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Dr John Cunningham
Dr John Cunningham
NERC Research Fellow
BSc(Edin), MSc(Bristol), PhD(Liv)
Area of research
Understanding the fossil evidence for major transitions in early evolution
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.
- fossilized embryos
- early animal evolution
- the Doushantuo biota
School of Earth Sciences
Earth Sciences staff
- Cunningham, JA, Rahman, IA, Lautenschlager, S, Rayfield, EJ & Donoghue, PCJ 2014, A virtual world of paleontology. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, vol 29., pp. 347-357
- Dong, X-P, Cunningham, JA, Bengtson, S, Thomas, C-W, Liu, J, Stampanoni, M & Donoghue, PCJ 2013, Embryos, polyps and medusae of the Early Cambrian scyphozoan Olivooides. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, vol 280.
- Cunningham, JA, Thomas, C-W, Bengtson, S, Kearns, SL, Xiao, S, Marone, F, Stampanoni, M & Donoghue, PCJ 2012, Distinguishing geology from biology in the Ediacaran Doushantuo biota relaxes constraints on the timing of the origin of bilaterians. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, vol 279., pp. 2369-2376
- Cunningham, JA, Thomas, C-W, Bengtson, S, Marone, F, Stampanoni, M, Turner, FR, Bailey, JV, Raff, RA, Raff, EC & Donoghue, PCJ 2012, Experimental taphonomy of giant sulphur bacteria: implications for the interpretation of the embryo-like Ediacaran Doushantuo fossils. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, vol 279., pp. 1857-1864
- Bengtson, S, Cunningham, JA, Yin, C & Donoghue, PCJ 2012, A merciful death for the "earliest bilaterian," Vernanimalcula. Evolution and Development, vol 14., pp. 421-427
- Huldtgren, T, Cunningham, JA, Yin, C, Stampanoni, M, Marone, F, Donoghue, PCJ & Bengtson, S 2012, Response to Comment on "Fossilized Nuclei and Germination Structures Identify Ediacaran 'Animal Embryos' as Encysting Protists". Science, vol 335., pp. -
- Cunningham, JA, Ruecklin, M, Blom, H, Botella, H & Donoghue, PCJ 2012, Testing models of dental development in the earliest bony vertebrates, Andreolepis and Lophosteus. Biology Letters, vol 8., pp. 833-837
- Huldtgren, TE, Cunningham, JA, Yin, C, Stampanoni, M, Marone, F, Donoghue, PCJ & Bengtson, S 2011, Fossilized nuclei and germination structures identify Ediacaran ‘animal embryos’ as encysting protists. Science, vol 334., pp. 1696-1699
- Dong, X, Bengtson, S, Gostling, N, Cunningham, J, Harvey, T, Kouchinsky, A, Val'kov, A, Repetski, J, Stampanoni, M, Marone, F & Donoghue, P 2010, The anatomy, taphonomy, taxonomy and systematic affinity of Markuelia: Early Cambrian to Early Ordovician scalidophorans. Palaeontology, vol 53., pp. 1291 - 1314
- Cunningham, J & Abt, C 2009, Coordinated shifts to non-planktotrophic development in spatangoid echinoids during the Late Cretaceous. Biology Letters, vol 5., pp. 647 - 650
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