Marine mammals: evolutionary biology (second edition)

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Berta, Annalisa ; Sumach, James L. ; Kovacs, Kit M. (2007)

The ever-popular field of biology that focuses on mammals that evolved to exploit the marine environment has spawned a suite of texts in the last decade. These have been dedicated to the evolution, systematics, morphology, anatomy, physiology, behaviour, sociobiology, ecology and conservation of this well-studied group. Berta et al.’s latest addition to this literature is an impressive advancement of their first edition (2003), and is certainly the only major authored work of its kind [the competing texts are all edited works: Reynolds & Rommel’s Biology of marine mammals (1999); Hoelzel’s Marine mammal biology: an evolutionary approach (2002); and Perrin et al.’s Encyclopedia of marine mammals (2002)]. Although there is considerable overlap and repetition among texts, Berta et al. have deliberately carved out their own niche by focusing heavily on the systematics of the varied taxa this group comprises. The book is unsurpassed as a marine mammal systematics and phylogenetic reference source, with more compiled detail on the evolution of cetaceans, pinnipeds and sirenians than is found in all the other texts combined.
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