Per Ahlberg

Our research programme focuses on the large-scale morphological evolution of vertebrates, combining data from palaeontology, comparative anatomy and developmental genetics to investigate phylogenetic interrelationships and morphological transformations.

We are particularly interested in reconstructing sequences of character acquisition, which show us how morphologies have been "assembled" over evolutionary time, and in exploring the relationship between gene expression cascades and the morphologies that they generate. The overall aim is, where possible, to understand a particular evolutionary transformation in terms both of a detailed sequence of morphological evolutionary steps and of the stepwise assembly of the underlying molecular patterning. This allows us to begin approaching the generation of morphological novelty (as distinct from the action of selection upon morphological novelty) from a mechanistic perspective.

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