Long ago, fish fins evolved into the limbs of land vertebrates and tetrapods. During this transition, some elements of the fin were carried over while new features developed. Lizard limbs, bird wings, and human arms and legs are therefore all evolutionary modifications of the original tetrapod limb. A comprehensive look at the current state of research on fin and limb evolution and development, this volume addresses a wide range of subjects—including growth, structure, maintenance, function, and regeneration. Divided into sections on evolution, development, and transformations, the book begins with a historical introduction to the study of fins and limbs and goes on to consider the evolution of limbs into wings as well as adaptations associated with specialized modes of life, such as digging and burrowing. Fins into Limbs also discusses occasions when evolution appears to have been reversed—in whales, for example, whose front limbs became flippers when they reverted to the water—as well as situations in which limbs are lost, such as in snakes. With contributions from world-renowned researchers, Fins into Limbs will be a font for further investigations in the changing field of evolutionary developmental biology.
AT THE WATER'S EDGE is a beautifully-written, accessible account of the greatest evolutionary mystery of all. We all know about evolution but it still seems absurd that our ancestors were fish. How did we ever get ashore? How did we make legs, arms and our extremely complex intelligence? Darwin's natural selection was the key to solving generation-to-generation evolution - microevolution - but it could only point us to an explanation still to come of the engines of macroevolution, the transformation of body shapes across millions of years. Carl Zimmer takes the reader on a fascinating quest to understand their beginnings, from pre-Darwinian scientists struggling to interpret early fossil discoveries to latter day geneticists, from whale graveyards in the deserts of Egypt to an amazing find in a forgotten specimen drawer at Oxford University. Including all the latest scientific research, AT THE WATER'S EDGE reveals how macroevolution works and, in doing so, provides a comprehensive, lucid and authoritative answer to the mystery of how nature actually made itself.
Homology—a similar trait shared by different species and derived from common ancestry, such as a seal's fin and a bird’s wing—is one of the most fundamental yet challenging concepts in evolutionary biology. This groundbreaking book provides the first mechanistically based theory of what homology is and how it arises in evolution. Günter Wagner, one of the preeminent researchers in the field, argues that homology, or character identity, can be explained through the historical continuity of character identity networks—that is, the gene regulatory networks that enable differential gene expression. He shows how character identity is independent of the form and function of the character itself because the same network can activate different effector genes and thus control the development of different shapes, sizes, and qualities of the character. Demonstrating how this theoretical model can provide a foundation for understanding the evolutionary origin of novel characters, Wagner applies it to the origin and evolution of specific systems, such as cell types; skin, hair, and feathers; limbs and digits; and flowers. The first major synthesis of homology to be published in decades, Homology, Genes, and Evolutionary Innovation reveals how a mechanistically based theory can serve as a unifying concept for any branch of science concerned with the structure and development of organisms, and how it can help explain major transitions in evolution and broad patterns of biological diversity.
Conceived for both computer scientists and biologists alike, this collection of 22 essays highlights the important new role that computers play in developmental biology research. Essays show how through computer modeling, researchers gain further insight into developmental processes. Featured essays also cover their use in designing computer algorithms to tackle computer science problems in areas like neural network design, robot control, evolvable hardware, and more. Peter Bentley, noted for his prolific research on evolutionary computation, and Sanjeev Kumar head up a respected team to guide readers through these very complex and fascinating disciplines. * Covers both developmental biology and computational development -- the only book of its kind! * Provides introductory material and more detailed information on BOTH disciplines * Includes contribututions from Richard Dawkins, Lewis Wolpert, Ian Stewart, and many other experts
A discussion of the neural crest and neural crest cells, dealing with their discovery, their embryological and evolutionary origins, their cellular derivatives - in both agnathan and jawed vertebrates or gnathostomes - and the broad topics of migration and differentiation in normal development. The book also considers what goes wrong when development is misdirected by mutations, or by exposure of embryos to exogenous agents such as drugs, alcohol, or excess vitamin A, and includes discussions of tumours and syndromes and birth defects involving neural crest cells.
This book of biology and medicine shows how diseases: Sickle cell anaemia, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, are related to the adaptation of our organism to aerial respiration. This adaptation is operated by a genetic switch substituting a set of foetal proteins, for more adequate, regulated, adult isoforms. We discover how foetal or adult metabolic pathways, may control the switch, and propose pharmacological treatments to boost the expression of the foetal gene, acting as a "spare wheel" to replace the adult gene when it is mutated. In fact this switch recapitulates a process reminding of the evolution of amphibians that left their pond to live in air and land. The foetus is also an aquatic creature that discovers at birth aerial respiration and the new weight of his body. His blood and muscle proteins will adapt. The metamorphosis is not as evident as for a tadpole, but still as deeply written in our genes. In fact, the switch is our second metamorphosis, the story started much earlier, when a host cell, already surviving oxygen, incorporated a bacteria, our future mitochondria, that had a more efficient oxidative metabolism. A symbiotic arrangement followed. In the course of development, the most ancient pathways come on stage first, followed by the most recent mitochondrial acquisitions. The developmental maturation of metabolic pathways changes our cells, it is our first metamorphosis. It is involved in apoptosis in diseases such as Azheimer's or Cancer. Since mitochondria took the burden of making ATP, the ancient oxidative mechanism became redundant. Its ATPase evolved forming acidic compartments that control neurotransmission or thermoregulation. This third metamorphosis is implicated in other diseases (adrenoleucodystrophy). Finally primates, who lost uricase, developed diseases related to the role of uric acid which became their new antioxidant: Gout, Autism or Schizophrenia seem to depend on this last, forth metamorphosis.
Although evolutionary developmental biology is a new field, its origins lie in the last century; the search for connections between embryonic development (ontogeny) and evolutionary change (phylogeny) has been a long one. Evolutionary developmental biology is however more than just a fusion of the fields of developmental and evolutionary biology. It forges a unification of genomic, developmental, organismal, population and natural selection approaches to evolutionary change. It is concerned with how developmental processes evolve; how evolution produces novel structures, functions and behaviours; and how development, evolution and ecology are integrated to bring about and stabilize evolutionary change. The previous edition of this title, published in 1992, defined the terms and laid out the field for evolutionary developmental biology. This field is now one of the most active and fast growing within biology and this is reflected in this second edition, which is more than twice the length of the original and brought completely up to date. There are new chapters on major transitions in animal evolution, expanded coverage of comparative embryonic development and the inclusion of recent advances in genetics and molecular biology. The book is divided into eight parts which: place evolutionary developmental biology in the historical context of the search for relationships between development and evolution; detail the historical background leading to evolutionary embryology; explore embryos in development and embryos in evolution; discuss the relationship between embryos, evolution, environment and ecology; discuss the dilemma for homology of the fact that development evolves; deal with the importance of understanding how embryos measure time and place both through development and evolutionarily through heterochrony and heterotrophy; and set out the principles and processes that underlie evolutionary developmental biology. With over one hundred illustrations and photographs, extensive cross-referencing between chapters and boxes for ancillary material, this latest edition will be of immense interest to graduate and advanced undergraduate students in cell, developmental and molecular biology, and in zoology, evolution, ecology and entomology; in fact anyone with an interest in this new and increasingly important and interdisciplinary field which unifies biology.
New discoveries of ancient vertebrates, filling in gaps in the fossil record, are quickly eroding the traditionally recognized differences between the principal groups of vertebrates—for example, between dinosaurs and birds—and radically changing our understanding of the evolutionary history of the major group of animals to which our species belongs. This book describes this changing scientific landscape and contributes to the revolution in our knowledge of the developmental mechanisms that underlie evolutionary transformation.
Top researchers show how molecular biology can inform paleontology, directly and indirectly, to better understand life's past.
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.
The Natural Law of Cycles assembles scientific work from different disciplines to show how research on angular momentum and rotational symmetry can be used to develop a law of energy cycles as a local and global influence. Angular momentum regulates small-scale rotational cycles such as the swimming of fish in water, the running of animals on land, and the flight of birds in air. Also, it regulates large-scale rotation cycles such as global currents of wind and water. James H. Bunn introduces concepts of symmetry, balance, and angular momentum, showing how together they shape the mobile symmetries of animals. Chapter 1 studies the configurations of animals as they move in a head-first direction. Chapter 2 shows how sea animals follow currents and tides generated by the rotational cycles of the earth. In chapter 3, Bunn explores the biomechanical pace of walking as a partial cycle of rotating limbs. On a large scale, angular momentum governs balanced shifts in plate tectonics. Chapter 4 begins with an examination of rotational wind patterns in terms of the counter-balancing forces of angular momentum. The author shows how these winds augment the flights of birds during migrations. A final chapter centers on the conservation of energy as the most basic principle of science. Bunn argues that in the nineteenth century the unity of nature was seen in the emergent concept of energy, not matter, as the source of power, including the movements of animals and machines. In each chapter Bunn features environmental writers who celebrate mobile symmetries. This book will interest students, naturalists, and advocates of the environmental movement.
Muscles and Meridians is a unique book that breaks new conceptual ground in the realm of human movement. Exploring the connection between evolutionary biology and Chinese meridians, the volume offers a novel and effective system of diagnosis and treatment of common musculoskeletal disorders. Describes a new model of human movement - the Contractile Field model Offers a rare and serious attempt to look at whole person movement patterns – akin to ‘Anatomy Trains’ but with a stronger link to vertebrate evolution and development Suggests that much of our endemic back and leg pain is due to a loss of ease in postures that are ‘archetypal’ to mankind Offers a profound new understanding of the world’s oldest medical map, the Chinese meridian map
This Clinics issue will encompass the following topics pertaining to articular cartilage:structure, biochemistry, biomechanics, function, injury, degeneration, repair, cartilage-engineering strategies, and other treatment options.
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Richard Owen F.R.S. (1804-92) was a controversial and influential palaeontologist and anatomist. Owen studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and at London's St Bartholomew's Hospital. He grew interested in anatomical research, and after qualifying he became assistant conservator in the museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, and then superintendent of natural history in the British Museum. He quickly became an authority on comparative anatomy and palaeontology, coining the term 'dinosaur' and founding the Natural History Museum. He was also a fierce critic of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, and engaged in a long and bitter argument with Darwin's 'Bulldog', Thomas Huxley. Published in 1866, this is the second book in a highly illustrated three-volume set that comprises a thorough overview of vertebrate anatomy. This volume focuses on the anatomy of birds, and includes the first part of the analysis of mammalian anatomy.