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On the Origin of Phyla

James W. Valentine

University of Chicago Press, (Hardcover), 608 pages, 2004

Item# B097
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A Note to the Reader: James W. Valentine is a patriotic Darwinist, but his data on the Cambrian Explosion is brutally honest and does not always support his Darwinian statements, leading us to consider this book a valuable addition to the ARN library. If you want the best catalog of data available on the Cambrian Explosion, this is it. This book is also available as part of a study kit that includes a University of California TV video interview with Dr. Valentine.

During the Cambrian Period, nearly every major group of animals suddenly appeared in the fossil record. Known as phyla, these groups each shared unique body plans and genetic characteristics. Some would be familiar to us today, such as mollusks or chordates (including fish), while others have long since gone extinct. Where these phyla came from is an enduring biological mystery on par with the origin of life on earth and the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Taking its title from Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, this book provides the first comprehensive investigation of the mystery of the origin of phyla. James W. Valentine, one of the twentieth century's most distinguished paleobiologists, integrates data from molecular genetics, evolutionary developmental biology, embryology, comparative morphology, and paleontology into a synthesis accessible to scholars from any of these fields. He begins by examining the sorts of evidence that can be gleaned from fossils, molecules, and morphology, then reviews and compares the basic morphology and development of animal phyla, emphasizing the important design elements found in the body plans of both living and extinct phyla. Finally, Valentine undertakes the monumental task of developing models to explain the origin and early diversification of animal phyla.

Truly a magnum opus, On the Origin of Phyla will take its place as one of the classic scientific texts of the twentieth century, and no doubt will provide fresh new data for the Darwin vs. Design debate.

"[James Valentine], with his remarkable combination of intuition and quantitative analysis, has led the way for many others, drawing on techniques and approaches of many disciplines to seek answers to the unique questions of paleontology. . . . [Valentine] has so often been ahead of his time that workers are still rediscovering principles and evolutionary patterns in his publications from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Presumably the field will have caught up to his current work by the middle of the next century!"--Douglas H. Erwin, David Jablonski, and Jere H. Lipps in Evolutionary Paleobiology

Table of Contents

1. The Nature of Phyla
2. Design Elements in the Bodyplans of Phyla
3. Development and Bodyplans
4. Morphological and Molecular Phylogenies
5. The Fossil Record
6. Prebilaterians and Earliest Crown Bilaterians
7. Protostomes: The Ecdysozoa
8. Protostomes: Lophotrochozoa 1: Eutrochozoans
9. Protostomes: Lophotrochozoa 2: Lophophorates
10. Protostomes: Paracoelomates
11. Deuterostomes
12. Phanerozoic History of Phyla
13. Metazoan Evolution during the Prelude to the Cambrian Explosion
14. Metazoan Evolution during the Cambrian Explosion and Its Aftermath
Appendix: The Geologic Time Scale

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