Research projects

01/01/2012 to 31/12/2013

Fossil sperm whales and their prey: evolution of Physeteroid feeding strategies

The objective of this project is to investigate the high diversity of morphologies and sizes among fossil and modern sperm whale lineages in order to reconstruct the evolution of their predation modes, prey types and habitats - and to define the potential triggers of the main ecological shifts.
01/10/2011 to 01/10/2015

Palaeodemographic and palaeopathological study of the St.Romboutscemetery, Mechelen

Doctoral thesis by Katrien Van de Vijver at the Faculty of Sciences KU Leuven on the human skeletons found in the St.Romboutscemetery in Mechelen, dated between the 11th and 18th centuries AD.
01/10/2011 to 30/09/2014

Divergent pathways to early food production and early complex societies: archaeozoological data from northeastern Africa

Through archaeozoological analyses the project aims at demonstrating that possible pathways to food production, resulting in the rise of complex societies and probably the most important development in human history, are very diverse and that the models from Eurasia are not valid in Africa. The role of the natural environment is thereby tested.
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).
16/11/2010 to 15/11/2013

Project DIGIT05: catalogues and databases of scientific collections

Paleobotany Collections of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences are among the largest and richest in Europe. They are unique in the world for the Paleozoic (542-299 Ma) as they contain many type specimens from internationally defined historical and actual stratotypes from existing sites in Belgium
15/10/2010 to 15/12/2011

Geothermal platform of Wallonia

With the awareness of these last years on climate warming and scarcity of fossil energy sources, renewable energy sources undergo a fast growing development. The geothermal energy has the advantage to be a clean in terms of gas emissions and inexhaustible resource.

01/09/2010 to 31/08/2013


The goal of the project is to map the potential of very shallow geothermal energy in Europe. Therefore, ThermoMap aims at fostering the subsoil information in order to develop shallow geothermal systems across Europe.
01/02/2010 to 31/07/2011

Characterisation of hypersiliceous rocks from Belgium

In this research, outcrops of hypersiliceous rocks, ranging form Cambrium to Tertiary in age, are being mapped. The inter- and intravariability within one outcrop and between different outcrops is being studied by a multidisciplinary approach (petrography, spectrometry and diffractometry).
01/01/2010 to 31/12/2015

Evolution of the deep-sea ecosystem during early Eocene transient warming events: stable- isotope and foraminiferal evidence

Tijdens het laat Paleoceen – vroeg Eoceen (60-50 Ma) onderging de aarde de warmste omstandigheden van het Cenozoïcum. Vooral op hoge en gematigde breedten waren de temperaturen veel hoger dan vandaag. Bovenop deze warme basissituatie beïnvloedde een felle en kortstondige opwarming (“hyperthermaal”) van de aarde, bekend als het Paleoceen-Eoceen...
01/01/2010 to 31/12/2014

The former occurrence of sturgeon in the North Sea: the contribution of archaeozoology and ancient DNA

Doctoral thesis by Els Thieren at the Faculty of Sciences KU Leuven on the identification of the sturgeon species occurring in the North Sea during prehistoric and historic times. The study material includes both modern and archaeological specimens.


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