The Rise of Animals: Evolution and Diversification of the Kingdom Animalia
1 Jan 2008
Johns Hopkins University Press
Mikhail A. Fedonkin
Among the major events in evolutionary history, few rival in importance the appearance of animals. The Rise of Animals-a significant reference providing a comprehensive synthesis of the early radiation of the animal kingdom-fully captures this moment in geologic time. Five of the world's leading paleontologists take us on a journey to the most important fossil sites that serve as unique windows to the earliest animal life-including the Ediacara Hills of Australia, the Russian taiga and tundra, the deserts of southwest Africa, and the rugged coasts of Newfoundland. Each of these places holds a rich fossil record that reveals how the animal form came into existence and why some groups succeeded while others failed. The authors describe the diversification of the Kingdom Animalia into the familiar body plans of today: from simple animals such as sponges to complex groups like mollusks, arthropods, echinoderms, and chordates that appear explosively in the Cambrian. This exquisitely illustrated book reveals the early moments of an evolutionary process that eventually resulted in our own species. An essential resource for paleontologists, biologists, geologists, and teachers, The Rise of Animals is the best single reference on one of earth's most significant events.