Mammals: A Very Short Introduction by Tom KempMammals: A Very Short Introduction by Tom Kemp

Mammals: A Very Short Introduction

byTom Kemp

Paperback | September 21, 2017

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From a modest beginning in the form of a little shrew-like, nocturnal, insect eating ancestor that lived 200 million years ago, mammals evolved into the huge variety of different kinds of animals we see today. Many species are still small, and follow the lifestyle of the ancestor, but othershave adapted to become large grazers and browsers, like the antelopes, cattle, rhinos, and elephants, or the lions, hyaenas, and wolves that prey upon them. Yet others evolved to be specialist termite eaters able to dig into the hardest mounds, or tunnel creating burrowers, and a few took to theskies as gliders and the bats. Many live partly in the water, such as otters, beavers, and hippos, while whales and dugongs remain permanently in the seas, incapable of ever emerging onto land.In this Very Short Introduction Tom Kemp explains how it is a tenfold increase in metabolic rate - endothermy or "warm-bloodedness" - that lies behind the high levels of activity, and the relatively huge brain associated with complex, adaptable behaviour that epitomizes mammals. He describes theremarkable fossil record, revealing how and when the mammals gained their characteristics, and the tortuous course of their subsequent evolution, during which many bizarre forms such as sabre-toothed cats, and 30-tonne, 6-m high browsers arose and disappeared. Describing the wonderful adaptationsthat mammals evolved to suit their varied modes of life, he also looks at those of the mainly arboreal primates that culminated ultimately in Homo sapiens.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Dr Tom Kemp is Emeritus Research Fellow at St John's College, Oxford, and a widely respected expert on the evolution of mammals. He is the author of several books widely used by students, including The Origin and Evolution of Mammals (OUP, 2005), and The Origin of Higher Taxa (OUP, 2015).
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Title:Mammals: A Very Short IntroductionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:160 pages, 6.85 × 4.37 × 0 inPublished:September 21, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198766947

ISBN - 13:9780198766940

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Table of Contents

1. What is a mammal?2. The origin of mammals3. The radiation of mammals4. Carnivorous mammals5. Herbivorous mammals6. Diggers and burrowers7. Aquatic mammals8. Flying mammals9. Primates10. Humans and mammals: the past and the futureReferencesFurther ReadingIndex