Key events in evolution of terrestrial vertebrates

This axis will investigate the evolution and dynamics of terrestrial vertebrate faunas during critical periods in the History of Life on Earth, through the integration of palaeobiological, geophysical and geochemical information. It will unravel the palaeoenvironmental/extraterrestrial conditions and causes triggering the diversification, evolution and extinction of selected vertebrate clades. The effects of the physical environment on terrestrial tetrapod behavior (e.g. adaptations, selective migration flows of mammals, dinosaurs,..) will also be studied.

The following stratigraphic intervals will be investigated, in different regions of the World:

  • the Cretaceous of Europe;
  • the Paleocene of Europe and China;
  • the Paleocene/Eocene Boundary of Europe;
  • the Early Eocene of India and Central Africa;
  • the Eocene/Oligocene Boundary of Europe.

Research projects

01/12/2014 to 31/12/2017

ColdCase: re-opening of the Bernissart Iguanodon crime scene

The Early Cretaceous Iguanodon Sinkhole at Bernissart is a unique fossil deposit owing to the quantity and preservation quality of Iguanodon. Since its discovery 136 years ago, the processes leading to the local accumulation of so many complete skeletons remain completely unexplained. This project aims to evaluate different taphonomic scenarios.
01/02/2011 to 31/01/2015

The Famennian vertebrate fauna of Strud (Namur Basin, Belgium) with special focus on early tetrapod evolution and paleoecology

The study of the paleoenvironment of the Strud quarry beds (Late Famennian) is primordial because their formation took place during the earliest phase of tetrapod evolution (i.e. after their emergence around 400 million year ago and before their terrestrialisation at the beginning of the Carboniferous 40 m.y. later).
01/10/2009 to 31/12/2014

Endemic Evolution and Faunal Turnover of the European Paleocene Mammals

The project focuses on the early radiation of European mammals at the beginning of the Cenozoic era, and their evolution until the Paleocene-Eocene boundary. Study of mammals from new localities allows discerning adaptive radiation, endemic evolution and dispersal of mammals just after the dinosaur’s extinction.
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