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, first published in 1999, can be considered an engineering book for biologists. The emphasis is on vertebrates, and each topic begins with a discussion of the underlying principles, followed immediately by practical experiments and laboratory exercises. It begins with a refresher on scaling and measurement, followed by three chapters on the mechanical properties of materials. This leads the discussion to animal materials, which serves to illustrate principles of structure and load, lubrication, physiology, metabolism, and stamina. Finally, the book puts the systems in motion, discussing terrestrial locomotion, flight, and swimming. A Practical Guide to Vertebrate Mechanics will form an important part of undergraduate and beginning graduate courses for zoology, anatomy, biomechanics, and paleontology students.