This book presents a comprehensive overview of the science of thehistory of life. Paleobiologists bring many analytical tools tobear in interpreting the fossil record and the book introduces thelatest techniques, from multivariate investigations of biogeographyand biostratigraphy to engineering analysis of dinosaur skulls, andfrom homeobox genes to cladistics.

All the well-known fossil groups are included, includingmicrofossils and invertebrates, but an important feature is thethorough coverage of plants, vertebrates and trace fossils togetherwith discussion of the origins of both life and the metazoans. Allkey related subjects are introduced, such as systematics, ecology,evolution and development, stratigraphy and their roles inunderstanding where life came from and how it evolved anddiversified.

Unique features of the book are the numerous case studies fromcurrent research that lead students to the primary literature,analytical and mathematical explanations and tools, together withassociated problem sets and practical schedules for instructors andstudents.

“..any serious student of geology who does not pick thisbook off the shelf will be putting themselves at a hugedisadvantage. The material may be complex, but the text isextremely accessible and well organized, and the book ought to beessential reading for palaeontologists at undergraduate,postgraduate and more advanced levels—both in Britain as wellas in North America.” Falcon-Lang, H., Proc. Geol.Assoc. 2010

“…this is an excellent introduction to palaeontologyin general. It is well structured, accessibly written andpleasantly informative …..I would recommend this as astandard reference text to all my students withouthesitation.” David Norman Geol Mag 2010

Companion website
This book includes a companion website at:

The website includes: 

·         Anongoing database of additional Practical’s prepared bythe authors

·         Figuresfrom the text for downloading

·         Usefullinks for each chapter

·         Updatesfrom the authors