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Department of Zoology

A group of Ediacaran specimens of Fractofusus and Plumeropriscum from the “E” surface, Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland, Canada.  Credit: Charlotte G. Kenchington

First animals developed complex ecosystems before the Cambrian explosion

16 May 2022

First animals developed complex ecosystems before the Cambrian explosion Metacommunity analysis suggests succession, not mass extinction, explains Ediacaran diversity drop Early animals formed complex ecological communities more than 550 million years ago, setting the evolutionary stage for the Cambrian explosion...

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World map indicating places where research carried out by Cambridge University is having a positive impact

Cambridge’s global reputation in Biological Sciences recognised in REF 2021

11 May 2022

Cambridge’s global reputation in Biological Sciences recognised in REF 2021 The results from the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) have highlighted the global impact of Cambridge’s research in the field of Biological Sciences. 96% of Cambridge’s overall submissions within the Biological Sciences Unit of Assessment...

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Dr Tim Weil in a green demonstrator's lab coat talking to year 12 students in the lab at an outreach event

Pilkington Prize for Teaching awarded to Tim Weil

15 March 2022

Congratulations to Tim Weil on the award of the Pilkington Prize for Teaching This prize recognises outstanding contributions to teaching and learning at Cambridge. Tim deserves to receive this award for his exceptional and sustained contribution to teaching. Tim is a natural communicator and has brought his unique blend...

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Utaurora comosa from the Wheeler Formation, Utah, USA (Cambrian: Drumian). Holotype and only known specimen, accessioned at  the Division of Invertebrate Paleontology in the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas. Photograph by S. Pates.

Utaurora comosa - the first new opabiniid for over 100 years

8 February 2022

Opabinia, Anomalocaris and other ‘weird wonders’ of the Burgess Shale, remain iconic in popular culture and continue to offer insights into the early evolution of animals. During the 1970-80s Researchers at Cambridge University led transformational work that recognised that these superficially strange animals were actually...

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Museum of Zoology with tree of life in slate

New vacancies available in Zoology

4 February 2022

Assistant/Associate Professor and Curator of Invertebrates incorporating the Watson Curator of Malacology The Department and Museum of Zoology seek to appoint an Assistant/Associate Professor and Curator of Invertebrates. We are searching for an outstanding research scientist, with experience of working with collections, a...

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The Vaccine: Inside the Race to Conquer the COVID-19 Pandemic

21 January 2022

The Vaccine: Inside the Race to Conquer the COVID-19 Pandemic Joe Miller, Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci (Welbeck, London; 2021) ISBN: 9781802791242 According to Peter Lawrence , this book is more thrilling than a James Bond novel! Peter’s review of this book is in the latest edition of Current Biology Magazine. Thankfully...

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Cricket on a trackball to monitor direction a cricket takes when it hears different sounds

Odd chirps attract female crickets

15 December 2021

In a new paper Berthold Hedwig and Adam Bent analysed a new aspect of auditory orientation in crickets. When the amplitude modulation of species-specific acoustic signals is distorted in the transmission channel, signals become difficult to recognise by the receiver. Tolerant auditory pattern recognition systems, which...

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CT scan of a skate shown in lateral view and colour-coded the different regions of the backbone

Morphometrics and gene expression combine to unlock the complexity of the skate's backbone

15 December 2021

The backbone of land animals (tetrapods) is a complex structure that is subdivided into distinct “regions” (cervical, trunk, sacral, and caudal). The boundaries between these regions are determined by the expression patterns of a family of genes called "Hox genes” during early embryonic development. Fishes are thought to...

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Digital rendering of CT-scanned skull of fossil primate _Adapis parisiensis_ (UMZC M.538) shown in dorso-lateral view. The anatomical information present in this and other fossils helped to accurately reconstruct phylogeny as determined in the study of As

Phylogenetic Signal and Bias in Paleontology

14 September 2021

The pattern of evolutionary relationships among species is crucial for understanding the diversity of life. Which species share evolutionary descent from a recent common ancestor, and which share one that is more remote? Figuring out this pattern for living species benefits from the presence of many kinds of information...

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Read more at: First-ever Cambridge online field course

First-ever Cambridge online field course

31 August 2021

First ever Cambridge online field course The final week of the first-ever natural sciences online field course has just started! It has been a great success with 120 1st and 2nd year students actively engaging with a huge range of lectures, talks and activities. Due to the global pandemic, these students have all missed...

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