Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History

Xiaoming Wang and Richard H. Tedford. Illustrated by Mauricio Anton

Columbia University Press


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Pub Date: July 2008

ISBN: 9780231135290

232 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $24.95£18.95

Pub Date: July 2008

ISBN: 9780231135283

232 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $34.95£24.95

Pub Date: July 2008

ISBN: 9780231509435

232 Pages

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List Price: $23.99£18.00


Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History

Xiaoming Wang and Richard H. Tedford. Illustrated by Mauricio Anton

Columbia University Press

Xiaoming Wang and Richard H. Tedford have spent the past 20 years studying the evolutionary history of the family Canidae. Both are well known for having established the modern framework for the evolutionary relationship of canids. Combining their research with Mauricio Antón's impeccable reconstructions of both extinct and extant species, Wang and Tedford present a remarkably detailed and nuanced portrait of the origin and evolution of canids over the past 40 million years.

The authors cull their history from the most recent scientific research conducted on the vast collections of the American Museum of Natural History and other leading institutions. The fossil record of the Canidae, particularly those from their birth place in North America, are the strongest of their kind among known groups of carnivorans. Such a wonderfully detailed evolutionary history provides access to a natural history that is not possible with many other groups of carnivorans.

With their rich fossil record, diverse adaptations to various environments, and different predatory specializations, canids are an ideal model organism for the mapping of predator behavior and morphological specializations. They also offer an excellent contrast to felids, which remain entrenched in extreme predatory specializations. The innovative illustrated approach in this book is the perfect accompaniment to an extremely important branch of animal and fossil study. It transforms the science of paleontology into a thrilling visual experience and provides an unprecedented reference for anyone fascinated by dogs.

Dogs: Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History is an extremely valuable and interesting book with text and illustrations by the best in the business. The volume is an original contribution to the field, bringing together all known information about canid evolution into one readily accessible text.

Lars Werdelin, Swedish Museum of Natural History

Comprehensive and fascinating account of the anatomy, evolution, and diversification of members of the dog family. Mauricio Antón's skillful anatomical illustrations and life reconstructions enrich this well-written text by the world's leading canid paleontologists. The paleobiology of canids is set against a backdrop of 40 million years of environmental change. This perspective provides a unique and useful insight into how carnivore ecosystems have evolved—a framework for considering the consequences of long-term climate change and human contact on these top predators.

Annalisa Berta, San Diego State University

A beautifully illustrated guide to the wonderful world of canids, past and present. Man's best friend finally gets his full history told.

Blaire Van Valkenburgh, University of California, Los Angeles

A breezy and highly engaging romp through the rich history of the Canidae. Renowned paleontologists Xiaoming Wang and Richard Tedford team up with noted artist Mauricio Antón to create a compelling picture of this fascinating group of carnivores. Few books can match its seamless blend of scientific accuracy and artistic beauty to explain both the roots and branches of the dog 'Tree of Life.'

John J. Flynn, American Museum of Natural History

An easy-to-read text, accompanied by Anton's marvelous illustrations... Recommended.


A definitive, readable treatment of the evolution of the canine clan.

Fossil News

Sets a new standard.... With Anton's imagery, Wang and Tedford's Dogs is nothing short of wonderful.

American Paleomtologist

A must-read for dog junkies.

H.J. Kirchhoff, Toronto Globe & Mail

Nothing short of wonderful.

Richard A. Kissel, American Paleontologist
1. Dogs: Methods of Study and the Place of Dogs in Nature
2. The Origin of Canids and Other Doglike Carnivorous Mammals
3. Diversity: Who Is Who in the Dog Family
4. Anatomy and Function: How the Parts Work
5. Hunting and Social Activity
6. Changing Environments and Canid Evolution
7. Going Places: Braving New Worlds
8. Domestic Dogs
Appendix: Canid Species and Classification
Further Reading

Honorable Mention—2008 PROSE Award in Earth Sciences, Association of American Publishers

About the Author

Xiaoming Wang is a curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and has been studying fossil land mammals in Asia, especially carnivores, for nearly twenty years. He has led numerous field expeditions in northern China, primarily in Inner Mongolia and the Tibetan Plateau. He is the lead author of Dogs: Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History.

Lawrence J. Flynn is assistant director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University and a vertebrate paleontologist specializing in Asian studies. He is a longtime coinvestigator on the Siwalik Series of Pakistan and India, Miocene deposits well known for their richness, including large hominoids. He is also coinvestigator with Chinese and American scholars on diverse fossil deposits in several Chinese provinces, including the Late Neogene Yushe Basin.

Mikael Fortelius is professor of evolutionary paleontology at the University of Helsinki and has conducted field-based research in Asia for more than twenty years, particularly in Turkey and China. He is a leader in the field of paleodiet reconstruction and the use of mammalian ecometrics in paleobiological research. Since 1992, he has coordinated the international NOW database of Neogene mammal localities and species of the Old World. He is the lead editor of Geology and Paleontology of the Miocene Sinap Formation, Turkey.