Team of Evolution Biology EVO BIO
The Evolutionary Biology team deals with the morphology and comparative anatomy of todays and fossil representatives of the Squamata group (lizards, amphisbaenians and snakes) and their phylogeny. For this purpose, it uses computed micro-tomography (CT) together with the visualization programs Volume Graphics Studio and Avizo. Phylogenetic analyzes help to reveal the relationships of extinct species to modern lines. Knowledge of the evolution of reptiles is key to understanding todays representatives and their current geographical distribution. The findings of exotic groups in prehistoric Europe make it possible to understand migration routes (e.g. from Africa and Asia) and the development of climate and change in the past. On the contrary, knowing the ecology of todays representatives helps to understand the preferences of their extinct relatives. Fossil findings come, for example, from the world-famous Messel site in Germany (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Phosporites du Quercy in France, but also from many other sites such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Turkey, India and Australia.
The study of todays species, such as chameleons, agamas, lizards, or cordylides, focuses on the comparative anatomy and functional morphology of the cranial and postcranial region using the latest multidisciplinary methodologies. One of the focuses is, for example, the study of how the transition from limb forms to serpentiform morphology takes place and what morphological changes it requires.