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Fossil Snakes of North America: Origin, Evolution, Distribution, Paleoecology (Life of the Past)by J. Alan Holman
Synopses & Reviews
In a distinguished scholarly reference work, J. Alan Holman provides detailed accounts of the morphology and distribution of the fossil snakes of North America and their evolutionary, zoogeographic, and paleoecological patterns. The heart of the book consists of systematic descriptions of the known fossil snakes of North America and the localities where they occur. Extinct fossil taxa are discussed and illustrated, and many are re-described on the basis of new information. The book contains illustrations of diagnostic vertebrae and criteria for the identification of presently living fossil snake taxa as well as the modern characteristics and ranges of these species.<P>Color photographs in the 16-page insert present a catalog of representative living snake species.<P>The Introduction includes a brief history of the study of fossil snakes in North America and comments on the major specializations of snakes, the origin of snakes, and the snake skeleton. It is followed by a description of the criteria used to date, identify, and classify fossil snakes. The book closes with an epoch-by-epoch discussion of the zoogeographic, paleoecologic, and evolutionary patterns in Mesozoic, Tertiary, and Quaternary North American fossil snakes. An extraordinary evolutionary explosion of snakes occurred in the Miocene, and evidence from Pleistocene fossil snakes indicates population adjustments to glacial advances and retreats, as well as the remarkable evolutionary stasis of the group during the epoch. An epilogue dwells on the future of snakes in the modern world.<P>The culmination of a lifetime of research, Fossil Snakes of North America will take its place as the standard reference for the subject.
The heart of the book consists of detailed systematic accounts of the known fossil snakes of North America and the localities where they occur. Extinct fossil taxa are discussed and illustrated and many are redescribed on the basis of new information. Illustrations of diagnostic vertebrae and criteria for the identification of presently living fossil snake taxa are given as well as the modern characteristics and ranges of these species.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 325-344) and indexes.
About the Author
J. Alan Holman (1931-2006) was Professor and Curator Emeritus at Michigan State University. Holman wrote seven books and authored more than 260 publications in paleoherpetology, herpetology, and vertebrate paleontology. He was awarded an Honorary Lifetime membership in the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and was considered the leading authority on new World fossil snakes.
Table of Contents
Preliminary Table of Contents
2. Systematic Accounts
3. Fossil Localities
4. Evolutionary, Zoogeographic, and Paleoecological Patterns
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