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Professor Jennifer Clack FRS

Professor Jennifer Clack, FRS

Emeritus Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology

Room 307 Austin Building
Office Phone: 01223 (3)36613


Emeritus Professor of Vertebrate Palaeontology.

Research Interests

The origin, phylogeny and radiation of early tetrapods and their relatives among the lobe-finned fish. The "fish-tetrapod" transition, and the evolution of terrestriality. Timing and sequence of skeletal and other changes which occurred during the transition, and the origin and relationships of the diverse tetrapods of the Late Palaeozoic. Origins of the modern radiations of tetrapods.


Key Publications

  • Smithson, T. R.,  Browne, A. E., Davies, S. J., Marshall, J. E. A., Millward, D., Walsh, S. A., and Clack, J. A. 2017 A new Mississippian tetrapod from Fife, Scotland, and its environmental context. Papers in Palaeontology 2017, 1-11.
  • Clack, J. A., Bennett, C. E., Carpenter, D. K., Davies, S. J., Fraser, N. C., Kearsey, T. I, Marshall, J. E. A., Millward, D., Otoo, B. K. A., Reeves, E. J., Ross, A. J., Ruta, M., Smithson, K. Z., Smithson, T. R. & Walsh, S. 2016 Phylogenetic and Environmental Context of a Tournaisian Tetrapod Fauna. Nature Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1038/s41559-016-0002 Published online 5th December
  • Sanchez, S., Tafforeau, P., Clack, J., Ahlberg, P. E. 2016 Life history of the stem tetrapod Acanthostega revealed by synchrotron microtomography. Nature. 537, 408-411. Doi.10.1038/nature19354.
  • Bennett, C, Kearsey, T., Davies, S., Millward, D., Clack, J., Smithson, T. and Marshall, J. 2016. Early Carboniferous sandy siltstones deposited in seasonal flooding episodes preserve rare non-marine fossils. Sedimentology 63, 1677-1700 doi: 10.1111/sed.12280
  • Smithson, T. R., Richards, K. R. and Clack, J. A. 2015. Lungfish diversity in Romer’s Gap: reaction to the end-Devonian extinction. Palaeontology 59,29-44 doi: 10.1111/pala.12203
  • Clack, J. A. and Milner, A. R. 2015 Basal tetrapods. Handbook of Paleoherpetology. Part 3A1. Friedrich Pfeil, Munich.
  • Porro, L.B., Rayfield, E. M., and Clack, J. A. 2015 Computed tomography, anatomical description and three-dimensional reconstruction of the lower jaw of Eusthenopteron foordi Whiteaves ,1881 from the Upper Devonian of Canada. Palaeontology 58, 1031-1047.
  • Anderson, J. S., Smithson, T. R., Mansky, C., Meyer, T., Carroll, R. L. and Clack, J. A. 2015. A diverse tetrapod fauna at the base of Romer’s Gap. PloS ONE 10(4): e0125446. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125446
  • Porro, L. B., Rayfield, E. J. and Clack, J. A. 2015 Descriptive anatomy and three-dimensional reconstruction of the skull of the early tetrapod Acanthostega gunnari Jarvik, 1952. PlosOne. e0118882. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0118882 March 11, 2015
  • Sookias, R. B, Böhmer, C. and Clack, J. A. 2014 Redescription and phylogenetic analysis of the mandible of an enigmatic Late Carboniferous tetrapod from Nova Scotia and the lability of Meckelian jaw ossification. PloS One. October 2014, 9, e109717
  • Klembara, J., Clack, J. A., Milner, A. R., Ruta, M. 2014. Cranial anatomy, ontogeny, and relationships of the Late Carboniferous tetrapod Gephyrostegus bohemicus Jaekel, 1902. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 34, 774-792.
  • Smithson, T. R. and Clack, J. A. 2013 Tetrapod appendicular skeletal elements from the Early Carboniferous of Scotland. Comptes Rendus 12, 405-417.
  • Pierce, S. E, Hutchinson, J. R. and Clack, J. A. 2013 Historical perspectives on the evolution of tetrapodomorph movement. Integrative and Comparative Biology. doi:10.1093/icb/ict022 53, 209-223
  • Pierce, S. E., Ahlberg, P. E., Hutchinson, J. R., Molnar, J. L., Sanchez, S., Tafforeau, P. and Clack, J. A. 2013. Vertebral architecture in the earliest stem tetrapods. Nature. 494: 226-230. Doi:10.1038/Nature11825.
  • Sharp, E. L. and Clack, J. A. 2013 A review of the Carboniferous lungfish genus Ctenodus Agassiz 1838 from the United Kingdom, with new data from an articulated specimen of Ctenodus interruptus. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 104, 169-204.
  • Clack, J. A., Witzmann, F., Snyder D., and Müller, J. 2012 A colosteid-like early tetrapod from the St. Louis Limestone (Early Carboniferous, Meramecian), St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Fieldiana Life and Earth Sciences 5, 17-39.
  • Sharp, E. L. and Clack, J. A. 2012 Redescription of the lungfish Straitonia waterstoni from the Viséan of Lothian, Scotland. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Earth and Environmental Sciences 102, 179-189.
  • Pierce, S. E., Clack J. A. and Hutchinson J. R. 2012. Three-dimensional limb joint mobility in the early tetrapod Ichthyostega. Nature. 486:523-526
  • Smithson, T.R., Wood, S.P., Marshall, J.E.A. and Clack, J.A. 2012. Earliest Carboniferous tetrapod and arthropod faunas from Scotland populate Romer's Gap. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109:4532-4537
  • Clack, J.A. 2012. Gaining ground: the origin and evolution of tetrapods. Second Edition. Indiana University Press. Bloomington, Indiana, USA. 523 pp
  • Pierce, S. E., Clack J. A. and Hutchinson J. R. 2011. Comparative axial morphology in pinnipeds and its correlation with aquatic locomotory behaviour. Journal of Anatomy (pagination tba)
  • Clack. J. A. and Milner, A. R.  2010. The Morphology and Systematics of the Pennsylvanian  Amphibian Platyrhinops lyelli (Amphibia: Temnospondyli). Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Earth and Environmental Sciences 100, 275-295
  • Clack, J. A. 2009 The fish - tetrapod transition: new fossils and interpretations.  Evolution: Education and Outreach. 2:213-223
  • Kimmel, C, Sidlauskas, B. and Clack, J. A. 2009 Linked morphological changes during palate evolution in early tetrapods. Journal of Anatomy 215: 91-109 doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2009.01108.x
  • Clack, J. A. and Klembara J. 2009 An articulated specimen of a chroniosuchid from the Late Permian of Russia. Special Papers in Palaeontology. 81:15-42
  • Clack, J. A. (2009) The fin to limb transition: new data, intepretations, and hypotheses from paleontology and developmental biology.  Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences. 37: 163-179
  • Callier, V., Clack, J. A., Ahlberg, P. E. (2009) Contrasting ontogenetic trajectories in the earliest known tetrapod forelimbs. Science. 324, 364-367. DOI: 10.1126/science.1167542
  • Ahlberg, P.E., Clack, J. A., Luksevics, E., Blom, H. and Zupins I. (2008) Ventastega curonica and the origin of tetrapod morphology. Nature 453, 1199-1204
  • Clack, J. A., (2007) Devonian climate change, breathing, and the origin of the tetrapod stem group. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 47: 510-523
  • Ruta, M. and Clack, J. A. (2006) A review of Silvanerpeton miripedes, a stem amniote from the Lower Carboniferous of East Kirkton, West Lothian, Scotland. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences, 97, 31-63
  • Clack, J. A. (2006) The emergence of early tetrapods. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatoogy, Palaeoecology. 232, 167-189
  • Clack, J. A. (2005) Making headway and finding a foothold: tetrapods come ashore. In: Evolving form and function: fossils and development. D. E. G. Briggs, (ed.) Peabody Museum of Natural History Special Publications, Yale University. pp 223-244.
  • Ahlberg, P. E., Clack, J. A. and Blom, H. (2005) The axial skeleton of the Devonian tetrapod IchthyostegaNature. 437, 137-140
  • *Clack, J. A., Ahlberg P. E., Finney, S. M, Dominguez Alonso P., Robinson, J and Ketcham, R. A. 2003. A uniquely specialised ear in a very early tetrapod. Nature. 425, 65-69
  • Clack, J.A. (2002). Gaining ground: the origin and evolution of tetrapods. Indiana University Press. Bloomington, Indiana, USA. 369 pp
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