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Sensory Evolution on the ThresholdAdaptations in Secondarily Aquatic Vertebrates$
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J. G. M. Thewissen

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780520252783

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520252783.001.0001

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On Becoming Aquatic

(p.1) 1 Introduction
Sensory Evolution on the Threshold

J. G. M. Thewissen

Sirpa Nummela

University of California Press

Vertebrates have become secondarily aquatic many times in their evolution. Many vertebrates moved from land to water and evolved adaptations to their transitional habitats. This introductory chapter provides an overview of the origin of tetrapods and presents some hypotheses about sensory evolution. It discusses the evolutionary aspects of the sense organs of tetrapods and characterizes their specific adaptations to aquatic life. It also presents an overview of the phylogeny, diversity, and degree of aquatic specialization of secondarily aquatic tetrapods: amphibians, aquatic and semiaquatic reptiles, aquatic and semiaquatic birds, and aquatic and semiaquatic mammals.

Keywords:   tetrapods, sensory evolution, adaptations, secondarily aquatic tetrapods, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals

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