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Palaeontological studies on the evolutionary origin of the vertebrates


The proposed project is paleontological but of great zoological importa since it throws direct light on the origin of chordates in general and of the vertebrates as a group. It is best done at the Natural History Museum, London, because Dr. Jefferies, leading a small international team in that institution, is an acknowledged expert on the relevant fossils and a large collection is available.
The fossils I shall study belong to the group Mitrata (Ordovician to Carboniferous, 500-320 million years in age). Mitrates have calcitic skeletons like echinoderms but anatomically are chordates. Some are primitive members of the Craniata (within which the vertebrates are included).
I shall reconstruct several of these craniate mitrates, from many countries. Sometimes I shall work directly from the fossils and sometimes reconstruct them by computer from serial sections . I shall consider the soft parts, functional morphology and mode of life, as well as the skeletons, and compare mitrates with extant chordates .

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


Cromwell Road
United Kingdom