Evolution of the Vertebrates

Evolution Of The Vertebrates

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Evolution of the Vertebrates

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Evolution of the Vertebrates, subtitled "A History of the Backboned Animals Through Time" is a basic paleontology textbook by Edwin H. Colbert, published by John Wiley & Sons.


The first and second editions (1955 and 1969) provide an overview of the entire range of vertebrate evolution, and are illustrated by the distinctive drawings of Lois Darling. The style of writing is very light and readable, and technical concepts kept to a minimum. In the book vertebrate evolution is studied utilizing comparative anatomy & functional morphology of existing vertebrates, and fossil records. The book is "considered a classic" (New York Times, 25 November 2001) and was used very frequently as a college-level text on the subjects of basic paleontology and vertebrate evolution.

These editions predate the cladistic revolution and so contain a number of chapters and sections dedicated to paraphyletic taxa (Labyrinthodonts, Thecodonts, Condylarths, etc.) which nevertheless constituted an important part of the understanding of the time.

Latest Publishing

The latest edition, the fifth edition, was cowritten with Michael Morales and Eli C. Minkoff, and has been revised to incorporate recent discoveries and current developments in the field of vertebrate evolution. This new addition includes entirely new sections. Some examples of these are conodonts, primates, and dinosaurs. Some new topics that the fifth edition discuss are:

  • Analysis of morphological......
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