Chapter

Introduction

J. G. M. Thewissen and Sirpa Nummela

in Sensory Evolution on the Threshold

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780520252783
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934122 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520252783.003.0001
Introduction

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Vertebrates have become secondarily aquatic many times in their evolution. Many vertebrates moved from land to water and evolved adaptations to their transitional habitats. This introductory chapter provides an overview of the origin of tetrapods and presents some hypotheses about sensory evolution. It discusses the evolutionary aspects of the sense organs of tetrapods and characterizes their specific adaptations to aquatic life. It also presents an overview of the phylogeny, diversity, and degree of aquatic specialization of secondarily aquatic tetrapods: amphibians, aquatic and semiaquatic reptiles, aquatic and semiaquatic birds, and aquatic and semiaquatic mammals.

Keywords: tetrapods; sensory evolution; adaptations; secondarily aquatic tetrapods; amphibians; reptiles; birds; mammals

Chapter.  8597 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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