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Key question

How can we get more accurate phylogenies for fossil taxa?

Outline

Evolutionary trees (phylogenies) reveal patterns of evolution and biodiversity through time. For modern animals, DNA is used to make trees, with results quite stable and accurate. For fossils, DNA is lost, so morphology is used. For extant groups, DNA and morphology often conflict often due to convergent evolution masking phylogenetic signal from morphology. This aims to investigating how to use morphological data better to infer phylogenies, solving this problem. The project focuses on Archosauria, including crocodiles and birds, and bracketing the extinct dinosaurs and pterosaurs.

Methods and approaches

The project combines traditional anatomy with modern approaches such as Bayesian phylogenetics and 3D scan data.

Partners

Jérémy Anquetin – JURASSICA Museum, Fribourg, Switzerland

Duration

01.05.2017 -  30.04.2019

Funding

The project is based on a Humboldt Foundation award to Roland Sookias