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During the past decade and a half the functional approach to animal structure has brought renewed excitement to a previously declining field. Application of the principles of physics and physiology have made morphology a quantitative and analytical science that can compare real designs in nature with predictive optimum designs and, to the extent that the two differ, search for the reasons behind the evolutionary compromises.
Milton Hildebrand and his co-editors, leaders in this emerging discipline, have assembled a stellar cast to provide a synthesis of the field, a superb reference book for professionals and advanced students. With remarkable craftsmanship, the many contributions have been woven into a consistent, unified text, without the gaps and infelicities of style sometimes associated with multiple authorship.
The book offers description, analysis, and conceptual interpretation, carefully illustrated with over 200 photographs and drawings. Following chapters on functional adaptation in skeletal structure, and on body support, scaling, and allometry, there are seven chapters on the various locomotor adaptations, one each on energetics and ventilation, three on feeding adaptations, two on special senses, one on neural control of locomotion, and a final chapter that surveys current approaches and concepts in vertebrate morphology.
An outstanding source book for teachers and students, Functional Vertebrate Morphology should become the standard reference in the field for years to come.