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The Dissection of Vertebrates - 3rd Edition - ISBN: 9780124104600, 9780124105003

The Dissection of Vertebrates

3rd Edition

Authors: Gerardo De Iuliis Dino Pulerà
eBook ISBN: 9780124105003
Paperback ISBN: 9780124104600
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 20th August 2019
Page Count: 416
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Detailed and concise dissection directions, updated valuable information and extraordinary illustrations make The Dissection of Vertebrates, 3rd Edition the new ideal manual for students in comparative vertebrate anatomy, as well as a superb reference for vertebrate and functional morphology, vertebrate paleontology, and advanced level vertebrate courses, such as in mammalogy, ornithology, ichthyology, and herpetology.

This newly revised edition of the most comprehensive manual available continues to offer today’s more visually oriented student with a manual combining pedagogically effective text with high-quality, accurate and attractive visual references. This new edition features updated and expanded phylogenetic coverage, revisions to the illustrations and text of the lamprey, shark, perch, mudpuppy, frog, cat, pigeon, and reptile skull chapters, and new sections on amphioxus or lancelet (Branchiostoma, Cephalochodata), a sea squirt (Ciona, Urochordata), shark musculature, a gravid shark, shark embryo, cat musculature, and the sheep heart.

Using the same systematic approach within a systemic framework as the first two editions, The Dissection of Vertebrates, 3rd Edition covers several animals commonly used in providing an anatomical transition sequence. Nine animals are covered: amphioxus, sea squirt, lamprey, shark, perch, mudpuppy, frog, cat, and pigeon, plus five reptile skulls, two mammal skulls, and the sheep heart.

Key Features

  • Winner of a 2020 Textbook Excellence Award (College) (Texty) from the Textbook and Academic Authors Association
  • Seven detailed vertebrate dissections, providing a systemic approach
  • Includes carefully developed directions for dissection
  • Original, high-quality award-winning illustrations
  • Clear and sharp photographs
  • Expanded and updated features on phylogenetic coverage
  • New sections on: amphioxus (Cephalochordata); sea squirt (Urochordata); shark musculature; gravid shark; shark embryo; cat musculature; sheep heart


2nd or 3rd year university level comparative vertebrate anatomy courses. Biology and Zoology majors, as well as for some Forensics and Criminology programs, and offered as an elective for many other non-zoology science majors. The usual prerequisite is an introductory level biology course. The course is taught as a lecture with a lab. In most cases, the lab manual (i.e. this text) is required, while the textbook for lectures is recommended. Graduate students and professional researchers in vertebrate morphology, functional anatomy, paleobiology and paleontology

Table of Contents

Contents Guide

1. Vertebrates and Their Kin
Phylogeny and Classification
Vertebrate Relatives
Amniote Skulls and Classification
Vertebrate Relatives: Cephalochordates
Vertebrate Relatives: Urochordates

2. The Lamprey
Section I: Skeleton
Section II: External Anatomy
Section III: Pleuroperitoneal Cavity and Viscera
Section IV: Sagittal Section

3. The Shark
Section I: Skeleton
Section II: External Anatomy
Section III: Muscular System 
Section IV: Digestive and Respiratory Systems
Section V: Cardiovascular System 
Section VI: Urogenital System
Section VII: Sensory Organs
Section VIII: Brain and Cranial Nerves 

4. The Perch
Section I: Skeleton
Section II: External Anatomy
Section III: Mouth, Oral Cavity, and Pharynx
Section IV: Pleuroperitoneal Cavity and Viscera

5. The Mudpuppy
Section I: Skeleton
Section II: External Anatomy
Section III: Muscular System
Section IV: Mouth, Oral Cavity, and Pharynx
Section V: Pleuroperitoneal Cavity and Viscera
Section VI: Urogenital System
Section VII: Cardiovascular System 

6. The Frog
Section I: Skeleton 
Section II: External Anatomy
Section III: Mouth, Oral Cavity, and Pharynx
Section IV: Pleuroperitoneal Cavity, Viscera, and Rogenitalurogenital System
Section V: Cardiovascular System

7. The Cat
Section I: Skeleton
Section II: External Anatomy
Section III: Muscular System
Section IV: Digestive and Respiratory Systems
Section V: Cardiovascular System
Section VI: Urogenital System
Section VII: Brain and Cranial Nerves

8. Reptile Skulls and Mandibles
Section I: Turtle Skull and Mandible
Section II: Iguana Skull and Mandible 
Section III: Snake Skull and Mandible
Section IV: Alligator Skull and Mandible
Section V: Dinosaur Skull and Mandible

9. The Pigeon
Section I: Skeleton 
Section II: External Anatomy
Section III: Musculature
Section IV: Body Cavity, Viscera, and Vessels



No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2019
20th August 2019
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:
Paperback ISBN:

About the Authors

Gerardo De Iuliis

Gerardo De Iuliis, PhD, received his doctorate from the Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, in 1996, with specialization in Vertebrate Paleontology and Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy. He currently teaches two courses, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology: Major Transitions in Vertebrate History, at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, and Human Anatomy and Physiology at George Brown College (Toronto), and is a Research Associate at the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). His primary research interests include the systematics and paleobiology of xenarthrans, particularly of fossil sloths. He has published numerous articles on fossil sloths, as well as on fossil cingulates and lungfish, among other vertebrate groups.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Dino Pulerà

Dino Pulerá, MScBMC, CMI, was the first recipient of the John J. Lanzendorf PaleoArt Award from the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology for best paleontological technical illustration in 2010. He received his Bachelor of Science in Zoology and his Masters of Science in Biomedical Communications at the University of Toronto. After completing his graduate studies, he spent the first part of his career creating visuals for textbook publications. The second half of his career has been spent working for a medical legal studio as an associate art director and medical illustrator. Dino also operates his own freelance business, specializing in animal anatomy and vertebrate paleontology. His work has won numerous awards and has been displayed in many international exhibitions. He is recognized as a Certified Medical Illustrator (CMI) by The Board of Certification of Medical Illustrators.

Affiliations and Expertise

Certified Medical Illustrator, Maple, Ontario, Canada


Winner of a 2020 Textbook Excellence Award (College) (Texty) from the Textbook and Academic Authors Association


This manual is destined to be a must for the present generation of beginning and intermediate students in the anatomy of vertebrates. It blends a familiar language with the formalism and cadence of Victorian descriptions, all the while maintaining clear directions on dissection procedures, and amazing, realistic, art, rendering its reading a vivid experience. It is strongly based in the conceptual framework of phylogeny but without losing the practical spirit of manuals. The incorporation of new sections on examples often not (or ever) included in other works is a bonus that broadens its scope, flexibility, and utility." --Dr Sergio F Vizcaino, Departmento Cientifico Paleontologia Vertebrados, Museo de la Plata, Argentina

This new lab manual by De Iuliis and Pulerà will quickly become the standard for veterinary and vertebrate zoology courses alike. The artwork is simply the best available, and appears more true-to-life than any others. The choice of including skeletal material beyond the standard fare (including T. rex!) makes this manual truly innovative. The text clearly explains the anatomy, and goes into more detail than any similar manual, allowing the instructor to more easily tailor the manual to his or her course. Prepare to see this work mimicked by others!" --Randall Lauff, Biology Department, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS, Canada

This book is the go-to manual for comparative anatomy and vertebrate morphology courses. The excellent artwork and clear text make it understandable and practical for students. Having taught anatomy for 36 years and used every possible lab manual, I chose this manual among all others. The inclusion of a variety of vertebrate skulls makes it a valuable tool for biology students. The 3rd edition adds valuable information on the protochordates and the sheep heart and shark reproductive system. The clear instructions and illustrations of this manual make the job of the lab instructor much easier and enjoyable. This is the best comparative anatomy lab manual! – Dr. Philip J. Motta, Professor Emeritus of Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa

De Iuliis and Pulerà have produced a must-read primer for helping our students understand the anatomy of vertebrates. It is a delightful guide full of important and relevant anatomical information on a variety of vertebrates. It is written in a straightforward, concise, easy to follow style and is accompanied by amazing artwork. We look forward to the Chinese version coming out! Read this book - and learn from one of the best. – Dr. Zhikun Gai Associate Professor of Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing

I have been using this outstanding lab manual for my Vertebrate Biology course for more than ten years. It is simply the best available for vertebrate comparative anatomy courses. I have always appreciated the broad coverage and excellent diagrams, and especially the combination of artwork and photographs. The third edition builds upon the strengths of the previous two by adding sections on the amphioxus, sea squirt, and sheep heart. These new sections have excellent diagrams and photos; for example, the photos of the preserved sheep heart with the superficial adipose tissue and cut vessels show the students what the heart in the dissecting tray in front of them actually looks like, as opposed to a stylized artistic view of the heart seen in most lab texts. No other lab manual I am aware of offers this realistic approach. Like the previous editions, the new photos and art are clear and easy to read and study. I am looking forward to bringing this updated lab text to a whole new generation of students. – Dr. Mark S. Mills, Assistant Professor of Biology, Missouri Western State University, St Joseph

De Iuliis and Pulerà’s The Dissection of Vertebrates is a special work that combines current science and anatomical description with exceptional illustration. Importantly, the authors introduce vertebrate anatomy on a solid phylogenetic footing before proceeding to the sections that separately focus on dissections of exemplar vertebrates.
I have used De Iuliis and Pulerà’s The Dissection of Vertebrates since its inaugural publication – no other manual comes close to this work in terms of its clarity of prose and highly polished scientific illustration. In my course, we focus on the dissection of the cat, and the content of the manual is excellently suited for an in-depth coverage of mammalian anatomical systems over the course of a semester. The writing is clear and accessible, and its organization is well suited for training students to rely on working between the guide and specimen, with dissection tools in hand.
The sections on mammal and reptile skulls are exciting features usually not seen elsewhere, and introduce students to the intricacies and varieties of form that have evolved in those lineages. This aspect, along with the breathtaking illustrations, transforms the manual into an important reference for students and morphologists alike. In addition, De Iuliis brings the content up to date, such as including new terms such as procoracoid, which reflects the current work on recent reconsiderations of anatomical homologies.
The illustrations deserve extra comment: Pulerà’s renderings show an extraordinary commitment to accuracy and aesthetic excellence; in addition to their value for navigating anatomy, virtually any of his illustrations could be framed and displayed as high culture natural history art. In this regard, the manual could, arguably, serve as a source for a course in scientific illustration. For all of these reasons I could not recommend a work on vertebrate anatomy more highly. All told, it is a work that would make the science’s founder, Georges Cuvier, proud. – Dr. Thomas D. Carr, Associate Professor of Biology, Carthage College, Kenosha

Ratings and Reviews