About the Book
"Vertebrates represent the overwhelming majority of the phylum Chordata, with currently about 66,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fish and the jawed vertebrates, which include the cartilaginous fish (sharks, rays, and ratfish) and the bony fish.
A bony fish clade known as the lobe-finned fishes is included with tetrapods, which are further divided into amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds.
Embryology is the branch of biology that studies the prenatal development of gametes (sex cells), fertilization, and development of embryos and fetuses. Additionally, embryology encompasses the study of congenital disorders that occur before birth, known as teratology.
All vertebrate embryos follow a common developmental plan due to having a set of genes that gives the same instructions for development. As each organism grows, it diverges according to its species way of life. Human embryonic development is similar to that of other vertebrates, more like that of other mammals than nonmammals, and most similar to that of other primates. From the study of ontogeny, we discover clues about the transformation of species through evolutionary change.
The newborn of each species receive quite different treatment. The salamander abandons the eggs after she lays them, and the larvae receive no parental care at all. The hen incubates her eggs with body heat while sitting on them in a nest. The newly hatched chicks receive some protection from the mother hen, but begin immediately to find their own food. After gestation times of four (pig), six (monkey), and nine months (human), newborn mammals are nourished by their mother's milk and require extended care before they become independent adults.
Special effort has been made to appeal to students' natural curiosity and to help them explore the various facets of the exciting subject area of Vertebrate Embryology. Written in clear, simple language understandable to the general reader, yet in-depth enough for scientists, educators and advanced students. The style is easy to read and suitable for nonnative English speakers and translators with no engineering experience."