"This is an excellent book with insightful experiments designed to test many aspects of functional morphology and vertebrate design." Hofstra University
"Remembering that this recent tome is geared towards university level training, he remarks in the opening section that science should be fun and supplemented with hands-on practicums. And to this end, McGowan had certainly succeeded." The Canadian Field-Naturalist
A thorough understanding of the form, function, and design of animals is essential to any working biologist's knowledge. In the author's view, however, this fast-growing field of study can be made much more exciting and accessible with a hands-on, practical approach. This is the view of A Practical Guide to Vertebrate Mechanics.This text can be considered an engineering book for biologist's. The emphasis is on vertebrates, and each topic begins with a discussion of the underlying principles, followed immediately by practical experiments and laboratory exercises. First we begin with a refresher on scaling and measurement. This is followed by three chapters on the mechanical properties of materials--investigating elasticity, the strength of materials, and how things break. This leads our discussion to animal materials--bones, joints, muscles--which serve to illustrate principles of structure and load, lubrication, physiology, metabolism, and stamina. Finally, we put the systems in motion, as we discuss terrestrial locomotion, flight, and swimming.What sets this book apart from others on functional anatomy is the emphasis on practical work. Many of the experiments are simple to conduct. Detailed instructions for setting up the experiments are given in an appendix, and sample results are included to guide the student.A Practical Guide to Vertebrate Mechanics will form an important part of undergraduate and beginning graduate courses for zoology, anatomy, biomechanics, and paleontology students.