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The Rise of Fishes

Hardback
, 304 pages

274 color illus., 70 line drawings

ISBN:
9780801896958
December 2010
$67.00

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The Rise of Fishes

500 Million Years of Evolution

second edition

Fishes that walk, fishes that breathe air, fishes that look like—and are—monsters from the deep. These and many more strange creatures swim through The Rise of Fishes, John A. Long’s richly illustrated tour of the past 500 million years. Long has updated his classic work with illustrations of recent fossil discoveries and new interpretations based on genetic analyses. He reveals how fishes evolved from ancient, jawless animals, explains why fishes have survived on the Earth for so long, and describes how they have become the dominant aquatic life-form. Indeed, to take things a step further, we learn much about ourselves through this book, for all amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals are descendants of ancient fishes.

Clear, accessible, and engaging, The Rise of Fishes combines scientific expertise with entertaining stories about Long's own excursions, which span the oceans and continents. The book includes photographs of fossils from around the world as well as dramatic color illustrations depicting what those fishes may have actually looked like.

John A. Long is the vice president of Research and Collections at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. His numerous books include Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea: One Hundred Million Years of Evolution and Palaeozoic Vertebrate Biostratigraphy and Biogeography, also published by Johns Hopkins.

"Anyone wanting an overview of '500 million years of evolution' of fish and aquatic creatures really needs to read this acclaimed text. It is the work of Australian palaeontologist and curator John A. Long, who works at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. This is a second edition incorporating research from the past 15 years. This is not a work of popular science. It is a richly illustrated technical book that will be of interest to anyone wanting to know about fish before they crawled out of the oceans and started the long journey from amphibians to mammals."

"Overall, this second edition comes highly recommended to anyone who has an interest in the diversity and evolution of fishes. It is an excellent read that is both engaging and informative to a broad audience, and this book would be just as comfortable on the coffee table as it would be on the shelf in your office."

"This book is truly an exemplar of the amazing insights we have gained by integrating the comparative anatomical study of living animals with the evidence of the fossil record... The combination of numerous beautiful images with an engaging and well-written text by a research leader in the field makes it exeptional value."

"One could almost take this for a coffee-table book at first glance, so profusely and well is it illustrated... This book is not just a scientific and educational tool; it is also a visual celebration of the glories of biological diversity as seen in the fossil record."

"[Long] enlivens his account with tales from his extensive field work... Exceptionally lucid and comprehensively illustrated."

"A marvelous addition to the literature of vertebrate paleontology."

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