Before the Backbone

Views on the origin of the vertebrates

  • Authors
  • Henry Gee

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Pages 1-83
  3. Pages 160-200
  4. Pages 287-303
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 305-346

About this book


We cannot catechise our stony ichthyolites, as did the necromantic lady of the Arabian Nights did the coloured fishes of the lake which had once been a city, when she touched their dead bodies with her wand, and they straightaway raised their heads and rephed to her queries. We would have many a question to ask them if we could - questions never to be solved. Hugh Miller, The Old Red Sandstone When I started this book in 1991, the subject of vertebrate origins was fusty and unfashionable. Early drafts for this preface read like an extend­ ed complaint at the lot of traditional morphologists, cast aside by the march of modern molecular biology. But no longer - this book should reach you at a time of renewed inter­ est in the origin of the vertebrates, our own particular corner of creation. For although the topic has excited interest for well over a century, molec­ ular biology has only lately achieved the maturity necessary to test its predictions. As a legitimate field of study, it is fashionable again.


Palaeontology developmental biology the origin vertebrates zoology

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Henry Gee 1996
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-0-412-48300-4
  • Online ISBN 978-0-585-25272-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site