Evolution's Witness
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Evolution's Witness : How eyes evolved

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With predation and carnivory as catalysts, the first known eye appeared in a trilobite during the Cambrian explosion approximately 543 million years ago. This period was a crucible of evolution and teemed with anatomic creativity although the journey to formed vision actually began billions of years before that. The Cambrian period, however, spawned nearly all morphologic forms of the eye, followed by descent over hundreds of millions of years providing an unimaginable variety of eyes with at least ten different designs. Some eyes display spectacular creativity with mirror, scanning or telephoto optics. Some of these ocular designs are merely curiosities, while others offer the finest visual potential packed into a small space, limited only by the laws of diffraction or physiological optics. For example, some spiders developed tiny, well-formed eyes with scanning optics and three visual pigments; scallops have 40-100 eyes circling their mantle, each of which has mirror optics and contains two separate retinae per eye; deep ocean fish have eyes shaped like tubes containing yellow lenses to break camouflage; and some birds have vision five times better than ours; but this is only part of the story. Each animal alive today has an eye that fits is niche perfectly demonstrating the intimacy of the evolutionary process as no other organ could. The evolution of the eye is one of the best examples of Darwinian principles. Although few eyes fossilize in any significant manner, many details of this evolution are known and understood. From initial photoreception 3.75 billion years ago to early spatial recognition in the first cupped eyespot in Euglena to fully formed camera style eyes the size of beach balls in ichthyosaurs, animals have processed light to compete and survive in their respective niches. It is evolution's greatest gift and its greatest triumph. This is the story of the evolution of the eye.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 328 pages
  • 228.6 x 281.94 x 17.78mm | 1,338.09g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0195369742
  • 9780195369748
  • 600,016

Review quote

In Evolutions witness: how eyes evolved, Ivan R Schwab ventures back nearly 4,000 million years to witness the key events that have shaped the ability to form an image and trace the evolution of an organ that was considered by Charles Darwin to be almost perfect... Any person interested in comparative neurobiology will find this book a must and will marvel at how natural selection has driven adaptational change... this comprehensive and beautifully illustrated text should sit on the shelves of all students, graduates and academics with an interest in evolution, adaptation, neural plasticity and natural history. For those more intimately working in the field of visual neuroscience (including optometrists and ophthalmologists), it provides a unique and holistic perspective that provides the context in which we are all working. * Shaun P. Collin, for Clinical and Experimental Optometry, July 2013 * Ivan Schwabs landmark new book,Evolutions Witness, which charts the development of eyes in all major taxa, comes at a propitious time.... it is a comprehensive reference but also a source of inspiration and ideas for new ways to study myriad aspects of vision. * Daniel Graham, Perception, 2012 * Amazing color photos on nearly every page ensure a vivid trek through evolution of the eye....Evolution's Witness in whole or part, is an essential mainstay for multiple disciplines, irreplaceable for vision scientists and eye care professionals. * Jeff Rabin, Optometry and Vision Science, May 2013 * I found myself being drawn further into it the more I read. * Eye News, June 2012 *show more

About Ivan R. Schwab

Ivan R. Schwab M.D. is currently a professor at the University of California, Davis where he has worked as an Ophthalmologist for over twenty years, and was on the faculty at West Virginia University for seven years before coming to UCD. His strong interest in biology and natural history has led him to investigate a diverse range of topics including ocular stem cells, bioengineered tissues for the eye and comparative optics and physiology. He has published extensively in these fields, with three previous books to his credit, and he was the winner of the 2006 IgNobel for Ornithology. He has combined those interests with one in evolution to produce this text on the evolution of the eye.show more

Table of contents

Table of Contents ; Foreword: Russell Fernald PhD ; Acknowledgments ; Introduction ; Prologue: Molecular Genesis: ; Hadean Eon 4600-3750 million years ago ; Chapters ; 1. The age of first cellular life ; Archean Eon 3750-2500 million years ago ; Prokaryotes ; Early cells-protobionts ; First life ; First witness ; The road to cellular success ; Retinal ; Photolyases and cryptochromes ; Sunlight and blue light ; Beginning to organize ; Genetic machinery-the toolkit ; Prokaryotic gifts ; Further organization ; 2. The age of complex cellular life ; Proterozoic Eon 2500-543 million years ago ; Cryogenian Period 580-650 million years ago ; Ediacaran Period 650-543 million years ago ; Inception of Eukaryotes ; Nucleated Kleptomaniacs ; Euglena gracilis ; Bridging the Gap to Metozoa ; 3. Eukaryotes organize and metozoans arise ; Neoproterozoic Era 1000-543 millions years ago ; Cryogenian Period 850-650 million years ago ; Ediacaran Period 650-543 million years ago ; Multicellular animals ; Sensory Input ; The Eye and the Brain ; Metazoans and their eyes ; 4. Early animals prepare the ground ; Ediacaran Period 650-543 million years ago ; A major genetic step ; Urbilaterians ; Another major genetic step ; Wormy beginnings ; Genetic development of eyes ; Annelids ; Mollusks take the stage ; Kimberella quadrata ; Acanthochiton communis ; Small Shelly Fauna ; 5. Vision's big bang blazes the trail ; Early Paleozoic Era, Cambrian Explosion 543-490 million years ago ; The Burgess Shale ; Invertebrates in ascendancy ; The first eye ; Trilobites ; More invertebrates and their eyes appear ; Specific examples ; 6. The age of Arthropods ; A major phylum begins: Paleozoic era, Cambrian Period 534-490 million years ago ; Compound Eye Development ; Apposition Eye ; The Crabs ; Cambrian ; 7. Vertebrates Gain a Foothold ; Paleozoic Era, Cambrian Period ; 543-490 million years ago ; Phylum Chordata ; First true vertebrates ; Conodonts ; Building a vertebrate eye ; Tapetum ; Why Color vision? ; 8. Shelly fauna rule the sea ; Paleozoic Era ; Ordovician ; 490-445 million years ago ; Mollusa ; Bivalvia ; Gastropoda ; 9. The piscine eye develops ; Silurian ; 445-415 million years ago ; Vertebrate expansion ; Placoderms ; Elasmobranchs - ; 10.The piscine eye matures ; Early Devonian Period ; 415-362 million years ago ; Bony fish appear ; Anatomy of Piscine eye ; The outer coats of the eye ; The Lens ; Neurology and optics ; Habitat expansion ; Piscine camouflage ; 11. Insects arise to fly ; Paleozoic Era ; Early Devonian ; 415-398 million years ago ; Arthropods come ashore ; The Superposition Eye ; The apposition eye ; 12. Stealth, Speed and Predation ; Paleozoic Era ; Devonian ; 415-362 million years ago ; Arachnida ; 13. The age of Tetrapods and Terrestrials ; Late Devonian Period ; 385-362 million years ago, ; Vertebrate Animalia comes ashore ; Vertebrate quest for land ; Early tetrapodian eyes ; The challenge of a terrestrial environment ; Eyelids and the lacrimal system ; Extraocular muscles ; Tear Glands ; Cornea and lens ; Retina and vision ; Consolidation of the assumption of land ; 14.Terrestrial life flourishes ; Carboniferous 362-299 million years ago ; Permian 299-251 million years ago ; Vertebrates ; Synapsids and their eyes ; Diapsids and their eyes ; Invertebrates ; Permian extinction ; 15. Reptiles push the ocular envelope ; The age of reptiles ; Mesozoic Era ; Triassic ; 251-208 million years ago ; Synapsids ; Sauropsids ; Anapsids ; Diapsids ; Adnexa of the reptilian eye ; Eyelids ; Lepidosaurs ; Archosaurs ; 16. March of the Archosaurs ; Mesozoic Era ; Triassic ; 251-208 million years ago ; Jurassic ; 208-145 million years ago ; Archosaurs ; The Order Testudines (turtles, terrapins, and tortoises) ; Turtle Eye ; Crocodilians ; Archosaurian sisters ; Ichthyosaurs ; 17. Dinosaurs and their companions ; Mesozoic Era ; Triassic ; 251-208 million years ago ; Jurassic ; 208-145 million years ago ; Pterosaurs ; Dinosaurs ; Sauropods ; Theropods ; 18. Cephalopods change direction ; Mesozoic Era ; Jurassic ; 208-145 million years ago ; Coleoids ; Cephalopod lens ; Extraocular muscles ; Coleoid Expansion ; 19. Snakes arise from the ground ; Cretaceous (145-65million years ago) ; Fossorial lizards ; Recreating an eye ; 20. The Age of Birds - The eye is taken to great heights ; Mesozoic Era ; Cretaceous (145-65 million years ago) ; Tertiary Period (65-2million years ago) ; Birds arise ; Globe morphology ; Globose Globe ; Flattened Globe ; Tubular Eye ; Orbital size and contents ; Visual fields ; Eyelids ; Nictitans ; Cornea ; Iris and pupil ; Accommodation ; Uvea: Choroid, ciliary body, iris ; Retina ; Visual Processing ; Oil Droplets ; Macular design ; Area Centralis ; Single fovea ; Infula ; Convexiclivate fovea-Single deep fovea ; Bifovate retina ; White-#ronted Bee Eater ; Pecten ; Neurologic evolution ; 21. Pollinators Co-Evolve ; Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras ; Jurassic 208-145 million years ago ; Cretaceous 145-64 million years ago ; Tertiary 65-2 million years ago ; The Earth in bloom ; A bounty for insects ; Social Hymenoptera ; Wasp, Bees, Ants, and Sawflies ; True Flies and a new eye ; Diptera ; Brachyceran flies ; 22. Mammalia diversifies ; Mesozoic and Cenozoic Eras ; Mid to late Jurassic 161 to 145 million years ago) ; Cretaceous 145-65 million years ago ; Early to mid Tertiary Period 65-56 million years ago) ; Mammals thrive ; The descent of color vision ; Marsupials ; 23. The Age of Mammals ; Mesozoic and Cenozoic Era ; Late Cretaceous 100-65 million years ago ; Tertiary 65-1.8 million years ago ; Quaternary1.8 million years ago to present ; Mammals extend their dominance ; Placental Mammals ; Primate tuning of color vision? ; 24. Planktonic soup evolves ; Cenozoic Era ; Tertiary 65 to1.8 million years ago ; Quaternary 1.8 million years ago to present ; Tiny aquatic Arthropods ; Testing the limits of eye size ; Copepods ; Transformation of larval eyes ; 25. Mammals return to the sea ; Tertiary 65-1.8 million years ago ; Quaternary 1.8 million years ago to present ; Aquatic Mammals ; 26. The visual witness and a conscious brain ; Cenozoic Era ; Quaternary period 1.8 million years ago-present ; The human eye ; The direction of the visual witness ; Appendices ; A The human eye-a camera style eye ; B Extraocular muscles ; Medial rectus ; Superior oblique ; Retractor bulbi ; Trochlea ; C Retinal Vascularization ; Evolution of retinal vascularization ; Mammalian forms of retinal vascularization ; D Evolution of the cornea and ocular coats ; Safeguarding precious contents ; E Accommodation ; F Crystalline lens ; G Photoreceptor cells ; H Neurologic evolution in birds ; References by Chapter ; Glossary ; Indexshow more

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