Vertebrate Life (11th Edition)

F Harvey Pough, William E Bemis, Betty McGuire and Christine M Janis
OUP, £144.99

Vertebrate life is almost as diverse as it is ubiquitous across most habitats around the globe, from small to large animals living in water or on the land. This is the story, history and key features of that life, in the form of a well-established textbook, now in its 11th edition.

As all good textbooks should, Vertebrate Life starts with a grand and global overview of the subject area to give the student a broad background. It sets the context for the areas that will be covered and draws the interest of the student to want to learn more. This is followed by fundamental facts, such as what is a vertebrate? Building upon that firm foundation it then covers a wide range of life and ecology across a geological timescale.

Chapters have summaries of key points to understand, allowing that knowledge to be taken forward. The book ends with the expected and very useful glossary and thorough index of keywords, topics and animals. This aids cross-referencing and wider reading of topics across chapters, from jawless vertebrates all the way through to primate evolution and the emergence of humans. Featuring chapters on geography, ecology, turtles, theropods, the origin of mammals and more along the way, and including useful illustrations, diagrams and some nice photographs.

Dr Amanda Hardy MRSB