Hoofed mammal evolution


Restoration of Miocene fauna of North America, on a mural made for the Smithsonian Museum. Includes Moropus, Daphoenodon Palaeocastor, Stenomylus, Parahippus, Daeodon, Merychyus, Promerycochoerus. Date 1964 Source Scan from the Time-Life book "North America" Author Jay Matternes

Research in my lab uses the fossil record of mammals, especially hoofed mammals (ungulates), to study long-term patterns of biodiversity through time. We use the fossil record to study evolutionary relationships, major evolutionary changes, and how diversity responds to changes in the environment.

Ungulates are an ideal group to use in studies of diversity patterns for two fundamental reasons: many ungulate groups have living representatives, and ungulates have an exceptionally rich Cenozoic fossil record. We can use information from the living animals, such as molecular, physiological, and developmental data, to interpret their extinct relatives. Fossil ungulates are pretty varied and occupy a variety of niches, and range in size from rabbit-sized to hippo-sized, all factors which seem to have played important roles in their diversification. 

© Jessica Theodor 2018