Exceptionally preserved Paleozoic biotas

Our research on early animal evolution fundamentally relies on the study of exceptionally preserved biotas from numerous localities around the world. We are actively involved in the description, revision and taphonomic analysis of fossil taxa from Paleozoic marine deposits in Canada (e.g. Burgess Shale), China (e.g. Chengjiang, Guole, Xiaoshiba), Morocco (e.g. Fezouata) and the United States (e.g. Spence Shale, Wheeler Formation, Weeks Formation, St. Lawrence Formation), among others. These efforts combine field and museum work, as well as laboratory-led and collaborative projects with colleagues from other academic institutions. We are continuously searching for new sites that may help to fill the gaps in the inevitably biased stratigraphic distribution of Paleozoic exceptional fossils.


The fuxianhuiid Chengjiangocaris kunmingensis, a soft-bodied stem-group euarthropod from the early Cambrian Xiaoshiba biota in South China - Yang et al. 2013, Nature 514: 363.

Representative publications:

- Lerosey-Aubril, R.. Gaines, R., Hegna, T. A., Ortega–Hernández, J. Van Roy, P., Kier, C., & Bonino, E. 2018. The Weeks Formation Konservat-Lagerstätte and the evolutionary transition of Cambrian marine life. Journal of the Geological Society, 175: 705-715

- 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.

- Ortega–Hernández, J., Van Roy, P., & Lerosey-Aubril, R. 2016. A new aglaspidid euarthropod with a six-segmented trunk from the Lower Ordovician Fezouata Konservat-Lagerstätte, Morocco. Geological Magazine 153: 524-536.

- Ortega–Hernández, J., Lerosey-Aubril, R., Kier. C. & Bonino. E. 2015. A rare non-trilobite artiopodan from the Guzhangian (Cambrian Series 3) Weeks Formation Konservat-Lagerstätte in Utah, USA. Palaeontology 58: 265-276. 

- Yang, J., Ortega–Hernández, J., Butterfield, N.J., & Zhang. X.-G. 2013. Specialized appendages in fuxianhuiids and the head organization of early euarthropods. Nature 494: 468-471.