digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:

Agriculture

Applied sciences

Arts

Belief

Business

Chronology

Culture

Education

Environment

Geography

Health

History

Humanities

Language

Law

Life

Mathematics

Nature

People

Politics

Science

Society

Technology

Paleontologists at work at the dinosaur site of Lo Hueco (Cuenca, Spain).

Vertebrate paleontology is a large subfield to paleontology seeking to discover the behavior, reproduction and appearance of extinct animals with vertebrae or a notochord, through the study of their fossilized remains. It also tries to connect, by using the evolutionary timeline, the animals of the past and their modern-day relatives.

The fossil record shows aspects of the meandering evolutionary path from early aquatic vertebrates to mammals, with a host of transitional fossils, though there are still large blank areas. The earliest known fossil vertebrates were heavily armored fish discovered in rocks from the Ordovician Period about 500 to 430 Ma (megaannum, million years ago). The Devonian Period (395 to 345 Ma) brought in the changes that allowed primitive air-breathing fish to remain on land as long as they wished, thus becoming the first terrestrial vertebrates, the amphibians.

Amphibians developed forms of reproduction and locomotion and a metabolism better suited for life exclusively on land, becoming more reptilian. Full-fledged reptiles appeared in the Carboniferous Period (345 to 280 Ma).

The reptilian changes and adaptations to diet and geography are chronicled in the fossil record of the varying forms of therapsida. True mammals showed up in the Triassic Period (225 to 190 Ma) around the same time as the dinosaurs, which also sprouted from the reptilian line.

Birds first diverged from dinosaurs between 100 Ma and 60 Ma.[1]

History[edit]

One of the people who helped figure out the vertebrate progression was French zoologist Georges Cuvier (1769–1832), who realized that fossils found in older rock strata differed greatly from more recent fossils or modern animals. He published his findings in 1812 and, although he steadfastly refuted evolution, his work proved the (at the time) contested theory of extinction of species.[2]

Thomas Jefferson is credited with initiating the science of vertebrate paleontology in the United States with the reading of a paper to the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia in 1797. Jefferson presented fossil bones of a ground sloth found in a cave in western Virginia and named the genus (Megalonyx). The species was ultimately named Megalonyx jeffersonii in his honor.[3][4][5] Jefferson corresponded with Cuvier, including sending him a shipment of highly desirable bones of the American mastodon and the woolly mammoth.[6]

Paleontology really got started though, with the publication of Recherches sur les poissons fossils (1833–1843) by Swiss naturalist Louis Agassiz (1807–1873). He studied, described and listed hundreds of species of fossil fish, beginning the serious study into the lives of extinct animals. With the publication of the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin in 1849, the field got a theoretical framework. Much of the subsequent work has been to map the relationship between fossil and extant organisms, as well at their history through time.

In modern times, Alfred Romer (1894–1973) wrote what has been termed the definitive textbook on the subject, called Vertebrate Paleontology.[7] It shows the progression of evolution in fossil fish, and amphibians and reptiles through comparative anatomy, including a list of all the (then) known fossil vertebrate genera. Romer became the first president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in 1940, alongside co-founder Howard Chiu. An updated work that largely carried on the tradition from Romer, and by many considered definitive book on the subject was written by Robert L. Carroll of McGill University, the 1988 text Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution. Carroll was president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in 1983. The Society keeps its members informed on the latest discoveries through newsletters and the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Paleontological Vertebrate Classification[edit]

Classical spindle diagram of the evolution of the vertebrates at class level.

The 'traditional' vertebrate classification scheme employ evolutionary taxonomy where several of the taxa listed are paraphyletic, i.e. have given rise to another taxa that have been given the same rank. For instance, birds are generally considered to be the descendants of reptiles (Saurischian dinosaurs to be precise), but in this system both are listed as separate classes. Under phylogenetic nomenclature, such an arrangement is unacceptable, though it offers excellent overview.

This classical scheme is still used in works where systematic overview is essential, e.g. Benton (1998), Hildebrand and Goslow (2001) and Knobill and Neill (2006).[8][9][10] While mostly seen in general works, it is also still used in some specialist works like Fortuny & al. (2011).[11]

Kingdom Animalia

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hackett, S.J., Kimball, R.T., Reddy, S., Bowie, R.C.K., Braun, E.L., Braun, M.J., Chojnowski, J.L., Cox, W.A., Han, K-L., Harshman, J., Huddleston, C.J., Marks, B.D., Miglia, K.J., Moore, W.S., Sheldon, F.H., Steadman, D.W., Witt, C.C. and Yuri T. (2008) A phylogenomic study of birds reveals their evolutionary history. Science. 320: 1763-1768.
  2. ^ Rudwick, Martin. Georges Cuvier, Fossil Bones, and Geological Catastrophes, (Chicago: Chicago University Press), 1997.
  3. ^ Jefferson, Thomas, "A Memoir on the Discovery of Certain Bones of a Quadruped of the Clawed Kind in the Western Parts of Virginia", Read before the American Philosophical Society, March 10, 1797. The "certain bones" consisted of three large claws and associated smaller bones. He theorized that they were the remains of an extinct lion which he named Megalonyx ("giant claw"). In 1799, Dr. Caspar Wistar correctly identified the remains as belonging to a giant ground sloth. In 1822 Wistar officially named it Megalonyx jeffersonii.
  4. ^ Jefferson, Thomas (1799), "A Memoir on the Discovery of Certain Bones of a Quadruped of the Clawed Kind in the Western Parts of Virginia", Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 4 pp. 246-260.
  5. ^ Wistar, Caspar (1799), "A Description of the Bones Deposited, by the President, in the Museum of the Society, and Represented in the Annexed Plates", Transactions, pp. 526-531, plates.
  6. ^ Rice, Howard C, Jr., "Jefferson's Gift of Fossils to the Museum of Natural History in Paris," Proceeding of the American Philosophical Society, 95 (1958): 597-627.
  7. ^ Smith, C.H. (2005): Romer, Alfred Sherwood (United States 1894-1973), homepage from Western Kentucky University
  8. ^ Benton, M. J. (1998) The quality of the fossil record of vertebrates. Pp. 269-303, in Donovan, S. K. and Paul, C. R. C. (eds), The adequacy of the fossil record, Fig. 2. Wiley, New York, 312 pp.
  9. ^ Hildebrand, M. & G. E. Goslow, Jr. Principal ill. Viola Hildebrand. (2001). Analysis of vertebrate structure. New York: Wiley. p. 429. ISBN 0-471-29505-1. 
  10. ^ Neill, J.D. (ed.) (2006): Knobil and Neill’s Physiology of Reproduction, Vol 2, Academic Press, 3rd edition (p. 2177)
  11. ^ Fortuny, J., Bolet, A., Sellés, A.G., J. Cartanyà, J. & À. Galobart, À. (2011): New insights on the Permian and Triassic vertebrates from the Iberian Peninsula with emphasis on the Pyrenean and Catalonian basins. Journal of Iberian Geology no 37 (1): pp 65-86 doi:10.5209/rev_JIGE.2011.v37.n1.5

Further reading[edit]

  • Anderson, Jason S.and Sues, Hans-Dieter (eds.) (2007). Major Transitions in Vertebrate Evolution. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0253349265. 
  • Carroll, Robert L. (1997). Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521478090. 

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertebrate_paleontology — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
4226 videos foundNext > 

GEO 6350 Vertebrate Paleontology Lecture 15: Archosauromorphs

This is a sample lecture of my Vertebrate Paleontology course at Utah State University Uintah Basin Campus.

74th Society of Vertebrate Paleontology dance montage

Real Palaeontologists. Real conference. Real moves.

Virtual Vertebrate Paleontology. Canis lupus from Grotta Romanelli.

Sardella R., Bertè D., Iurino D.A., Cherin M. and Tagliacozzo A. (2013). The wolf from Grotta Romanelli (Apulia, Italy) and its implications in the evolutionary history of Canis lupus in the...

Virtual Vertebrate Paleontology. Gyps fulvus from Alban Hills

Iurino D.A., Bellucci L., Schreve D., Sardella R. (2014). Exceptional soft tissue fossilization of a Pleistocene vulture (Gyps fulvus): new evidence for emplacement temperatures of pyroclastic...

Sam Noble Museum: Vertebrate Paleontology Research

The Vertebrate Paleontology Collection of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (SNOMNH) is a major national collection, and constitutes one of the most important existing records...

OSU Vertebrate Paleontology Lab

Here's how you can help paleontologists find fossils.

Virtual Vertebrate Paleontology. Acinonyx pardinensis from Pantalla.

Cherin M., Iurino D.A., Sardella R., Rook L. (2014). Acinonyx pardinensis (Carnivora, Felidae) from the Early Pleistocene of Pantalla (Italy): predatory behavior and ecological role of the...

Vertebrate Paleontology Social Media Project

This video is about the wonderful artifacts at the Alabama Museum of Natural History.

Virtual Vertebrate Paleontology. Cuon alpinus from San Sidero

Iurino D.A., Fico R., Petrucci M. & Sardella R. (2013). A Pathological Late Pleistocene canid from San Sidero (Italy): implications for social- and feeding-behaviour. Naturwissenschaften. 100:...

Vertebrate Paleontologist Jon Tennant Discusses Dippy The Dinosaur Moving

Vertebrate Paleontologist Jon Tennant joins Sky News to talk about Dippy The Dinosaur skeleton being moved from the British National History Museum to be replaced by Blue Whale skeleton and...

4226 videos foundNext > 

4006 news items

Sci-News.com

Sci-News.com
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 07:38:46 -0700

It was as long as a small car and had hundreds of sharp teeth in its big flat head, which kind of looks like a toilet seat when the jaws snap shut,” said Dr Brusatte, the first author of a paper appearing in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. “It ...

Sci-News.com

Sci-News.com
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 08:53:19 -0700

Federico J. Degrange et al. 2015. A new Mesembriornithinae (Aves, Phorusrhacidae) provides new insights into the phylogeny and sensory capabilities of terror birds. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, vol. 35, no. 2; doi: 10.1080/02724634.2014.912656.

Hartford Courant

Hartford Courant
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 13:36:05 -0700

Dr. Jacques Gauthier, Peabody curator of vertebrate paleontology, looks over the museum's collection of dinosaurs in the Great Hall prior to the Brontosaurus renaming ceremony Tuesday. Dr. Jacques Gauthier, Peabody curator of vertebrate paleontology, ...

Philly.com

Philly.com
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 00:08:07 -0700

In one lucky break, he ran into a grad student at a Society of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting who had a snapshot of a gigantic leg bone. "I said, 'Buddy, that's bigger than T. Rex. Where's the rest of him?' " Lessem recalls. The young scientist had ...
 
Yale Daily News (blog)
Wed, 15 Apr 2015 22:37:30 -0700

... after the first name change in 1903, it took just days, once the most recent study was published, to change the label back to its original title, said Jacques Gauthier, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Peabody and professor of geology and ...

The Weather Network US

The Weather Network US
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 07:03:45 -0700

The findings of the new research, published in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, actually focus more on what the near-complete skeleton can tell us about the species' diversity. "The discovery of this new species provides new ...
 
National Center for Science Education
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 09:52:30 -0700

Meanwhile, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology urged Louisianans to repeal the law in 2008, and the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology decided to hold its conferences elsewhere while the law remains on the books (relenting only in the ...

Yale News

Yale News
Mon, 13 Apr 2015 04:33:40 -0700

Using the mounted bones of Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus in the Great Hall, as well as other bones from the Peabody collections, Jacques Gauthier, Peabody curator of vertebrate paleontology, will highlight some of the anatomical features now being used ...
Loading

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight