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New book Vertebrate Integument: Origin and Evolution

From: Ben Creisler

A new book scheduled for publication at the end of March, 2014.
Individual chapters have abstracts and short previews at first link
below, with one chapter on agnathans available as a free pdf at the
link at the bottom.

Theagarten Lingham-Soliar (2014)
The Vertebrate Integument Volume 1: Origin and Evolution
ISBN: 978-3-642-53747-9 (Print) 978-3-642-53748-6 (Online)

Also from the publisher's description of the book:


[NOTE third item highlighted by me below. With only the previews to go
on, I don't know what the book actually says about the origin of
birds. Lingham-Soliar has opposed the identification of "feathers" or
"protofeathers" on dinosaurs in earlier papers.]

400 million years in the structural and mechanical history of the
largest organ of the body the skin

Many parts of the book are largely based on the authors own research
in both neontology and paleontology

>>Eliminates a lot of speculations in the controversial debate on the origin of 

The vertebrate integument arose about 450 million years ago as an
'armour' of dermal bony plates in small, jawless fish-like creatures,
informally known as the ostracoderms. This book reviews the major
changes that have occurred in the vertebrate integument from its
beginnings to the present day. Critical questions concerning the
origin, structure and functional biology of the bony integument are
discussed and intrinsically linked to major steps in vertebrate
evolution and phylogeny--the origin of jaws and the origin of teeth.
The discussions include the origins of mineralization of major
vertebrate skeletal components such as the dermatocranium, branchial
arches and vertebral column. The advances that led to the origin of
modern fishes and their phylogenetic development are reviewed and
include the evolution of fins and replacement of the bony plates with
several types of dermal scales. The evolution of reptiles saw a major
transformation of the integument, with the epidermis becoming the
protective outermost layer, from which the scales arose, while the
dermis lay below it.  The biological significance of the newly-evolved
β-keratin in reptilian scales, among the toughest natural materials
known, is discussed in the context of its major contribution to the
great success of reptiles and to the evolution of feathers and avian
flight. The dermis in many vertebrates is strengthened by layers of
oppositely oriented cross-fibres, now firmly entrenched as a design
principle of biomechanics. Throughout the book conventional ideas are
discussed and a number of new hypotheses are presented in light of the
latest developments. The long evolutionary history of vertebrates
indicates that the significance of the Darwinian concept of "survival
of the fittest" may be overstated, including in our own mammalian
origins, and that chance often plays a major role in evolutionary
patterns. Extensive illustrations are included to support the verbal

Chapter 2 on Agnathans can be downloaded for free from this link: