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Other titles in the Life of the Past series:
Forerunners of Mammals: Radiation - Histology - Biology (Life of the Past)by Anusuya Chinsamy-turan
Synopses & Reviews
About 320 million years ago a group of reptiles known as the synapsids emerged and forever changed Earth's ecological landscapes. This book discusses the origin and radiation of the synapsids from their sail-backed pelycosaur ancestor to their diverse descendants, the therapsids or mammal-like reptiles, that eventually gave rise to mammals. It further showcases the remarkable evolutionary history of the synapsids in the Karoo Basin of South Africa and the environments that existed at the time. By highlighting studies of synapsid bone microstructure, it offers a unique perspective of how such studies are utilized to reconstruct various aspects of biology, such as growth dynamics, biomechanical function, and the attainment of sexual and skeletal maturity. A series of chapters outline the radiation and phylogenetic relationships of major synapsid lineages and provide direct insight into how bone histological analyses have led to an appreciation of these enigmatic animals as once-living creatures. The penultimate chapter examines the early radiation of mammals from their nonmammalian cynodont ancestors, and the book concludes by engaging the intriguing question of when and where endothermy evolved among the therapsids.
More than 300 million years ago, during the period known as theCarboniferous, there emerged a group of four-legged animals known as synapsids.Their descendents, the therapsids, would eventually give rise to mammals. Beginningwith an introduction to the synapsids, their descendents, and the ancient world inwhich they lived, this remarkable book surveys their radiation, histology, andbiology. It documents types of bone microstructure and their biologicalimplications, provides insights into their biology and the evolution of endothermyin the group, and highlights areas for future research. A detailed guide to thesynapsids, the book discusses the interrelationships within the group and theirradiation from the earliest pelycosaurs to the diverse non-mammalian therapsids andlater to the increasingly more mammal-like cynodonts. A chapter on the Karoo Basinof South Africa documents an unparalleled record of therapsid evolution andradiation and offers a unique perspective on therapsid biodiversity andpaleoenvironmental analysis.
About the Author
Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan is a paleobiologist and global expert on fossil bone microstructure. She is Professor and Fellow of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is former director of the National History Collections, Iziko Museums of Cape Town. She is author of The Microstructure of Dinosaur Bone: Deciphering Biology through Fine Scale Analysis and Famous Dinosaurs of Africa.
Table of Contents
List of Contributors
1. The Origin and Radiation of Therapsids \ Tom S. Kemp
2. Therapsid Biodiversity Patterns and Paleoenvironments of the Karoo Basin, South Africa \ Roger Smith, Bruce Rubidge, and Merrill van der Walt
3. The Microstructure of Bones and Teeth of Nonmammalian Therapsids \ Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
4. The Paleobiology and Bone Microstructure of Pelycosaurian-Grade Synapsids \ Adam K. Huttenlocker and Elizabeth Rega
5. Dicynodont Growth Dynamics and Lifestyle Adaptations \ Sanghamitra Ray, Jennifer Botha-Brink, and Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
6. Biological Inferences of the Cranial Microstructure of the Dicynodonts Oudenodon and Lystrosaurus \ Sandra C. Jasinoski and Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
7. Bone and Dental Histology of Late Triassic Dicynodonts from North America \ Jeremy L. Green
8. Bone Histology of Some Therocephalians and Gorgonopsians, and Evidence of Bone Degradation by Fungi \ Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan and Sanghamitra Ray
9. The Radiation and Osteohistology of Nonmammaliaform Cynodonts \ Jennifer Botha-Brink, Fernando Abdala, and Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
10. The Radiation, Bone Histology, and Biology of Early Mammals \ Jørn H. Hurum and Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
11. The Evolution of Mammalian Endothermy \ John A. Ruben, Willem J. Hillenius, Tom S. Kemp, and Devon E. Quick
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