Paleobiology and systematics of extinct clades

Paleozoic faunas include numerous fossils with problematic affinities and unique modes of life, but which are also critical for clarifying the early evolution of extant metazoan clades. We pursue an active research agenda focused on the systematics and paleobiology of Paleozoic taxa, with particular emphasis on panarthropods (e.g. lobopodians, fuxianhuiids, megacheirans, artiopodans) and their worm-like close relatives. These efforts contribute towards a more comprehensive understanding of Paleozoic animal diversity, the recognition of macroevolutionary patterns through deep time, and provide new information on the paleoecology of extinct organisms.  

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Morphological diversity of Cambrian and Ordovician aglaspidid euarthropods - Lerosey-Aubril et al. 2017, Scientific Reports 7: 11117.

Representative publications:

- Lerosey-Aubril, R., Shu, X.-J., & Ortega–Hernández, J. 2017. The Vicissicaudata revisited –insights from a new aglaspidid arthropod with caudal appendages from the Furongian of China. Scientific Reports 7: 11117.

- Yang, J., Ortega–Hernández, J., Gerber, S., Butterfield, N.J., Hou, J-B. Tian, L. & Zhang, X.-G. 2015. A superarmored lobopodian from the Cambrian of China and early disparity in the evolution of Onychophora. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112: 8678-8683.  

- Ortega–Hernández, J., Esteve, J., & Butterfield, N.J. 2013. Humble origins for a successful strategy: complete enrolment in early Cambrian olenellid trilobites. Biology Letters 9: 20130679.

- Ortega–Hernández, J., Legg, D.A., & Braddy, S.J. 2013. The phylogeny of aglaspidid arthropods and the internal relationships within Artiopoda. Cladistics 29: 15-45.