The Origin of Higher Taxa: Palaeobiological, developmental, and ecological perspectives

Hardcover | December 5, 2015

byT.S. Kemp

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How do radically new kinds of organisms evolve? The Origin of Higher Taxa addresses this essential question, specifically whether the emergence of higher taxa such as orders, classes, and phyla are the result of normal Darwinian evolution acting over a sufficiently long period of time, or whether unusual genetic events and particularenvironmental and ecological circumstances are also involved. Until very recently, the combination of an incomplete fossil record and a limited understanding about how raw mutations lead via modified ontogenic processes to significant phenotypic changes, effectively stymied scientific debate.However, it is now timely to revisit the question in the light of the discovery of considerable new fossil material (and new techniques for studying it), together with significant advances in our understanding of phenotypic development at the molecular level.This novel text incorporates evidence from morphology, palaeobiology, developmental biology, and ecology, to review those parts of the fossil record that illustrate something of the pattern of acquisition of derived characters in lineages leading to actual higher taxa as well as the environmentalconditions under which they occurred. The author's original ideas are set within the context of a broad and balanced review of the latest research in the field. The result is a book which provides a concise, authoritative, and accessible overview of this fascinating subject for both students andresearchers in evolutionary biology and palaeontology.

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How do radically new kinds of organisms evolve? The Origin of Higher Taxa addresses this essential question, specifically whether the emergence of higher taxa such as orders, classes, and phyla are the result of normal Darwinian evolution acting over a sufficiently long period of time, or whether unusual genetic events and particulare...

Dr Tom Kemp is a Emeritus Research Fellow and Curator of the Zoological Collections in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford. His general field of expertise is vertebrate palaeobiology, and he is particularly interested in the mammal-like reptiles and early mammals, and what can be inferred about the structural, functional an...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.69 × 7.44 × 0.73 inPublished:December 5, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199691886

ISBN - 13:9780199691883

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The nature of higher taxa3. The nature of organisms4. The palaeontological evidence5. The developmental evidence6. The ecological perspective7. The invertebrate fossil record8. The vertebrate fossil record9. A synthesis