By Lance Grande and William E. Bemis
This book is one of the most thoroughly documented original studies of comparative
osteology to date. It is a comprehensive, in-depth phylogenetic study of fossil and living
halecomorph fishes, focusing on Amiidae and the skeletal system. Halecomorph fishes are
one of the most basal of neopterygian fish groups, and generally thought to be the sister
group of teleosts. Many species are presented in great detail, starting with a thorough
redescription of the skeleton of living Amia calva, and including beautifully
preserved fossil halecomorph species from the last 220 million years.
Numerous methodological, philosophical and theoretical concepts are discussed, from the
standpoint of an original phylogenetic study using a multidisciplinary approach. These
concepts include specimen preparation, construction of taxonomic diagnoses, individual and
ontogenetic variation in morphology, bone development, treatment of undiagnosable taxa,
combining data from fossil and living taxa, problematic taxa, problematic characters,
interpreting ontogeny from the fossil record, historical biogeography, paleoecology, and
cladistic pattern congruence.
The book is clothbound and has 700 85_8" x 11" pages with over 1,300 figures
arranged in 436 plates (including 20 color plates). The figures are mostly high resolution
halftones as combination figures with detailed original line drawings that should prove
useful to anyone interested in actinopterygian skeletal systems and their evolutionary
history and development. The cost is $75 plus postage and handling.