Vertebrate Palaeontology (Benton)

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Vertebrate Palaeontology
Vertebrate Palaeontology (Benton).jpg
Second and Third Editions of Benton's Vertebrate Palaeontology
AuthorMichael J. Benton
IllustratorJohn Sibbick
CountryUnited Kingdom
GenreVertebrates, Fossil, Biology, Geology
PublisherBlackwell Publishing, Chapman & Hall
Publication date
1990, 1997, 2005, 2014
Media typePaperback
566 22
LC ClassQE841 .B44 2005

Vertebrate Palaeontology is a basic textbook on vertebrate paleontology by Michael J. Benton, published by Blackwell's. It has so far appeared in four editions, published in 1990, 1997, 2005, and 2014. It is designed for paleontology graduate courses in biology and geology as well as for the interested layman.

The book is widely used, and has received excellent reviews:

  • "This book is a ′must′ for a biology or geology student and researcher concerned by palaeontology. It perfectly succeeds in showing how palaeobiological information is obtained". Review of 3rd edition, Zentrallblatt fur Geologie und Palaontologie, 2007.
  • "One anticipates that Benton's Vertebrate Palaeontology will become the 'industry standard', and as such it should occupy space on the shelves of all involved in undergraduate teaching". Ivan Sansom, School of Earth Sciences, University of Birmingham. Review of the 2nd edition for the Micropalaeontological Society.[1]
  • "... his expertise in a range of problems of vertebrate paleontology is amazing. As a result the contents of his book [are] very well balanced". Jerzy Dzik, Instytut Palaeobiologii PAN, Warsaw. Review of the 3rd edition for the Journal of Sedimentary Research.[2]

The book gives an overall account of every major group of living and fossil vertebrate. At the rear of the book is a phylogenetic classification which combines both the Linnaean hierarchy and the cladistic arrangement, and has been used as a guideline for the Wikipedia pages on living and extinct vertebrate taxa. However, some of Benton's classification differs from that in the Tree of Life Web Project, especially as regards the relationship of early amphibian groups (Batrachomorpha and Reptiliomorpha).


  • Benton, M. J. (2005), Vertebrate Paleontology, 3rd ed. Blackwell Science Ltd
  • Benton, M. J. (1995) Paleontología y evolución de los Vertebrados. Ed. Perfils. ISBN 978-84-87695-16-2. Spanish translation by Aurora Grandal-d'Anglade upon the first edition.
  • Benton, M. J. (2007), Paläontologie der Wirbeltiere, Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil. German translation by Hans-Ulrich Pfretzschner based upon the third edition.
  • Publisher's Website and Book Overview


  1. ^ Sansom, I. "VERTEBRATE PALAEONTOLOGY". Book Reviews. The Micropalaeontological Society. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  2. ^ Dzik, J. (2005). "Vertebrate Palaeontology (3rd ed.), by Michael J. Benton" (PDF). Journal of Sedimentary Research. Retrieved 21 March 2013.