One of the great enigmas of evolutionary biology has been how to treat animals of problematic systematic position. Many are known only as fossils, so this area has been of particular interest to palaeobiologists. This book represents a wide synthesis. It embraces not only general problems of animal classification of animals and new information on their molecular sequences that bear on their wider relationships, but also addresses more specific problems. These include details appraisals of both living and fossil groups. From the fossil record special emphasis is laid on examples from exceptionally preserved biotas that include the Burgess shale-type faunas of the Cambrian of south China and western North America, the Carboniferous Mazon Creek beds of Illinois, and the Jurassic Osteno beds of northern Italy. In addition, experimental studies of soft-patrt preservation in jellyfish are relevant to comparable preservation in the fossil record.
Several years ago, we realized that the most prominent ideas that had been ex pressed about the origin and early evolution of the Metazoa seemed to have been developed chiefly by zoologists using evidence from modern species without reference to the fossil record. Paleontologists had, in fact, put forth their own ideas but the zoological and the paleontological evidence were about the problem, seldom considered together, especially by zoologists. We believed that the paleon tological documentation of the first Metazoa was too scattered, too obscure to Western readers, and much of it too recent to have been readily available to our colleagues in zoology. Whether or not that was entirely true, we thought that a single volume reviewing the fossil record of the earliest Metazoa would be useful to many in both paleontology and zoology, especially since so much new informa tion has been developed in the last few years. Some of this information has been summarized in general articles recently, but an overview of most of the field does not exist. We therefore organized this book in five parts so that the evidence could be placed in perspective and summarized and inferences made from it. Part I intro duces the previous hypotheses that have been proposed for the origin and early radiation of Metazoa. Part II consists of two summary chapters that set the sedi mentological, geochemical, and biological background to the known radiations of Metazoa.
Recently, new genes and their proteins that revealed striking new insights into the early evolution of multicellular animals have been identified and characterized from members of the lowest metazoan phylum, the porifera (sponges). The unexpected result was that the sequences obtained from sponge displayed high similarity to those found in higher metazoa; in consequence, it was concluded that during the transition from protozoa to metazoa the major structural and regulatory proteins evolved only once. The data gathered are now powerful arguments to establish monophyly of metazoa; in addition, new insights on the evolutionary diversification of metazoa were obtained.
Sind wir vielleicht allein im Universum? Die Antworten überraschen und führen den Leser auf eine faszinierende Reise von den vulkanischen Quellen des Ozeanbodens bis zum Jupiter-Mond. "...ein stellares Beispiel präziser Ausdruckskraft." (American Scientist)
The first comprehensive synthesis on development and evolution: it applies to all aspects of development, at all levels of organization and in all organisms, taking advantage of modern findings on behavior, genetics, endocrinology, molecular biology, evolutionary theory and phylogenetics to show the connections between developmental mechanisms and evolutionary change. This book solves key problems that have impeded a definitive synthesis in the past. It uses new concepts and specific examples to show how to relate environmentally sensitive development to the genetic theory of adaptive evolution and to explain major patterns of change. In this book development includes not only embryology and the ontogeny of morphology, sometimes portrayed inadequately as governed by "regulatory genes," but also behavioral development and physiological adaptation, where plasticity is mediated by genetically complex mechanisms like hormones and learning. The book shows how the universal qualities of phenotypes--modular organization and plasticity--facilitate both integration and change. Here you will learn why it is wrong to describe organisms as genetically programmed; why environmental induction is likely to be more important in evolution than random mutation; and why it is crucial to consider both selection and developmental mechanism in explanations of adaptive evolution. This book satisfies the need for a truly general book on development, plasticity and evolution that applies to living organisms in all of their life stages and environments. Using an immense compendium of examples on many kinds of organisms, from viruses and bacteria to higher plants and animals, it shows how the phenotype is reorganized during evolution to produce novelties, and how alternative phenotypes occupy a pivotal role as a phase of evolution that fosters diversification and speeds change. The arguments of this book call for a new view of the major themes of evolutionary biology, as shown in chapters on gradualism, homology, environmental induction, speciation, radiation, macroevolution, punctuation, and the maintenance of sex. No other treatment of development and evolution since Darwin's offers such a comprehensive and critical discussion of the relevant issues. Developmental Plasticity and Evolution is designed for biologists interested in the development and evolution of behavior, life-history patterns, ecology, physiology, morphology and speciation. It will also appeal to evolutionary paleontologists, anthropologists, psychologists, and teachers of general biology.
The existence of rapid and even catastrophic turnovers within the Phanerozoic ecosystems has been discussed controversially for more than 170 years. Since 1980 this discussion has become even more intensive after the hypothesis of Alvarez, explaining the end-Cretaceous mass extinction as the result of a huge asteroid impact on the Earth. This theory stimulated several thousand papers and is still controversial. The international research programme on "Global Biological Events in Earth History" attempts to bring the discussion back to the facts by using multidisciplinary investigations of the major Phanerozoic events. The results of an international group of experts are presented giving a wealth of information and a thorough discussion of the causes of the various global events.
Describing and understanding the evolution of the diversity of bodyplans is a major goal of evolutionary biology. Taking a modern, integrated approach to this question, a group of leading researchers describe how modern techniques and disciplines have been combined, resulting in a dramatic renaissance in the study of animal evolution.
This volume describes features of autonomy and integrates them into the recent discussion of factors in evolution. In recent years ideas about major transitions in evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. They include questions about the origin of evolutionary innovation, their genetic and epigenetic background, the role of the phenotype and of changes in ontogenetic pathways. In the present book, it is argued that it is likewise necessary to question the properties of these innovations and what was qualitatively generated during the macroevolutionary transitions. The author states that a recurring central aspect of macroevolutionary innovations is an increase in individual organismal autonomy whereby it is emancipated from the environment with changes in its capacity for flexibility, self-regulation and self-control of behavior. The first chapters define the concept of autonomy and examine its history and its epistemological context. Later chapters demonstrate how changes in autonomy took place during the major evolutionary transitions and investigate the generation of organs and physiological systems. They synthesize material from various disciplines including zoology, comparative physiology, morphology, molecular biology, neurobiology and ethology. It is argued that the concept is also relevant for understanding the relation of the biological evolution of man to his cultural abilities. Finally the relation of autonomy to adaptation, niche construction, phenotypic plasticity and other factors and patterns in evolution is discussed. The text has a clear perspective from the context of systems biology, arguing that the generation of biological autonomy must be interpreted within an integrative systems approach.
One of the leading textbooks in its field, Bringing Fossils to Life applies paleobiological principles to the fossil record while detailing the evolutionary history of major plant and animal phyla. It incorporates current research from biology, ecology, and population genetics, bridging the gap between purely theoretical paleobiological textbooks and those that describe only invertebrate paleobiology and that emphasize cataloguing live organisms instead of dead objects. For this third edition Donald R. Prothero has revised the art and research throughout, expanding the coverage of invertebrates and adding a discussion of new methodologies and a chapter on the origin and early evolution of life.
Recently, new genes and their proteins that revealed striking new insights into the early evolution of multicellular animals have been identified and characterized from members of the lowest metazoan phylum, the porifera (sponges). The unexpected result was that the sequences obtained from sponge displayed high similarity to those found in higher metazoa; in consequence, it was concluded that during the transition from protozoa to metazoa the major structural and regulatory proteins evolved only once. The data gathered are now powerful arguments to establish monophyly of metazoa; in addition, new insights on the evolutionary diversification of metazoa were obtained.
The Mollusca are a large, diverse, and economically important group that ranges from slugs and snails through clams and oysters to octopus, squid, and cuttlefish. They are evolutionarily ancient and better known than most invertebrate groups because of their calcareous skeletons, which has led to their excellent preservation as fossils. This is a state-of-the-art summary of research into Molluscs and their evolution, including recent developments in phylogenetic analysis and molecular techniques. Since the last book on this topic was published in 1985, the vast amount of updated information found here should be on the bookshelf of every zoologist, evolutionary biologist, and taxonomist.

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