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The origins and early history of amniotes

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Department of Earth Sciences

3 South Parks Road

Oxford

OX1 3AN

United Kingdom

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Dr David Ford (University of Oxford will give the Oxford Geology Group Buckland Lecture for May:

Amniotes comprise all mammals and reptiles (including birds). Today they are a major component of global ecosystems, accounting for almost four fifths of all land vertebrate diversity, yet much about their origins and early divergences remain obscure. Today, we consider all amniotes as monophyletic, with a single common ancestor, all sharing a suite of extraembryonic membranes, which define the amniotic egg. The oldest undisputed fossil eggs are found in the Upper Triassic, some 110 million years after the earliest amniotes, so how do we define fossil amniotes prior to this? When did the crown-groups of mammals and reptiles diverge? What did they look like and what were their interrelationships? This lecture will explain our current understanding of early amniote palaeobiology and phylogeny, and how using micro-computed high resolution X-ray tomography has begun to question the current paradigm of early amniote evolution.

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Department of Earth Sciences

3 South Parks Road

Oxford

OX1 3AN

United Kingdom

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