Missing Links provides both a compendium of evidence supporting Charles Darwin's grand theory of evolution and an overview of some of the most fascinating chapters in the 3.5+ billion year history of biological diversity on planet Earth. Written in a substantive and accessible style, this revised and updated second edition of Missing Links will serve as a source of information for the general reader as well as an ancillary text for formal and informal courses in a variety of disciplines.The first section of Missing Links introduces readers to scientific thinking and methods of studying Earth's geological history, principles of classification and phylogenetic analysis, the role of ecology in the history of life, and perspectives on the origin and evolution of species. The second section presents an overview of significant transitions in the history of Earth's biodiversity, beginning with the origin of life and including chapters on the fish-amphibian, reptile (probably dinosaur)-bird, and reptile-mammal transitions. Other chapters examine detailed evolutionary histories of flatfishes, snakes, rodents, horses, whales, and humans. The final chapter documents evolutionary changes occurring now, in living animals, within the lifetime of a human observer.
Robert Martin was born on the outskirts of New York City on February 19, 1944, and grew up on Long Island, graduating from High School in 1961. He holds a B.A. in Biology from Hofstra University (1965), an M.S. in Biology from Tulane University (1967), and Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Florida (1969). Robert's research of more than 40 years has focused on using the fossil record of rodents spanning the past 5 million years to understand the origin and dynamics of biological diversity and the abiotic and biotic forces responsible for community turnover and anatomical change. For the past 20 years he has worked in the Meade Basin of southwestern Kansas and northwestern Oklahoma conducting research supported by a number of funding agencies, most notably the National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation. He also is a member of a research team working in Pliocene and Pleistocene sediments in southern Spain. In 2011, he was recognized by Murray State University as Distinguished Scholar for his lifetime achievements in research. Bob spends his leisure time gardening, cooking, playing golf and the guitar, and painting portraits and landscapes. He is a widower presently living in Erie, PA.