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Dr John Cunningham

Understanding the fossil evidence for major transitions in early evolution

I am currently a senior teaching associate based in the School of Earth Sciences. I am responsible for supervising and mentoring students on the Palaeobiology M.Sc. programme. My research aims to understand the fossil evidence for major transitions in early evolution such as the origin of cells, eukaryotes, multicellularity and animals. 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.

Research keywords

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