Neil H. Shubin
The University of Chicago
Election Year: 2011
Primary Section: 27, Evolutionary Biology
Secondary Section: 22, Cellular and Developmental Biology
Membership Type: Member
I have studied major transitions in the history of vertebrate life using expeditionary paleontology and neontology, namely experimental developmental biology and comparative morphology of extant species. Working in Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks worldwide, my colleagues and I have uncovered early fossil evidence for key groups of extant amphibians, mammals, as well as species that are transitional between finned fish and limbed tetrapod. Developmental approaches, using the tools of experimental embryology and developmental genetics, have revealed the antecedents of limb development in diverse skeletal organs of fish and sharks. These approaches have revealed transitional stages in the evolution of skeletal patterns and the developmental mechanisms underlying their formation.