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Required Reading: Luo 2007 Mesozoic Mammals
If you are a fan of Mesozoic mammals, Zhe-Xi Luo has a most excellent review
of the state of the science in the latest Nature:
Luo, Z.-X. 2007. Transformation and diversification in early mammal
evolution. Nature 450:1011-1019 (13 December 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature06277
Evolution of the earliest mammals shows successive episodes of
diversification. Lineage-splitting in Mesozoic mammals is coupled with many
independent evolutionary experiments and ecological specializations. Classic
scenarios of mammalian morphological evolution tend to posit an orderly
acquisition of key evolutionary innovations leading to adaptive
diversification, but newly discovered fossils show that evolution of such
key characters as the middle ear and the tribosphenic teeth is far more
labile among Mesozoic mammals. Successive diversifications of Mesozoic
mammal groups multiplied the opportunities for many dead-end lineages to
iteratively evolve developmental homoplasies and convergent ecological
specializations, parallel to those in modern mammal groups.
Many very useful summary illustrations.
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Faculty Director, Earth, Life & Time Program, College Park Scholars
Mailing Address: Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Department of Geology
Building 237, Room 1117
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742 USA