2184 Evolution and development of vertebrate structures | Natural History Museum

Evolution and development of vertebrate structures

Modified scales of a fossil s
26FC
awfish

Tooth-like modified scales found along the cartilaginous rostrum of the fossil sawfish Schizorhiza stromeri

Principal Investigator

Dr Zerina Johanson

Project summary

  • Focus: Investigating the evolution and development of vertebrate teeth and the postcranial skeleton

This research focuses on the evolution and development of vertebrate teeth and the postcranial skeleton.

The work combines information from palaeontological, developmental and molecular data.

Current projects exploring the evolution of dentitions

  • Early jawed vertebrate (placoderm) dentitions
    Teeth and jaws: evolutionary emergence of a model organogenic system and the adaptive radiation of gnathostomes.
  • Chondrichthyan dentition
    Origins of the vertebrate dentition: conserved morphological development and genetic regulation of patterning in the chondrichthyan (sharks, rays) dentition. 
Modified scales of a fossil sawfish

Tooth-like modified scales found along the cartilaginous rostrum of the fossil sawfish Schizorhiza stromeri

 

Current projects investigating skeletal evolution

  • Evolution of bone
    No bones about it: an enigmatic Devonian fossil reveals a new skeletal framework - a potential role of loss of gene regulation.
  • Evolution of axial skeleton
    Fleshing out the fossil record: using organically preserved soft tissues to explore the evolution of unique vertebrate characters.
  • Evolution of appendicular skeleton
    Evolution of paired fins and the lateral somitic frontier.
elephant-shark-embryo-callorhinchus-753x435

Embryo of the elephant shark Callorhinchus

Museum staff

Collaborators

Publications

Origins, evolution and futures

We study the Earth's origins and environment, and the evolution of life.

Fossil vertebrates

Our researchers are investigating the role of vertebrate evolution in shaping the history of life on Earth.

Palaeontology collections

The geographic, stratigraphic and historical coverage of fossils in the collection make it globally important.

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