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Dr John Cunningham

Dr John Cunningham

Dr John Cunningham
BSc(Edin), MSc(Bristol), PhD(Liv)

NERC Research Fellow

Area of research

Understanding the fossil evidence for major transitions in early evolution

Office LS113
Wills Memorial Building,
Queens Road, Clifton BS8 1RJ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 39 41353


I am currently a NERC postdoctoral fellow based in the School of Earth Sciences. My current research aims to understand the fossil evidence for major transitions in early evolution such as the origin of cells, eukaryotes, multicellularity and animals.

My recent research has focused on fossilized animal embryos from the Cambrian and lowermost Ordovician, as well as the embryo-like fossils from the Ediacaran Doushantuo biota. I have used a range of techniques in this work ranging from experimental decay to synchrotron tomography.


I completed a B.Sc. in Geology at the University of Edinburgh (2000), followed by an M.Sc. in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol (2002) and a Ph.D. at the University of Liverpool (2008). I have carried out postdoctoral research in Bristol for the past five years.


  • fossils
  • fossilized embryos
  • taphonomy
  • early animal evolution
  • the Doushantuo biota

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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