Our paper on the oldest fossil holometabolan insect larva just appeared in BMC Evolutionary Biology. More infos here.
'Palaeo-Evo-Devo' or in long 'evolutionary developmental palaeobiology' describes the study of fossil organisms with a focus on their development for drawing conclusions about the evolution of the group of the investigated organism.
The group we are mainly studying is Arthropoda sensu stricto or sclerotised arthropods. This includes well-known modern groups such as Chelicerata (spiders, scorpions and their relatives), Hexapoda (insects and their close relatives), Myriapoda (millipedes, centipedes and relatives) as well as crustaceans (crabs, shrimps, crayfish and many more). Furthermore, many exclusively fossil groups are part of Arthropoda sensu stricto. The most famous group is probably Trilobita.
For investigating the ontogeny (the development of an organism from the fertilised egg to the adult) or also only parts of the ontogeny of a fossil species, the fossil must be preserved in exceptional detail.
We, therefore, concentrate our research on fossil preservation types that yield such exceptionally preserved arthropod fossils and additionally preserve sub-adult developmental stages of such species.
Currently, there is no database present yet with all published occurencies of such fossils, but this is one of the aims of this website. For the moment, we list here some examples of fossil sites which have provided exceptional arthropod fossils including sub-adult stages and which we have already worked on (more links and further information coming soon):
The most comprehensive and up-to-date information on 'Orsten' research can be found on the website of the CORE group (CORE = Center of 'Orsten' Research and Exploration) maintained by Dieter Waloszek and Andreas Maas. Furthermore, the website yields information about the researchers currently working on the 'Orsten' and related fossils, the methods applied and the resulting publications. CORE website
2) Rhynie Chert
3) Solnhofen Lithographic Limestones as well as other lithographic
limestones from southern Germany and Lebanon:
A very large online atlas of images of Solnhofen fossils with interesting information, for example, on the systematics, morphology or rarity of the species, has been created by Roger Frattigiani, Thomas Kenngott, Martin Sauter, and Norbert Winkler. The website is only available in German, but can also be enjoyed without knowledge of the German language because of the large image collection. Solnhofen-Fossilienatlas
4) Burgess Shale:
The fauna of the Burgess Shale is vividly presented on the new website (started end of 2011) of the Royal Ontario Museum Toronto (ROM) and Parks Canada, mainly initiated by Jean-Bernard Caron. In addition to a large number of fossil images, many animals have been reconstructed and animated three-dimensionally to swim around in their natural environment. Burgess Shale website
5) Chengjiang fauna