UB EARTH
SCIENCES

VERTEBRATE PALAEONTOLOGY (Third edition)

Michael J. Benton (2004)

Links cited in the book


Many web links are given throughout the book. They are listed here to allow quick access. I have also updated the links, and will continue to do so. Last revision, October, 2004.

CHAPTER 1: Vertebrate origin
CHAPTER 2: How to study fossil vertebrates
CHAPTER 3: Early Palaeozoic fishes
CHAPTER 4: The early tetrapods and amphibians
CHAPTER 5: The evolution of early amniotes
CHAPTER 6: Tetrapods of the Triassic
CHAPTER 7: The evolution of fishes after the Devonian
CHAPTER 8: The age of dinosaurs
CHAPTER 9: The birds
CHAPTER 10: The mammals
CHAPTER 11: Human evolution


CHAPTER 1: Vertebrate origin

Box 1.2. The Chengjiang fossil site

Read more about the Chengjiang site and its exceptionally preserved fossils at http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/Palaeofiles/Lagerstatten/chngjang/index.html and http://www.palaeos.com/Paleozoic/Cambrian/Chengjiang.html.

Box 1.3. Genes and brains

Read more about amphioxus development at http://academic.emporia.edu/sievertl/verstruc/ammodel.htm, and new discoveries about the neural crest of basal chordates at http://anatomy.med.unsw.edu.au/cbl/embryo/Notes/ncrest.htm, and the song It's a long way from amphioxus, sung to the tune of It's a long way to Tipperary, with audio performance, at http://www.molecularevolution.org/mbl/resources/amphioxus/.

CHAPTER 2: How to study fossil vertebrates

Useful web sites for palaeontologists include: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted_sites/paleonet/, the Paleonet web pages, which have links to societies, information pages, journals, jobs, and more; http://www.vertpaleo.org/, the premier international society for vertebrate palaeontologists; http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/dinosaur.html, many links to sites detailing how dinosaurs are excavated and exhibited; http://www.nationalgeographic.com/, palaeontological work sponsored by the Society; http://www.amnh.org, current expeditions of the American Museum of Natural History; http://www.paulsereno.org/, current expeditions by Paul Sereno; http://www.paulsereno.org/paulsereno/lab.htm, an example of one of many museum palaeontology laboratory web sites; http://www.scotese.com/, the Paleomap Project web site.

Introductions to cladistic methods may be found at http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/phylogenetics_01, and a more technical account of methods at http://research.amnh.org/~siddall/methods/. The Compleat Cladist, an excellent primer, may be downloaded from http://www.amnh.org/learn/pd/fish_2/pdf/compleat_cladist.pdf.

Box 2.1. Walking with dinosaurs

Find out more about Walking with dinosaurs, and other BBC projects on palaeontological themes, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/prehistoric_life/ and my accounts of how palaeontologists worked with film producers to make the series, as well as a defence of the whole enterprise, at http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/dinosaur/walking.html.

Box 2.2. Geological time

The 2009 Geological Society of America time scale is available at http://www.geosociety.org/science/timescale/timescl.htm. A more current time scale is the 2004 'Cambridge' time scale, a summary of which may be seen at http://www.stratigraphy.org/bak/geowhen/index.html.

CHAPTER 3: Early Palaeozoic fishes

Box 3.3. The arthrodires from Gogo

Find out more about the amazing Gogo fishes at http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/Palaeofiles/Lagerstatten/Gogo/index.html and http://www.heritage.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahpi/record.pl?RNE101335.

CHAPTER 4: The early tetrapods and amphibians

These web sites offer fascinating glimpses of the excitement of current work on basal tetrapods: http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Terrestrial_Vertebrates&contgroup=Sarcopterygii, the 'Tree of Life' pages about basal tetrapods, and with links on many of the important Palaeozoic taxa. Read more about the origin of tetrapods at http://carlzimmer.com/books/watersedge/index.html. Full 3-D details of the anatomy of the living coelacanth Latimeria are at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Latimeria_chalumnae/whole/.

Box 4.2. How many fingers and toes?

Read more about the antero-posterior zonation of the limb bud and Hox gene mapping at http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/gee/shubin2.html.

Box 4.3. Tetrapods of the volcanic springs

Read more about the East Kirkton site and its tetrapod fossils at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/sci_tech/highlights/001219_blacklagoon.shtml

Box 4.5. Relationships of the basal tetrapods

For more information, go to http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Terrestrial_Vertebrates&contgroup=Sarcopterygii, where a series of pages take you through an alternative cladogram of basal tetrapods, based on the work of Laurin (1998). Don't be confused by his rather heterodox use of group names such as 'Amphibia', 'Anthracosauria', and 'Tetrapoda'.

CHAPTER 5: The evolution of early amniotes

Learn more about the first reptile Hylonomus, Nova Scotia's provincial fossil, at http://www.gov.ns.ca/legislature/HOUSE_OF_ASSEMBLY/Symbols/fossil.htm, procolophonids at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/anapsids/procolophonoidea.html and pareiasaurs at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/anapsids/pareiasauria.html. You can find more information about the end-Permian mass extinction at http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/Palaeofiles/Permian/front.html and http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2002/dayearthdied.shtml.

Box 5.1. Relationships of early amniotes

Read more about basal amniote phylogeny at http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Amniota&contgroup=Terrestrial_vertebrates.

Box 5.2. The Bromacker locality

Read more about the Early Permian Bromacker tetrapod locality in Germany at the 'official' home pages: http://www.carnegiemnh.org/research/eudibamus/index.html and http://www.epilog.de/Dokumente/Show/Ausstellung/Prehistoric/Gotha_Ursaurier.htm. These give more information, and illustrations of the site and some of the fossils.

Box 5.3. Relationships of the synapsid groups

For more detail on the phylogeny of basal synapsids, go to http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Synapsida&contgroup=Amniota.

Box 5.5. Therapsids of the Karoo

For everything on the fossils of the Karoo, visit the web sites of the Iziko South African Museum at http://www.iziko.org.za/sam/exhib_nh.html and the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research at http://www.wits.ac.za/geosciences/bpi/research.htm.

CHAPTER 6: Tetrapods of the Triassic

Useful web pages include http://rainbow.ldeo.columbia.edu/courses/v1001/9.html on the Triassic and its fossil tetrapods, http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Diapsida&contgroup=Amniota on diapsid phylogeny, and http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2009/01/tet_zoo_rhynchosaurs_i.php on rhynchosaurs. You can see a detailed 3-D dissection of the skull of the 'rauisuchian' Saurosuchus at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Saurosuchus_galilei/. An account of new research on dinosaur origins is at http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/macro/origins.html.

Box 6.3. The Elgin reptiles

Read more at http://www.morayfirth-partnership.org/mfptreasure/infozone/56.htm, a very brief account of the Elgin reptiles, and http://aleph0.clarku.edu/huxley/guide6.html, a quirky guide to Thomas Henry Huxley, the great Victorian anatomist, and his early work on the Elgin reptiles.

CHAPTER 7: The evolution of fishes after the Devonian

Broad introductions to Chondrichthyes and Actinopterygii may be found at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/vertebrates/basalfish/chondrofr.html and http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/vertebrates/actinopterygii/actinofr.html, and detailed cladograms at http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Actinopterygii&contgroup=Gnathostomata. Learn more about the 3-D anatomy of modern cartilaginous and bony fishes at http://digimorph.org/listbygroup.phtml?grp=fish&sort=SpeciesName. For the fish fanatic, 'welcome to the world of fishes' at http://www.fishbase.org/home.htm and everything you ever wanted to know about sharks at http://www.elasmo.com/. Read about the excavation of new Leedsichthys specimens in 2002 at http://www.nerc.ac.uk/publications/planetearth/2002/autumn/aut02-bigfish.pdf

Box 7.1. The age of sharks

Read more about the Bear Gulch fishes and their setting at http://www.sju.edu/research/bear_gulch and the Bearsden Stethacanthus at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stethacanthus.

Box 7.3 Cretaceous jaws!

Read more about Cretaceous sharks and their dinosaurian prey at http://www.elasmo-research.org/education/evolution/cretoxyrhina.htm, http://www.elasmo-research.org/education/evolution/squalicorax.htm, http://www.oceansofkansas.com/sharks.html and http://www.oceansofkansas.com/bite.html.

Box 7.5. Semionotid species flocks

Read more about the Newark Supergroup and its fish swarms at http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/mccune/spec.html.

Box 7.7. The Green River fishes of Wyoming

Read more, and see colour photographs of the spectacular Green River fossils at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/tertiary/eoc/greenriver.html, http://www.fossilnews.com/2000/grnrv/grnrv.html, and http://www.fossilmuseum.net/Fossil_Galleries/GreenRiverFish.htm.

CHAPTER 8: The age of dinosaurs

There are more excellent web sites about dinosaurs than stars in the heavens, but a few good ones are http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/diapsids/dinosaur.html, http://paleobiology.si.edu/dinosaurs/, and http://dinobase.gly.bris.ac.uk/. All the latest dinosaur news stories from the BBC are at http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/prehistoric_life/dinosaurs/, from Scientific American are at http://www.scientificamerican.com/topic.cfm?id=dinosaurs, and from New Scientist are at http://www.newscientist.com/channel/life/dinosaurs/. Hear the sounds made with models of the hadrosaur Parasaurolophus at http://www.nmnaturalhistory.org/sci_parasaur.html. Everything about pterosaurs may be found at http://www.pterosaur.co.uk/, everything on modern crocodilians at http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/brittoncrocs/cnhc.htm, and the anatomy and classification of turtles at http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Testudines&contgroup=Amniota

For a mass of information about plesiosaurs, go to http://www.plesiosaur.com/, and about ichthyosaurs, go to http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/people/motani/ichthyo/. Three-dimensional images of skulls of some dinosaurs and pterosaurs are at http://digimorph.org/listbygroup.phtml?grp=dinosaur&sort=SpeciesName

Section 8.6. Pterosaurs

The rolling, awkward locomotion of the Early Cretaceous pterosaur Anhanguera may be viewed at http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/dinosaur/animation.html.

Box 8.1. African dinosaurs and continental movements

Read more about Scott Sampson and his work on Madagascar at http://www.scottsampson.net/index.php?page=dinosaur-research.

Box 8.2. Dinosaurs with feathers

Read more about the discoveries, and see colour images of the fossils at http://www.peabody.yale.edu/explore/cfd/cfd2.html and http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/dinosaurs-other-extinct-creatures/dino-birds/, and of imaginative life restorations at http://australianmuseum.net.au/Chinese-dinosaurs. All feathered dinosaurs so far reported are summarised at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feathered_dinosaurs.

Box 8.3. The necks of sauropods

Explore the DinoMorph software at http://ix.cs.uoregon.edu/~kent/paleontology/dinosaurs.html, and some moving images at http://ix.cs.uoregon.edu/~kent/paleontology/new/index.html.

Box 8.5. Relationships of the dinosaurs

The 2008 supertree of dinosaurs, with enormous colour phylogeny of dinosaur species, is described here http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/macro/supertree/index.html.

Box 8.6. Baby dinosaurs

Read more about dinosaur eggs and embryos at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/features/96/dinoeggs/, and about Jack Horner and his research at http://www.museumoftherockies.org/Home/EXPLORE/Dinosaurs/PeopleinPaleo/JackHorner/tabid/389/Default.aspx and http://mtprof.msun.edu/Spr2004/horner.html.

Box 8.9. Giant crocodile from Africa

Read more about Sarcosuchus at http://www.nationalgeographic.com/supercroc/ and see (and hear) the beast at http://www.supercroc.com/. New and startling crocoidles from Africa were announced by Paul Sereno in November 2009 at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/11/091119-dinosaurs-crocodiles-missions.html.

Box 8.10. The origin of snakes

Read more about the earliest limbed snakes at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/680116.stm, and http://www.karencarr.com/News/legs/legged_snake.htm.

CHAPTER 9: The birds

Everything about modern birds and their classification can be found at http://www.ornithology.com/index.html and http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/chordata/aves.html, and http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Environment/NHR/bird.html gives extensive listings of web-based materials on ornithology.

Box 9.1. Bird fingers: 1, 2, 3 or 2, 3, 4?

Read more about the bird finger numbering debate at http://www.devbio.com/article.php?ch=16&id=161. Limusaurus, named in 2009, may shed further light on the mystery of bird fingers - it seems to retain fingers 1-4: read more at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090617-new-dinosaur-fingers.html.

Box 9.3. The wonderful birds of Liaoning

Excellent web coverage of the Liaoning bird localities and some of the specimens may be seen at http://www.peabody.yale.edu/explore/cfd/cfd2.html and http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/dinosaurs-other-extinct-creatures/dino-birds/, and of imaginative life restorations at http://australianmuseum.net.au/Chinese-dinosaurs, a general account of Enantiornithes at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enantiornithes, and a digital 3D scan of the skull of Confuciusornis at http://digimorph.org/specimens/Confuciusornis_sp./skull/.

Box 9.4. Neognath relationships

Read more about the relationships of modern bird groups at at http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Neornithes&contgroup=Aves

Box 9.5. Giant horse-eating birds of the Eocene

Read more about giant flesh-eating birds at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phorusrhacidae and http://darrennaish.blogspot.com/2006/11/more-on-phorusrhacids-biggest-fastest.html.

CHAPTER 10: The mammals

There are dozens of excellent web sites on mammals, including a review of the living orders at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/chordata/mammalia.html, complete listings of all living species at http://vertebrates.si.edu/mammals/msw/ and http://www.science.smith.edu/departments/Biology/VHAYSSEN/msi/ , a museum exhibit at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/mammal/mammal.html, and images of most living mammals at http://www.mammalsociety.org/imagelibrary/index.html.

Box 10.1. Tooth occlusion in cynodonts

Read more about cynodonts at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynodont and http://www.palaeos.com/Vertebrates/Units/410Cynodontia/410.000.html.

Box 10.2. Jaw joint to middle ear

Read more about the evolution of the cynodont jaw and the mammalian auditory ossicles at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_mammalian_auditory_ossicles.

Box 10.3. Relationships of the Mesozoic mammals

Read more about Mesozoic mammals at http://home.arcor.de/ktdykes/meseucaz.htm and http://www.dinodata.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=43&Itemid=143.

Box 10.4. The first placental mammal

Read about Eomaia, the oldest placental mammal, at http://www.carnegiemnh.org/research/eomaia/, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/04/0423_020425_firstmammal.html, and http://www.evolutionpages.com/Eomaia%20scansoria.htm.

Box 10.5. Giant ground sloth dung: a new kind of data dump

More information, and colour photographs, of the ground sloth coprolite may be seen at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/03/0325_040325_hominiddna.html.

Box 10.8. The Messel Oil Shales - total preservation of mammalian fossils

Read more and see images of the spectacular fossils from Messel in colour at http://www.grube-messel.de/, http://www.messelmuseum.de/ and http://palaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk/Palaeofiles/Lagerstatten/Messel/index.html

Box 10.10. The cave lion comes to life!

There are many web sites about ancient DNA, or aDNA, frome xtinct mammals. Read a general account of ancient DNA at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_DNA, and more about the DNA of the cave lion, and other Pleistocene mammals, at http://www.uni-mainz.de/FB/Biologie/Anthropologie/MolA/English/Research/Research.html.

Box 10.11. The largest rodent ever

See colour images of the buffalo-sized guinea pig at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/09/photogalleries/giantrodent/.

CHAPTER 11: Human evolution

Complete listings of modern primate species are given at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/chordata/mammalia/primates.html, http://www.primates.com/classification/ and http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/aboutp/taxonomy/. An attractive overview of modern primates is http://anthro.palomar.edu/primate/. Good accounts of hominid fossils may be read at http://www.archaeologyinfo.com/evolution.htm, http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/, and http://www.modernhumanorigins.com/. These sites offer broad introductions to human evolution, but also report recent discoveries in their news sections: http://www.newscientist.com/topic/human-evolution, http://www.becominghuman.org/, and http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/prehistoric_life/human/human_evolution/. Hominid skulls may be seen in 3D at http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/projects/human/.

Box 11.5. African Eve

A general account of African, or mitochontrial, Eve is given at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve, and an update to the chronology of the migration of modern humans out of Africa at http://www.nhm.ac.uk/about-us/news/2009/september/humans-spread-out-of-africa-later37866.html.


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