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The Rise of Fishes: 500 Million Years of Evolution Hardcover – 3 Dec 2010

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; second edition edition (3 Dec 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801896959
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801896958
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.3 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 551,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Anyone wanting an overview of '500 million years of evolution' of fish and aquatic creatures really needs to read this acclaimed text. It is the work of Australian palaeontologist and curator John A. Long, who works at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. This is a second edition incorporating research from the past 15 years. This is not a work of popular science. It is a richly illustrated technical book that will be of interest to anyone wanting to know about fish before they crawled out of the oceans and started the long journey from amphibians to mammals.

(Sydney Morning Herald)

Overall, this second edition comes highly recommended to anyone who has an interest in the diversity and evolution of fishes. It is an excellent read that is both engaging and informative to a broad audience, and this book would be just as comfortable on the coffee table as it would be on the shelf in your office.


This book is truly an exemplar of the amazing insights we have gained by integrating the comparative anatomical study of living animals with the evidence of the fossil record... The combination of numerous beautiful images with an engaging and well-written text by a research leader in the field makes it exeptional value.

(Gavin Young The Australian Geologist)


One could almost take this for a coffee-table book at first glance, so profusely and well is it illustrated... This book is not just a scientific and educational tool; it is also a visual celebration of the glories of biological diversity as seen in the fossil record.


[Long] enlivens his account with tales from his extensive field work... Exceptionally lucid and comprehensively illustrated.

(New Scientist)

A marvelous addition to the literature of vertebrate paleontology.

(American Paleontologist)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hansen on 5 Jun 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The Rise of Fishes" must be one of the most beautiful paleontology books ever published. It is crammed with spectacular colour photos of the actual fossils and (mostly) colour reconstruction drawings of the animals described. Every page is adorned with one or several of these illustrations and the result is truly pleasing to the eye.
Fishes have been around for the last 500 million years, starting out with primitive worm-like critters, continuing with the so-called jawless group, followed by armoured fishes, sharks and rays, and then the proper bony fishes which make up the majority of what we have today. Finally, a group of the animals developed into the lung fish and the amphibian-like fish (which turned into fish-like amphibians or whatever). Interestingly enough, many of the early forms of fishes still exist today, like the hagfish and lamprey representing the jawless stage. The lung fish also is a very old design, still around, while the amphibian predecessors already had most of the bones which are found in you or me, although in other size proportions.
The book clearly documents the amazing range of fish fossils known. Thousands of species have been named and a good number are represented by nearly complete fossils preserved in exquisite detail - sometimes even including soft parts. The photos in the book amply illustrate this. In all fairness, however, the author mentions that most fish fossils found of course are small puny scraps: scales, teeth or the odd bone. The photos give a good impression of the difficulties in working in this field. A fish skull consists of a large number of smaller bones, and often they are found in a jumble, mixed up and maybe twisted out of shape.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book for researchers, but also for educators. 30 Oct 2013
By Marc Lou - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Updated information, easy reading, perfect fossil photos and drawings. Excellent book for researchers and educators of evolution of fishes and Vertebrates in general
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A very useful book 13 Feb 2014
By qjleerui - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very good book about the evolution of fishes.You will know the clue of evolution of fishes,which is very interesting.
0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The Rise of Fishes 24 May 2014
By Greg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very informative book from the beginning of fish evolution to the modern fishes. Had nice pictures of artist interpretation of what the ancient now extinct fish looked like.
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