Dr Marcello Ruta

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Exploring the deep-time roots of plant diversity

The origin of vascular plants, more than 400 million years ago, changed the surface of our planet forever. Beginning with small, simple, and grass-like ancestors, vascular plants (land plants that have lignified tissues for conducting water and minerals) evolved a huge variety of body plans. The conquest of land...

Experts meet to delve into the world of the early tetrapod

Paleontologist Dr Marcello Ruta is to give a talk at the latest meeting of a research project group which studies the early evolution and diversification of tetrapods. The Tetrapod World: early evolution and diversification (TW:eed) Project is a scientific research project studying fossils and environments from the Early Carboniferous...

How many ways are there to measure biological shape?

New research supports the use of cladistic data for quantifying the range of skull variation in a group of legless amphibians – the caecilians. The rich and diverse array of biological shapes around us is astounding. Shape, however, may be an elusive concept. What do we actually measure, and...

Investigating the diversity of sea-urchins

Research into sea-urchin fossils collected from Portugal has revealed that diversity of the taxa seems to be linked with the evolution of the sea basin. Dr Marcello Ruta, from the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK, was part of the team which investigated how echinoid (sea-urchin) diversity...

Researchers go Back to Science thanks to new Fellowships

Two researchers have been awarded science Fellowships from the University of Lincoln, worth up to £21,000. The University of Lincoln, UK, established the Back to Science Fellowships as part of its commitment to the Athena SWAN Charter, which supports women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. Physicist Fiona...

How the shape of eggs may explain evolutionary history of birds

The eggs of amniotes – mammals, reptiles and birds – come in a remarkable variety of shapes and sizes. Evolutionary biologists have now addressed shape variety in terrestrial vertebrates’ eggs, pinpointing morphological differences between the eggs of birds and those of their extinct relatives, the theropod dinosaurs. Researchers from...