosaurs have been swept away and replaced by new and more difficult questions: How old is the avian lineage? How did birds learn to fly? Which birds survived the great extinction that ended the Mesozoic Era and how did the avian genome evolve? Answers to these questions may help us understand how the different kinds of living birds are related to one another and how they evolved into their current niches. More importantly, they may help us understand what we need to do to help them survive the dramatic impacts of human activity on the planet.
Brood parasitism has become one of the most flourishing areas of research in evolutionary ecology and one of the best model systems for investigating coevolution. This subject has undergone remarkable advances during the last two decades, but has not been covered by any book in the 21st century. This book offers a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the fascinating field of avian brood parasitism. The topics covered include conspecific brood parasitism; evolution and phylogenetic history of avian brood parasites; parasitic behaviour used by brood parasites; adaptations and counter-adaptations of brood parasites and their hosts at every stage of the breeding cycle (before laying, egg, chick and fledgling stages); factors affecting the evolution of host defences and parasitic attacks; the role of phenotypic plasticity in host defences; mechanisms driving egg recognition and rejection; evolution of nest sharing or nest killing by brood parasite chicks; begging behaviour in parasitized nests and food delivery by host adults; and recognition of conspecifics by juvenile brood parasites. This volume provides a comprehensive reference resource for readers and researchers with an interest in birds, behaviour and evolution, as well as a source of hypotheses and predictions for future investigations into this dynamic subject.
A FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, SMITHSONIAN, AND WALL STREET JOURNAL A major reimagining of how evolutionary forces work, revealing how mating preferences—what Darwin termed "the taste for the beautiful"—create the extraordinary range of ornament in the animal world. In the great halls of science, dogma holds that Darwin's theory of natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life: which species thrive, which wither away to extinction, and what features each evolves. But can adaptation by natural selection really account for everything we see in nature? Yale University ornithologist Richard Prum—reviving Darwin's own views—thinks not. Deep in tropical jungles around the world are birds with a dizzying array of appearances and mating displays: Club-winged Manakins who sing with their wings, Great Argus Pheasants who dazzle prospective mates with a four-foot-wide cone of feathers covered in golden 3D spheres, Red-capped Manakins who moonwalk. In thirty years of fieldwork, Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival. To explain this, he dusts off Darwin's long-neglected theory of sexual selection in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons—for the mere pleasure of it—is an independent engine of evolutionary change. Mate choice can drive ornamental traits from the constraints of adaptive evolution, allowing them to grow ever more elaborate. It also sets the stakes for sexual conflict, in which the sexual autonomy of the female evolves in response to male sexual control. Most crucially, this framework provides important insights into the evolution of human sexuality, particularly the ways in which female preferences have changed male bodies, and even maleness itself, through evolutionary time. The Evolution of Beauty presents a unique scientific vision for how nature's splendor contributes to a more complete understanding of evolution and of ourselves.
Avian Biology, Volume III is a collection of articles that deals with the biology of birds such as their peripheral endocrine glands and reproductive system. One paper describes the avian reproductive system where physiological mechanisms that regulate gametogenesis get synchronized from stimuli in the environment, thus ensuring that the young are born at the appropriate season. Another paper correlates the morphology of the pituitary cells with the functions of the pituitary from physiological and chemical analyses. A couple of papers describes the peripheral endocrine glands and the process of neuroendocrinology that includes detailed analyses of the neurosecretory system anatomy and the ependymal function in the median eminence composed of the anterior and posterior divisions. One author describes the structure and refraction of avian vision, as well as the probable determination of visual pigments in the eye cones through in situ microspectrophotometry. The book then analyzes bird behavior through functional groups of bird activities. Bird enthusiasts, zoologists, and avian biologists will find this book interesting and informative.
In her comprehensive and carefully crafted book, Gisela Kaplan demonstrates how intelligent and emotional Australian birds can be. She describes complex behaviours such as grieving, deception, problem solving and the use of tools. Many Australian birds cooperate and defend each other, and exceptional ones go fishing by throwing breadcrumbs in the water, extract poisonous parts from prey and use tools to crack open eggshells and mussels. The author brings together evidence of many such cognitive abilities, suggesting plausible reasons for their appearance in Australian birds. Bird Minds is the first attempt to shine a critical and scientific light on the cognitive behaviour of Australian land birds. In this fascinating volume, the author also presents recent changes in our understanding of the avian brain and links these to life histories and longevity. Following on from Gisela’s well-received books on the Australian Magpie and the Tawny Frogmouth, as well as two earlier titles on birds, Bird Minds contends that the unique and often difficult conditions of Australia's environment have been crucial for the evolution of unusual complexities in avian cognition and behaviour.
A comprehensive illustrated guide to the birds of the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods and their dinosaurian forebears. Each species is illustrated in multiple views with size and distinguishing features highlighted. Includes introduction summarizing current research into bird origins and evolution, and what we know (and don't know) about the life appearance and habits of the first birds.
Feathers are an evolutionary marvel: aerodynamic, insulating, beguiling. They date back more than 100 million years. Yet their story has never been fully told. In Feathers, biologist Thor Hanson details a sweeping natural history, as feathers have been used to fly, protect, attract, and adorn through time and place. Applying the research of paleontologists, ornithologists, biologists, engineers, and even art historians, Hanson asks: What are feathers? How did they evolve? What do they mean to us? Engineers call feathers the most efficient insulating material ever discovered, and they are at the root of biology's most enduring debate. They silence the flight of owls and keep penguins dry below the ice. They have decorated queens, jesters, and priests. And they have inked documents from the Constitution to the novels of Jane Austen. Feathers is a captivating and beautiful exploration of this most enchanting object.
'... this book is a welcome addition to the ornithological literature, and simply the fact that it is the very first review of research in the field alone already makes it well worth buying' BISThis is the first comprehensive review of avian incubation. It is written by leading authorities from around the world and covers all aspects of Incubation Biology from evolution to practical aspects. This is an invaluable text for both applied and pure scientists in the fields of Incubation and Ornithology.
This re-appraisal of concepts in avian development presents an integrative perspective on the biology, ecology, and evolution of diverse bird species--from altricial birds to the megapodes.
The central focus of this book is the avian respiratory system. The authors explain why the respiratory system of modern birds is built the way it is and works the way that it does. Birds have been and continue to attract particular interest to biologists. The more birds are studied, the more it is appreciated that the existence of human-kind on earth very much depends directly and indirectly on the existence of birds. Regarding the avian respiratory system, published works are scattered in biological journals of fields like physiology, behavior, anatomy/morphology and ecology while others appear in as far afield as paleontology and geology. The contributors to this book are world-renowned experts in their various fields of study. Special attention is given to the evolution, the structure, the function and the development of the lung-air sac system. Readers will not only discover the origin of birds but will also learn how the respiratory system of theropod dinosaurs worked and may have transformed into the avian one. In addition, the work explores such aspects as swallowing mechanism in birds, the adaptations that have evolved for flight at extreme altitude and gas exchange in eggs. It is a highly informative and carefully presented work that provides cutting edge scientific insights for readers with an interest in the respiratory biology and the evolution of birds.
There is more to a bird than simply feathers. And just because birds evolved from a single flying ancestor doesn't mean they are structurally all the same. With over 385 stunning drawings depicting 200 species, The Unfeathered Bird is a richly illustrated book on bird anatomy that offers refreshingly original insights into what goes on beneath the feathered surface. Each exquisite drawing is made from an actual specimen and reproduced in sumptuous large format. The birds are shown in lifelike positions and engaged in behavior typical of the species: an underwater view of the skeleton of a swimming loon, the musculature of a porpoising penguin, and an unfeathered sparrowhawk plucking its prey. Jargon-free and easily accessible to any reader, the lively text relates birds' anatomy to their lifestyle and evolution, examining such questions as why penguins are bigger than auks, whether harrier hawks really have double-jointed legs, and the difference between wing claws and wing spurs. A landmark in popular bird books, The Unfeathered Bird is a must for anyone who appreciates birds or bird art. A unique book that bridges art, science, and history Over 385 beautiful drawings, artistically arranged in a sumptuous large-format book Accessible, jargon-free text--the only book on bird anatomy aimed at the general reader Drawings and text all based on actual bird specimens Includes most anatomically distinct bird groups Many species never illustrated before