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Fins Into Limbs


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About the Author

Brian K. Hall is University Research Professor at Dalhousie University and fellow of the Centre for Human Biology at the University of Western Australia and the editor of the three-volume series The Skull, also published by the University of Chicago Press.


Fins into Limbs is an exploration of a longstanding evolutionary puzzle associated with the origin of tetrapods and the vertebrate invasion of land. Brian Hall has assembled a stellar array of contributors from various fields that represent the pieces necessary for a solution. The volume is handsomely executed and also timely. It collects a diverse body of recent research on fins and limbs emerging from evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), functional morphology, and paleontology, all of which have transformed our conception of what the fin-limb transition looked like....Fins into Limbs serves as a necessary reference and a worthy guide to future research on this and other evolutionary transitions. It tells us what we know, what we don't know, and what we'd really like to know. Thus it points us in the direction of which pieces are required to solve the puzzle and reminds us of the pressing need to figure out how they all fit together.--Alan C. Love "Science" (9/14/2007 12:00:00 AM)
We are now at a point where the more experimental, mechanistic approaches that have previously been restricted to studies of model organisms must be applied more broadly. . . . To this end, in driving a new era of research in skeletal biology, Fins into Limbs is a great success.--Mark W. Hamrick "Journal of Mammal Evolution" (9/14/2007 12:00:00 AM)

"Evo-devo--and more importantly, evo-devo-paleo--is the cutting edge of biological and evolutionary science. This collection of empirical and theoretical reviews is timely and necessary, and the choice of authors is excellent. Fins into Limbs is a must-have for anyone with even a passing interest in any one or all of the disciplines of evolution, developmental biology, or paleontology."

--Michael Caldwell, University of Alberta

"In this important synthetic review, Hall and the thirty-seven authorities he has assembled have succeeded in capturing the quantum advances made by functional morphologists, developmental biologists, evolutionary scientists, and vertebrate paleontologists in explaining the origin and diversification of fins and limbs. This review is unparalleled in its depth, scope and scholarship and is indispensable for any student interested in unraveling new complexities hidden in the developing as well as adult fin and limb. The reader will discover important new paths of inquiry; conceptually and technically, this book actually covers more than the title implies and is a must for any seminar course dealing with form, function, and evolution of vertebrates."

--Karel F. Liem, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University

"Variation and selection at the population level are no longer the central unexplored questions in evolution. Today, advances in genetics and development are steadily drawing us closer to an understanding of the origins of the phenotype and the generation of major morphological innovations. One of the cases where work is now well advanced involves finding causal links in the genetics, morphogenesis, and evolutionary transformations of the fish fin and tetrapod limb. This new book shows how much has been accomplished in this exciting field, and how many opportunities remain."

--Keith S. Thomson, professor emeritus, University of Oxford

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