Fossil Parasites

Fossil Parasites

1st Edition - November 21, 2015

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  • Editors: Tim Littlewood, Kenneth De Baets
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780128040010
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128040270

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Fossil Parasites, the latest edition in the Advances in Parasitology series established in 1963, contains comprehensive and up-to-date reviews on all areas of interest in contemporary parasitology, including medical studies of parasites of major influence, such as plasmodium falciparum and trypanosomes. The series also contains reviews of more traditional areas, such as zoology, taxonomy, and life history, which help to shape current thinking and applications. Parasitism is a dominant life history strategy and we know it has existed for millions of years. Detecting parasitism in the fossil record is problematic because we rarely see direct evidence and usually must rely on indirect evidence to infer its existence. This unique volume takes a broad and systematic view of direct and indirect evidence for parasitism in the fossil record.

Key Features

  • Expert contributors providing timely reviews of different aspects of palaeoparasitology
  • Comprehensive treatments of taxonomic groups never before summarized
  • Comprehensive coverage of important historical and recent advances in the field
  • New avenues for research are explored and suggested


Parasitologists, palaeontologists, ecologists, archaeologists, epidemiologists, evolutionary biologists and general biologists with an interest in the history of parasites and their intimate relationships with their hosts through time will find this thematic review invaluable.

Table of Contents

    • Series Editor
      • Editorial Board
    • Contributors
    • Preface
    • Chapter One. The Importance of Fossils in Understanding the Evolution of Parasites and Their Vectors
      • 1. Introduction
      • 2. Techniques for Ancient Parasite Discovery
      • 3. The Parasite Fossil Record
      • 4. Molecular Perspectives on Parasite Phylogeny and Evolution
      • 5. Future Perspectives
    • Chapter Two. The Geological Record of Parasitic Nematode Evolution
      • 1. Introduction
      • 2. Media for the Study of Fossil Nematodes
      • 3. Palaeozoic Parasitic Nematodes
      • 4. Parasitic Nematode Body Fossils from the Mesozoic
      • 5. Nematode Parasites from the Early Cenozoic
      • 6. Nematode Parasites from the Oligocene–Miocene
      • 7. Nematode Parasites from the Pliocene
      • 8. Nematode Parasites from the Pleistocene and Holocene
      • 9. Stages in the Evolution of Nematode Parasites of Invertebrates
      • 10. Origin of Nematode Parasites of Vertebrates
      • 11. Origin of Nematode Parasites of Plants
      • 12. Summary
    • Chapter Three. Constraining the Deep Origin of Parasitic Flatworms and Host-Interactions with Fossil Evidence
      • 1. Introduction
      • 2. Assessment of the Flatworm Fossil Record
      • 3. Interpolating or Extrapolating Extant Parasite–Host Relationships and the Assumption of Parasite–Host Coevolution
      • 4. Molecular Clock Studies
      • 5. Conclusions and Future Prospects
    • Chapter Four. From Fossil Parasitoids to Vectors: Insects as Parasites and Hosts
      • 1. Introduction
      • 2. Insect Parasitism sensu stricto (s. str.) – Paraneoptera
      • 3. Insect Parasitism s.str. – Antliophora
      • 4. Insect Parasitism s.str. – Neuropteroida
      • 5. Parasitoids
      • 6. Plant Parasitism (versus Phytophagy)
      • 7. Insects as Hosts
      • 8. Insects as Vectors
      • 9. Conclusion
      • 10. Outlook
    • Chapter Five. Trace Fossil Evidence of Trematode—Bivalve Parasite—Host Interactions in Deep Time
      • 1. Introduction
      • 2. Trematode-Induced Shell Malformations in Living Bivalve Molluscs
      • 3. Occurrences of Trematode-Induced Pits in Fossil and Subfossil Bivalves
      • 4. Detrimental Effects of Trematodes on Living Bivalves and Their Potential Evolutionary Implications
      • 5. Concluding Remarks
    • Chapter Six. Fossil Crustaceans as Parasites and Hosts
      • 1. Introduction
      • 2. Crustaceans as Hosts of Parasites
      • 3. Crustaceans as Parasites of Non-crustacean Hosts
      • 4. Overview Fossil Evidence and Future Research
    • Chapter Seven. A Prejudiced Review of Ancient Parasites and Their Host Echinoderms: CSI Fossil Record or Just an Excuse for Speculation?
      • 1. Introduction
      • 2. Interpretations and Confidence
      • 3. Some Examples
      • 4. Discussion
      • 5. Conclusions
    • Chapter Eight. Differentiating Parasitism and Other Interactions in Fossilized Colonial Organisms
      • 1. Introduction
      • 2. Colonial Animals
      • 3. Putative Parasites of Fossil Colonial Animals
      • 4. Fossil Colonial Animals as Parasites
      • 5. Discussion
    • Chapter Nine. Palaeoparasitology — Human Parasites in Ancient Material
      • 1. Introduction – Parasitism
      • 2. Humans and Parasites
      • 3. Palaeoparasitology
      • 4. Recommended Material and Techniques for Microscopic Examination in Palaeoparasitology
      • 5. Parasite Finds in Human Archaeological Remains
      • 6. Other Parasites: Parasites of Animals Found in Human Coprolites; Parasites in Prehistoric Asia
      • 7. Origin and Evolution of Trypanosomatids in Humans and the Paradigm Shift from Results in Palaeoparasitology
      • 8. Ectoparasites
      • 9. Conclusions
    • Chapter Ten. Human Parasites in Medieval Europe: Lifestyle, Sanitation and Medical Treatment
      • 1. Introduction
      • 2. Parasites in Europe Prior to the Medieval Period
      • 3. Medieval Period
      • 4. Conclusion
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 458
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2015
  • Published: November 21, 2015
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780128040010
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128040270

About the Editors

Tim Littlewood

D. Timothy J. Littlewood is a Merit Researcher and currently Head of Life Sciences Department at the Natural History Museum, London. His main research interests include the systematics of platyhelminths (flatworms), and other phyla, particularly with a view to revealing patterns of diversity and diversification associated with parasitism.

Affiliations and Expertise

Natural History Museum, London, U.K.

Kenneth De Baets

Kenneth De Baets is a paleobiologist. He has a MSc. degree in Geology from Ghent University and a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Zürich. He currently has a teaching position at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. His main research focuses on macroevolution, particularly on the relative contributions of biotic interactions (e.g., parasitism) and abiotic factors (e.g., climate) in driving these large-scale patterns. Invertebrates, particularly molluscs and parasitic flatworms, are his main research subjects for these purposes. The evolution of parasitism across the metazoan tree of life is currently one of his main research focuses.

Affiliations and Expertise

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany

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