This photographically rich volume provides a synthetic overview of a wide sample of Lagerst?tten from marine environments reaching back in time to the Precambrian, more than 500 million years ago. These occurrences of exceptional fossil preservation are providing scientists with a new source of evidence to understand how life has evolved in the Earth's oceans.
Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems describes all of the main Fossil Lagerstätten (sites of exceptional fossil preservation) from around the world in a chronological order. It covers the history of research, stratigraphy and taphonomy, main faunal and floral elements, and the palaeoecology of each site and gives a comparison with coeval sites around the world. It includes all of the well-known fossil sites, such as the Burgess Shale, the Solnhofen Limestone, Mazon Creek, Rancho La Brea etc., and includes an appendix giving information on how to visit the sites and where to see the fossils in museum displays. Available now in its second edition, Lagerstätten included for the first time include Chengjiang, the Herefordshire Nodules and the Jehol Group. A welcome addition to the list of important localities of Cenozoic age is the White River Group, which preserves the finest examples of mammals around the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, including many now-extinct groups. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout with over 450 colour photographs and diagrams, and it is extensively referenced. Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems is essential reading to a wide range of students and professionals in palaeontology and related sciences, and to amateur enthusiasts.
Evolutionary biologists have long been concerned by the incompleteness of the fossil record. Although our knowledge of the diversity of life in 'deep time' has improved, many lineages of extant animals and plants still have only sparse fossil documentation. Even groups with 'hard parts' that render them suitable for fossilization often only have a limited record. Thus, although the fossil record is viewed as critical to the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of life, many biologists question its utility. Fortunately, discoveries of occurrences of exceptionally preserved fossils, known as conservation Lagerstatten (Konservat-Lagerstatten), shed much light on the past diversity of life. This book reviews selected conservation Lagerstatten for terrestrial animals and plants throughout the Phanerozoic worldwide, and includes sites in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. The included essays demonstrate the enormous progress made in recent years, both in documenting the biodiversity of such extraordinary fossil deposits and also in elucidating the geological conditions for and biogeochemical processes behind the formation of conservation Lagerstatten. The book's contributions have been written by eminent paleontologists who have enlisted additional expertise to make each chapter as comprehensive as possible. The volume is edited by Nicholas C. Fraser of the National Museum of Scotland and Hans-Dieter Sues of the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. [Subject: Paleontology]
The Florissant formation's fossil beds and petrified forest are interesting in themselves but also shed light on questions of paleoecology, macroevolution, and taphonomy (the study of the process of fossilization). Meyer (National Park Service. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Colorado) and Smith (U. of Colorado Museum of Natural History--Paleontology/geological sciences, UC, Boulder) introduce 11 papers examining Florissant fossil flora, fauna, mineralogy and geochemistry through different periods and via a model of the role of microbial mats in its preservation. An integrated database/Web site to further related research is also discussed. The monograph is well-illustrated with geologic maps and images of historical figures in the field and specimens, but is not indexed.
Paleoecology is a discipline that uses evidence from fossils to provide an understanding of ancient environments and the ecological history of life through geological time. This text covers the fundamental approaches that have provided the foundation for present paleoecological understanding, and outlines new research areas in paleoecology for managing future environmental and ecological change. Topics include the use of actualism in paleoecology, development of paleoecological models for paleoenvironmental reconstruction, taphonomy and exceptional fossil preservation, evolutionary paleoecology and ecological change through time, and conservation paleoecology. Data from studies of invertebrates, vertebrates, plants and microfossils, with added emphasis on bioturbation and microbial sedimentary structures, are discussed. Examples from marine and terrestrial environments are covered, with a particular focus on periods of great ecological change, such as the Precambrian-Cambrian transition and intervals of mass extinction. Readership: This book is designed for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students in the earth and biological sciences, as well as researchers and applied scientists in a range of related disciplines.
Palaeobiology: A Synthesis was widely acclaimed both for its content and production quality. Ten years on, Derek Briggs and Peter Crowther have once again brought together over 150 leading authorities from around the world to produce Palaeobiology II. Using the same successful formula, the content is arranged as a series of concise articles, taking a thematic approach to the subject, rather than treating the various fossil groups systematically. This entirely new book, with its diversity of new topics and over 100 new contributors, reflects the exciting developments in the field, including accounts of spectacular newly discovered fossils, and embraces data from other disciplines such as astrobiology, geochemistry and genetics. Palaeobiology II will be an invaluable resource, not only for palaeontologists, but also for students and researchers in other branches of the earth and life sciences. Written by an international team of recognised authorities in the field. Content is concise but informative. Demonstrates how palaeobiological studies are at the heart of a range of scientific themes.
Compared to insects, fossil spiders have received only scant attention in the literature. Previously, the only works available were numerous scientific papers, many published in foreign languages. Most of these are basic descriptive taxonomic works, with very few considering broader biological concepts. Despite a significant increase in the discovery and description of fossil spiders within the last quarter Century this void remained unfilled. Thus, this short monograph aims to achieve several objectives. Firstly, to provide general and up to date background information on the overall importance and diversity of fossils spiders, including an indication of those groups for which the taxonomy is spurious and in need of reassessment. Secondly, to discuss the techniques available for working with fossil spiders and some of the problems encountered by palaeoarachnologists, including bias and limitations of the spider fossil record. Thirdly, the overall evolutionary history of spiders is summarized in the form of an evolutionary tree, which is subsequently used to address key issues of broad interest, such as origins, diversifications and extinctions, including the effects of mass extinctions and predator-prey co-radiations. Finally, the contribution that fossil data can make to understanding the past and present biogeography of the order is considered. This book should be of interest to both amateur and professional arachnologists and palaeontologists and will also serve as a general palaeontological reference work for neonologists studying extant spiders.
Fossils provide a powerful tool for the study of the nearly 4-billion-year history of life, and its role in the evolution of Earth systems. They also provide important data for evolutionary studies, and contribute to our understanding of the extinction of organisms and the origins of modern biodiversity. Fossils At A Glance is written for students taking an introductory level course in paleontology. Short chapters introduce the main topics in the modern study of fossils. The most important fossil groups are discussed, from microfossils through invertebrates to vertebrates and plants, followed by a brief narrative of life on Earth. Diagrams are central to the book and allow the reader to see most of the important data “at a glance”. Each topic covers two pages and provides a self-contained suite of information or a starting point for future study. This second edition has been thoroughly revised and brought up to date. It includes new line diagrams as well as photographs of selected fossils
"Rough-Hewn Land tells the geologic story of the American West--the story of its rocks, rivers, mountains, earthquakes, and mineral wealth, including gold. It tells it by taking you on a 1000-mile-long field trip across the rough side of the continent from the California coast to the Rocky Mountains. This book puts you on the outcrop, geologic hammer in hand, to explore the evidence for how the spectacular, rough-hewn lands of the West came to be. When North America broke free from Eurasia and Africa some 200 million years ago, it triggered a cascade of violent geologic events that shaped the West we see today. As the west-moving continent crunched across the seabed of the ancient Pacific, islands and assorted pieces of ocean floor collected against its prow to build California--and plant gold there too. Meanwhile, mountains squeezed upward from California to Colorado, and vast quantities of molten rock seeded the crust with precious metals while spewing volcanic fire across the land. Later, the land stretched like an accordion to form the washboard-like Basin and Range province and Great Basin within it, while California began to crackle along the San Andreas fault. Throughout the West today, a near-constant drumroll of earthquakes testifies to a world still reshaping itself in response to the ceaseless movements of the Earth's tectonic plates. Rough-Hewn Land weaves these stories into the human history of the West. As we follow the adventures of John C. Frémont, Mark Twain, the Donner party, and other historic characters, we see how geologic forces have shaped human experience, just as they direct the fate of the West today"--
Most major recent advances in understanding the history of life on Earth have been through the study of exceptionally well preserved biotas (Fossil-Lagerstätten). These are windows on the history of life on Earth and can provide a fairly complete picture of the evolution of ecosystems through time. This book follows the success of Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems by the same authors which covered Fossil-Lagerstätten around the world. The success of the first book prompted this new book which draws on four localities from the original book and adds another ten, all located in North America. Following an introduction to Fossil-Lagerstätten, each chapter deals with a single fossil locality. Each chapter contains a brief introduction placing the Lagerstätte in an evolutionary context; there then follows a history of study of the locality; the background sedimentology, stratigraphy and palaeoenvironment; a description of the biota; discussion of the palaeoecology, and a comparison with other Lagerstätten of a similar age and/or environment. At the end of the book is an Appendix listing museums in which to see exhibitions of fossils from each locality and suggestions for visiting the sites.
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.
The Chengjiang biota is one of the most remarkable fossil discoveries ever made. The Cambrian Fossils of Chengjiang is the first book in English to provide fossil enthusiasts with an overview of the fauna. 100 superb full color plates. First English language illustrated guide to this important fauna. A must-have for all palaeontologists worldwide. To see a collection of images from the book, click on the following link: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/chengjiang
Geobiology is an exciting and rapidly developing research discipline that opens new perspectives in understanding Earth as a system. To determine and to exploit its possibilities, this promising scientific field will benefit from a discussion of its definition as a research discipline, its objectives, and its methodological approaches. Such a spirited discussion is the goal of the book "Geobiology: Objectives, Concepts, Perspectives". Geobiology touches various subdisciplines of geology and biology in many ways. The book will serve biogeochemists, paleontologists, biomineralogists, microbiologists and many others as a forum to determine future directions of geobiological research. The book includes a section on the concept of geobiological studies, which combines the parent disciplines biology and geology. Several case studies describe geobiological investigations that serve to understand Earth in the present and past. The case studies give an overview of the general understanding of geobiology and lead the reader towards the current hot topics in this rising scientific discipline. * New definition of the rising scientific discipline "geobiology" * Overview into the broad spectrum of geobiological topics * Insight into hot topics of current geobiological research
The extent to which human activity has influenced species extinctions during the recent prehistoric past remains controversial due to other factors such as climatic fluctuations and a general lack of data. However, the Holocene (the geological interval spanning the last 11,500 years from the end of the last glaciation) has witnessed massive levels of extinctions that have continued into the modern historical era, but in a context of only relatively minor climatic fluctuations. This makes a detailed consideration of these extinctions a useful system for investigating the impacts of human activity over time. Holocene Extinctions describes and analyses the range of global extinction events which have occurred during this key time period, as well as their relationship to both earlier and ongoing species losses. By integrating information from fields as diverse as zoology, ecology, palaeontology, archaeology and geography, and by incorporating data from a broad range of taxonomic groups and ecosystems, this novel text provides a fascinating insight into human impacts on global extinction rates, both past and present. This truly interdisciplinary book is suitable for both graduate students and researchers in these varied fields. It will also be of value and use to policy-makers and conservation professionals since it provides valuable guidance on how to apply lessons from the past to prevent future biodiversity loss and inform modern conservation planning.
Describes and displays the plants and animals fossilized in the Hunsrèuck Slate.
Over the past decade, fossil finds from China have stunned the world, grabbing headlines and changing perceptions with a wealth of new discoveries. Many of these finds were first announced to English speakers in the journal Nature.Rise of the Dragon gathers together sixteen of these original reports, some augmented with commentaries originally published in Nature's "News and Views" section. Perhaps the best known of these new Chinese fossils are the famous feathered dinosaurs from Liaoning Province, which may help end one of the most intense debates in paleontology—whether birds evolved from dinosaurs. But other finds have been just as spectacular, such as the minutely preserved (to the cellular level) animal embryos of the 670 million-year-old Duoshantuo phosphorites, or the world's oldest known fish, from the Chengjiang formation in southwestern Yunnan Province. Rise of the Dragon makes descriptions and detailed discussions of these important finds available in one convenient volume for paleontologists and serious fossil fans.
This is the first comprehensive source of information about Mexican fossils to be published in English. The book offers updated information in the fields of stratigraphy, sedimentology, tectonics, paleobiogeography, paleoclimatology and evolution. Included is an extensive bibliography of almost 1000 references related to the central topic, a tribute to two centuries of research.
This beautifully illustrated 2007 volume describes the entire flora and fauna of the famous Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil - one of the world's most important fossil deposits, exhibiting exceptional preservation. A wide range of invertebrates and vertebrates are covered, including extended sections on pterosaurs and insects. Two chapters are devoted to plants. Many of the chapters include descriptions of new species and re-descriptions and appraisals of taxa published in obscure places, rendering them available to a wider audience. Fossil descriptions are supported by detailed explanations of the geological history of the deposit and its tectonic setting. Drawing on expertise from around the world and specimens from the most important museum collections, this book forms an essential reference for researchers and enthusiasts with an interest in Mesozoic fossils.
The invasion of land by ocean-dwelling plants and animals was one of the most revolutionary events in the evolution of life on Earth, yet the animal invasion almost failed—twice—because of the twin mass extinctions of the Late Devonian Epoch. Some 359 to 375 million years ago, these catastrophic events dealt our ancestors a blow that almost drove them back into the sea. If those extinctions had been just a bit more severe, spiders and insects—instead of vertebrates—might have become the ecologically dominant forms of animal life on land. This book examines the profound evolutionary consequences of the Late Devonian extinctions and the various theories proposed to explain their occurrence. Only one group of four-limbed vertebrates exists on Earth, while other tetrapod-like fishes are extinct. This gap is why the idea of "fish with feet" seems so peculiar to us, yet such animals were once a vital part of our world, and if the Devonian extinctions had not happened, members of these species, like the famous Acanthostega and Ichthyostega, might have continued to live in our rivers and lakes. Synthesizing decades of research and including a wealth of new discoveries, this accessible, comprehensive text explores the causes of the Devonian extinctions, the reasons vertebrates were so severely affected, and the potential evolution of the modern world if the extinctions had never taken place.

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