A new study reveals the hidden genetic diversity preserved in museum collections, by lab group members Elisabeth Hempel, Faysal Bibi, and Johannes Müller. The addax is a critically endangered antelope that used to roam the Sahara Desert in large numbers, but is today restricted to a few small vulnerable populations in the wild. An international … More New study on museum DNA of endangered addax antelope
Fernando Blanco, Juan Cantalapiedra, Johannes Müller and colleagues have just published a paper in Science! Punctuated ecological equilibrium in mammal communities over evolutionary time scales Human activities are leading to broad species and system declines. Prevention of such declines has led us to focus on either protection for species or protection for ecosystem function. Looking … More Ecosystem persistence paper in Science
In March, Eli Amson will begin a new job as Curator of Fossil Mammals at the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History. Congratulations Eli! Eli was previously an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow with John Nyakatura at Humboldt University then holder of a 3-year DFG project (Eigene Stelle) with our group at the MfN. Now we … More Eli goes to Stuttgart SMNS
Read Roy Ebel and Eli Amson’s post describing their new paper just published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. Through investigating the reptile skull roof by means of high-resolution computed tomography (µCT), we unveiled a hitherto unknown case of convergent evolution and provide novel insights into the lifestyle of extinct species. — Read on natureecoevocommunity.nature.com/posts/who-s-a-bonehead-novel-insights-into-evolutionary-history-from-reptilian-skull-roof-structure
Postdoctoral researcher Sara Varela has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant for her project MAPAS: Mapping Biodiversity Cradles and Graves Sara’s project seeks to understand where and why biodiversity originates and disappears. To do so, MAPAS will use modeling and mapping of species originations and extinctions in deep time and to test the influence of … More Sara Varela awarded ERC!
Roy Ebel successfully defended his master’s thesis on the Convergent Evolution of Microanatomical and Morphological Traits in the Skull Roof of Fossorial Lizards and Snakes. For this project Roy processed CT-scans of the skulls of 99 squamate species and analyzed the morphology of the skull roof in relation to locomotory behaviors. The thesis was supervised … More Congratulations Roy!
Work on the Miocene fossil record of Abu Dhabi – namely the trackways of the extinct elephant Stegotetrabelodon – has made it into the PBS documentary When Whales Walked: Journeys in Deep Time. The teaser above doesn’t show the elephant or the site, but the full trailer here does: http://pbsinternational.org/video/3sze48o2d6/4804/m2ztc/ And if you’re in the … More Elephant research featured in PBS documentary
Our team led by Bibi has just returned from a month’s fieldwork in the Pleistocene deposits of the middle Atbara River in eastern Sudan. This was the second season there and the first of a 3 year project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Lots of cool fossils found! Besides the Museum für Naturkunde, … More Fieldwork in Sudan – 2019
Faysal Bibi just returned from Abu Dhabi for filming part of a documentary by PBS and Smithsonian Channel on the evolution of elephants. Shooting took place at the site of Mleisa 1, which records the trackways of prehistoric elephants that walked across the Abu Dhabi landscape 7 million years ago. The site is important because … More Elephants of Abu Dhabi
In January 2018, Faysal Bibi led an international team in a paleontological survey of the middle Atbara River and Setit River Valleys in eastern Sudan. Previous work had documented the presence of middle to late Pleistocene sites in the region and our team discovered many more new localities and a diverse fauna. This work was … More New Pleistocene fieldwork in Sudan