Three key articles review the origins and evolution of bodies and offer an integrative perspective on genetics, geology, and ecology: King, N. (2004) The unicellular ancestry of animal development, Developmental Cell 7:313-325; Knoll, A. H., and Carroll, S. B. (1999) Early animal evolution: Emerging views from comparative biology and geology, Science 284:2129-2137; Brooke, N. M., and Holland, P. (2003) The evolution of multicellularity and early animal genomes, Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 13:599-603. All three papers are well referenced and offer a good introduction to the topics of the chapter.
For stimulating treatments of the consequences of the origin of bodies and of other new forms of biological organization, see L. W. Buss, The Evolution of Individuality (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), and J. Maynard Smith, and E. Szathmary, The Major Transitions in Evolution (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
The story behind the Ediacarian animals is covered, with references, in Richard Fortey's Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth (New York: Knopf, 1998), and Andrew Knoll's Life on a Young
Planet (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002).
The experiment that yielded "proto-bodies" from "no-bodies" is described in Boraas, M. E., Seale, D. B., Boxhorn, J. (1998) Phagotrophy by a flagellate selects for colonial prey: A possible origin of multicellularity, Evolutionary Ecology 12:153-164.
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