With the proliferation of books that appear annually, it is rare for one to reach the standing of a classic. William K. Gregory's Fish Skulls, originally published in the transactions of the American Philosophical Society in 1933, has had lasting
significance and usefulness, rendering it a classic in published ichthyology literature. In the following excerpts from the preface, Gregory describes his work.
"During the years 1926--1928 Mrs. Louise Nash made, under the author's direction and for the present work, a considerable number of drawings of teleost skulls representing many of the orders and suborders. In these semi-diagrammatic, largely free-hand drawings the artist has, it seems, successfully seized the more salient
characteristics; but precision in measurements is not claimed for them. In 1929, 1930, 1931 and 1932, Mrs. Helen Ziska contributed to the series a still larger number of carefully measured drawings."
"The vast and scattered literature of ichthyology contains hundreds of figures and descriptions of the skulls of teleost fishes, both recent and fossil. Monographs of outstanding value, such as those of Allis, Starks, Ridewood, Jungersen, Kishinouye and many others, have been
devoted to the anatomy and osteology of particular types or groups of teleosts, while every systematist has used skull characters in his definitions of the swarming orders, suborders, families, genera and species. Nevertheless it has seemed worthwhile to bring into existence the present collection of drawings of teleost skulls and to attempt a new review of the field as a whole, with special reference to problems of evolution."