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Option 5 - 2016



Reading List - Option 5 (2016)

Please note that if references are marked with an asterisk (*) , they have been highlighted by your lecturers as being particularly useful to you.

David Norman Lectures

Op 5. Evolutionary Palaeobiology (vertebrates)


Useful textbooks: Tetrapods generally:

  • Sumida S & Martin KLM (1997). Amniote origins. Academic Press Pough,
  • Janis & Heiser (2012). Vertebrate Life. Prentice Hall
  • Benton (2015). Vertebrate Palaeontology. Blackwells.
Dinosaurs specifically:
  • Brusatte S (2012). Dinosaur paleobiology. Wiley Blackwell
  • Fastovsky & Weishampel (2005). The evolution and extinction of the dinosaurs. Cambridge Univ Press.

Thought-provoking references on the biology/physiology of transition: 


Useful textbooks:

  • Brusatte S (2012) Dinosaur paleobiology. Wiley-Blackwell
  • Fastovsky D & Weishampel D (2005) The evolution and extinction of the dinosaurs. Cambridge University Press.
  • Curry-Rogers K & Wilson J (2005). The Sauropods: evolution and paleobiology. California University Press
  • Norman D (2005). Dinosaurs – a very short introduction. Oxford University Press

Specific references: 

  • Sereno P (1999). The evolution of Dinosaurs. Science 284: 2137-2147. (A succinct review)
  • Nesbitt S et al (2009). A complete skeleton of a Late Triassic saurischian and the early evolution of the dinosaurs. Science 326: 1530-1533.
  • Rayfield, Norman et al (2001). Cranial design and function in a large theropod dinosaur. Nature 409: 1033. (Engineering design to the rescue?)
  • Sander, et al (2011). Biology of the sauropod dinosaurs: the evolution of gigantism. Biological Reviews 86: 117-155.
  • Gatesy S (1990). Caudifemoral musculature and the evolution of theropod locomotion. Paleobiology 16: 170-186. (Establishing how theropod dinosaurs might have become bird-like)
  • Xu et al. (2014). An integrative approach to the understanding of bird origins. Science 346: 1341 summary & (issue 6215 - 8 pages). Gives you a 'heads-up' for later lecture as well.

The soft tissues and biochemistry of dinosaurs investigated and endlessly argued over. This list includes stuff you never actually read from the 1A course! Now's the chance to catch up?

  • Rothschild BM et al (1997) Tyrannosaurs suffered from gout. Nature 387: 357
  • Barrick RE and Showers WJ (1994). Thermophysiology of Tyrannosaurus rex: evidence from Oxygen isotopes. Science 265: 222-224 (see also comment on page 188).
  • Eagle, RA, et al (2011). Dinosaur body temperature determined from isotopic (13C-18O) ordering in fossil biominerals. Science 333: 443-445.
  • Chin, K et al (1998). A king-sized theropod coprolite. Nature 393: 680-682. (see also News and Views in same issue).
  • Varricchio, DJ (2001). Gut contents from a Cretaceous tyrannosaurid: implications for theropod digestive tracts. J. Paleontology 75: 401-406.
  • Meng, Q-J., Liu J-Y et al. (2004). Parental care in an ornithischian dinosaur. Nature 431: 145-146.
  • Schweitzer MH et al. (1994). Heme compounds in dinosaur trabecular bone. PNAS 94: 6291-6296.
  • Schweitzer MH & JR Horner (1999). Intravascular microstructures in the trabecular bone tissues of Tyrannosaurus rex. Annales de Paléontologie 85: 179-192.
  • Schweitzer MH et al (2005). Soft-tissue vessels and cellular preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex. Science 307: 1952-1955.
  • Schweitzer MH et al (2007). Analyses of soft tissue from Tyrannosaurus rex suggest the presence of protein. Science 316: 277-280.
  • Zimmer, C. (2008) Is dinosaur ‘soft tissue’ really slime? Science 321: 623.
  • Schweitzer MH, Wittmeyer JL & JR Horner (2005). Gender-specific reproductive tissue in ratites and Tyrannosaurus rex. Science 308: 1456-1460.
  • Asara JM et al (2007). Protein sequences from Mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex revealed by mass spectrometry. Science 316: 280-285. (see the subsequent technical discussion/criticism that followed)
  • Organ CL et al (2008). Molecular phylogenetics of mastodon and Tyrannosaurus rex. Science 320: 499. (refuting the refutations!).



Useful textbooks: 

  • Norman D (2005) Dinosaurs a very short introduction. Oxford University Press.
  • Gauthier, J & LF Gall (2001). New perspectives on the origin and early evolution of birds. Proceedings of the international symposium in honour of John H Ostrom. Peabody Museum, Yale University.

Some specific references:


  • Norman D & Weishampel D (1985). Ornithopod feeding mechanisms: their bearing on the evolution of herbivory. Am. Naturalist 126: 151
  • Farlow J (1987). Speculations about the diet and digestive physiology of herbivorous dinosaurs. Paleobiology 13: 60-72.
  • Barrett P & Willis K (2001). Did dinosaurs invent flowers? Dinosaur-angiosperm co-evolution revisited. Biological Reviews 76: 411-447.
  • Piperno, DR & H-D Sues (2005). Dinosaurs dined on grass. Science310: 1126-1128.
  • Holliday & Witmer (2008). Cranial kinesis in dinosaurs: intracranial joints, protractor muscles and their significance for cranial evolution and function in diapsids. J. Vertebr. Paleo. 28: 1073-1088.
  • Williams V, Barrett P, Purnell, M (2009). Quantitative analysis of dental microwear in hadrosaurid dinosaurs – jaw mechanics and feeding. Proc Natl Acad Sci 106: 11194-11199.
  • Bell, Snively & Shychoski (2009). A comparison of jaw mechanics in hadrosaurid and ceratopid dinosaurs using FEA. The Anatomical Record 292: 1338-1351.
  • Erickson et al. (2012). Complex dental structure and wear biomechanics in hadrosaurid dinosaurs. Science 338: 98-101.
  • Barrett P (2014). Paleobiology of herbivorous dinosaurs. Ann. Rev. Earth Planet Sci 42: 207-230.
  • Mallon & Anderson (2014). The functional and palaeoecological implications of tooth morphology and wear for megaherbivorous dinosaurs ... PlosONE 9 (6) e98605.

Respiration/aerobic capacity 

  • O'Connor P & L Claessens (2005). Basic avian pulmonary design and flow-through ventilation in non-avian theropod dinosaurs. Nature 436: 253-256. (the ground-breaking paper) 

  • Farmer C & K Sanders (2010). Unidirectional airflow in the lungs of alligators. Science 327: 338-340. (Ah ha! so basal archosaurs have surprisingly 'efficient' lungs as well ... so what does that tell us?) 

  • Benson, R, Butler, R et al (2012). Air-filled postcranial bones in theropod dinosaurs: physiological implications and the ‘reptile’-bird transition. Biological Reviews 87: 168-193. (What it says on the tin)

Lecture 8. Ultimate dinosaurs - the birds

Useful textbooks: 

  • Gauthier, J & LF Gall (2001). New perspectives on the origin and early evolution of birds. Proceedings of the international symposium in honour of John H Ostrom. Peabody Museum, Yale University. 

  • Fastovsky D & Weishampel, D (2005). The evolution and extinction of the dinosaurs. Cambridge University Press 

  • Brusatte S (2012) Dinosaur paleobiology. Wiley-Blackwell + a little intellectual excursion into evolutionary theorizing: 'correlated progression' - an approach concerning the question of how to turn a large reptile into a small mammal (or a bird) ... 

  • Kemp T (2005). The origin and evolution of mammals. Oxford Univ Press.

Some specific references (bird origins):

  • Huxley TH (1870). Further evidence of the affinity between the dinosaurian reptiles and birds. Quart. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 26: 12-31. 

  • Ostrom JH (1976). Archaeopteryx and the origin of birds. Biol J Linn Soc London 8: 91-182. 

  • Gatesy SM (1995). Functional evolution of the hindlimb and tail from basal theropods to birds. Functional morphology in vertebrate paleontology (Ed. JJ Thomason. Cambridge Univ Press. 

  • Ji & Ji (1996). On the discovery of the earliest fossil bird in China (Sinosauropteryx gen. nov) and the origin of birds. Chinese Geology, 233: 30-33. [The first report of feathered theropods from China]. 

  • Gatesy, SM & K. Dial (1996). Locomotor modules and the evolution of avian flight. Evolution 50: 331-340.

  • Gatesy, SM & K. Dial (1996). From frond to fan: Archaeopteryx and the evolution of short-tailed birds. Evolution 50: 2037-2048. 

  • Padian, K & Chiappe, LM (1998). The origin of birds and their flight. Scientific American (February): 28-37. 

  • Wagner GP & J Gauthier (1999). A solution to the problem of the homology of the digits in the avian hand. PNAS 96: 5111-5116. [also a critique by Feduccia in same issue] 

  • Currie, PJ & Chen, PJ (2001). Anatomy of Sinosauropteryx prima from Liaoning, northeastern China. Canadian J Earth Sci. 38: 1705-1727.

  • Dial, K. (2003). Wing-assisted inclined running and the evolution of flight. Science 299: 402-404. 

  • Xu, X. et al (2004).Basal tyrannosauroids from China and evidence of protofeathers in tyrannosauroids. Nature 431: 680-684. 

  • Xu, X & M. Norell (2004). A new troodontid dinosaur from China with an avian-like sleeping posture. Nature 431: 838-841.

  • Xu, X et al. (2009). A Jurassic ceratosaur from China helps clarify avian digital homologies. Nature 459: 940-944.

  • Benson, RBJ, Butler, RJ et al (2012). Air-filled postcranial bones in theropod dinosaurs: physiological implications and the ‘reptile’-bird transition. Biological Reviews 87: 168-193. 

  • Xu, et al. (2015). A bizarre Jurassic maniraptoran theropod with preserved evidence of membranous wings. Nature 521: 70-73