The Origin and Early Evolution of Organ Systems

Evening talk by Dr Xiaoya Ma exploring how exceptionally preserved Cambrian fossils provide unique insights into the early evolution of animal organ systems. The origin, evolution and diversification of organ systems represent the basic pathways of metazoan evolution and hold the key to unlocking the deep phylogeny of major animal groups. In this talk Dr Ma will summarise recent breakthroughs in gaining a more detailed understanding of internal organ systems - for example, nervous, cardiovascular, digestive and visual systems - from exceptionally preserved Cambrian panarthropods and their evolutionary implications.

Dr Xiaoya Ma came to the UK in 2005 to study a PhD on exceptionally preserved Cambrian vermiform fossils, which was followed by a Leverhulme postdoc at the Natural History Museum in London. After successfully establishing a new research avenue of neuropalaeontology, Xiaoya continued to carry out a NERC Independent Research Fellowship to investigate different organ systems form Cambrian animals. Xiaoya is now a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and the Deputy Director of the Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology at the Yunnan University.

Free, but advance booking required.


Suitable for adults and young people – beginners and experts welcome!
Speakers will start with the basics before introducing their specialist field of expertise.

6.00pm doors open for viewing of the First Animals exhibition
6.30pm talk begins in the Lecture Theatre