Chapter

Paleontological Context

Michel Laurin

in How Vertebrates Left the Water

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780520266476
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947986 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520266476.003.0003
Paleontological Context

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This chapter presents a brief survey of the appearance and evolution of various taxa in continental habitats, first discussing the evolutionary history of terrestrial plants, arthropods, mollusks, annelids, onychophorans, and tardigrades. It then examines the history of ideas about vertebrate conquest of land. The chapter presents discoveries which suggest that contrary to the long-prevailing view that stegocephalians (early amphibians) are freshwater inhabitants, several of them lived in salt water, in coastal regions. The same conclusion holds for Devonian sarcopterygians; the first sarcopterygians were marine and invaded fresh water later in the Devonian, but sarcopterygians never ceased to inhabit the seas.

Keywords: evolution; evolutionary history; terrestrial plants; arthropods; mollusks; annelids; onychophorans; tardigrades; stegocephalians; sarcopterygians

Chapter.  4538 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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