Fins into Limbs: Evolution, Development, and Transformation by Brian K. Hall, Ed., University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 2007. 459 pp.

Reptile and mammal limbs and bird wings are all modifications of the original tetrapod limb that, in turn, arose from the fins of earlier fish. That original transition was complex with some parts of the original fin being incorporated in the new limb, others not. Subsequent modification of the tetrapod limb has also, obviously, been diverse, including the functional reversal that involved the forelimbs of the forms ancestral to whales, seals, etc. turning “back” into fins.

Photo from Science. Original caption: New view. Tiktaalik roseae (center), from the Devonian of the Canadian Arctic, is a transitional species between lobe-finned fish (lower right) and tetrapods (upper left). Credit: Kalloipi Monyyios, University of Chicago. Click here to see a review and summary of the volume in Science. You may need a subscription.

This new edited volume covers current thinking on the evolution from fins to limbs and subsequent diversification and modification of the limbs. It includes historical context of the study of this evolutoinary and developmental story, the origins of limbs, the developmental mechanisms of limb formation, and contains specific articles on each of several evolutionary stories such as limbs in mammal evolution, adaptations for flight, fossorial (underground) adaptations, and the loss of limbs.

Here’s the table of contents:

  • Part I. Evolution
  • 1. Fins and Limbs and Fins into Limbs: The Historical Context, 1840-1940, Peter J. Bowler
  • 2. Skeletal Changes in the Transition from Fins to Limbs, Michael I. Coates and Marcello Ruta
  • 3. A Historical Perspective on the Study of Animal Locomotion with Fins and Limbs, Eliot G. Drucker and Adam P. Summers
  • 4. Fins and Limbs in the Study of Evolutionary Novelties, Gunter P. Wagner and Hans C. E. Larsson

  • Part II. Development
  • 5. The Development of Fins and Limbs, Mikiko Tanaka and Cheryl Tickle
  • 6. Mechanisms of Chondrogenesis and Osteogenesis in Fins, P. Eckhard Witten and Ann Huysseune
  • 7. Mechanisms of Chondrogenesis and Osteogenesis in Limbs, Scott D. Weatherbee and Lee A. Niswander
  • 8. Apoptosis in Fin and Limb Development, Vanessa Zuzarte-Luís and Juan M. Hurlé
  • 9. Joint Formation, Charles W. Archer, Gary P. Dowthwaite, and Philippa Francis-West
  • 10. Postnatal Growth of Fins and Limbs through Endochondral Ossification, Cornelia E. Farnum
  • 11. Paired Fin Repair and Regeneration, Marie-Andrée Akimenko and Amanda Smith
  • 12. Tetrapod Limb Regeneration, David M. Gardiner and Susan V. Bryant
  • Part III. Transformation
  • 13. Evolution of the Appendicular Skeleton of Amphibians, Robert L. Carroll and Robert B. Holmes
  • 14. Limb Diversity and Digit Reduction in Reptilian Evolution, Michael D. Shapiro, Neil H. Shubin, and Jason P. Downs
  • 15. Limbs in Mammalian Evolution, P. David Polly
  • 16. Skeletal Adaptations for Flight, Stephen M. Gatesy and Kevin M. Middleton
  • 17. Adaptations for Digging and Burrowing, Nathan J. Kley and Maureen Kearney. 18. Aquatic Adaptations in the Limbs of Amniotes, J. G. M. Thewissen and Michael A. Taylor
  • 19. Sesamoids and Ossicles in the Appendicular Skeleton, Matthew K. Vickaryous and Wendy M. Olson

[Publisher's press release]

[Reposted from gregladen.com]