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EFP (August 2017)

Special symposium

EFP Poster LogoInvited talk in the symposium “What an interdisciplinary approach can tell us about the evolution of grasping and manipulation?” at the meeting of the European Federation for Primatology (EFP) in Straßsbourg.


Conference: EAVP (August 2017)

Special symposium

At the 15th annual meeting of the European Association of Vertebrate Palaeontology (EAVP) Böhmer et al. presented research on the form-function relationships in the musculoskeletal  system: implications for the assessment of arboreal locomotion in  fossils. Invited talk in the symposium “Ecomorphology & functional anatomy in vertebrate palaeontology”.

About 200 researcher attended this international conference. The presentations covered a wide range of topics in vertebrate palaeontology including systematics, morphology, evolutionary development, biostratigraphy, inter- and transdisciplinary  research, methodology, fossil conservation.

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Cover story!
Evolution & Development

New insights into the  Hox code

Evo&Devo CoverVariation in axial formulae (i.e. number and identity of vertebrae) is an important feature in the evolution of vertebrates. Vertebrae at different axial positions exhibit a region-specific morphology. Key determinants for the establishment of particular vertebral shapes are the highly conserved Hox genes.

Here, we analysed Hox gene expression in the presacral vertebral column in the Nile crocodile in order to complement and extend a previous examination in the alligator and thus establish a Hox code for the axial skeleton of crocodilians in general. The newly determined expression of HoxA-4, C-5, B-7, and B-8 all revealed a crocodilian-specific pattern. HoxA-4 and HoxC-5 characterise cervical morphologies and the latter furthermore is associated with the position of the forelimb relative to the axial skeleton. HoxB-7 and HoxB-8 map exclusively to the dorsal vertebral region. The resulting expression patterns of these two Hox genes is the first description of their exact expression in the archosaurian embryo.

Our comparative analyses of the Hox code in several amniote taxa provide new evidence that evolutionary differences in the axial skeleton correspond to changes in Hox gene expression domains. We detect two general processes: 1) expansion of a Hox gene’s expression domain as well as 2) a shift of gene expression. We infer that the ancestral archosaur Hox code may have resembled that of the crocodile. In association with the evolution of morphological traits, it may have been modified to patterns that can be observed in birds.

Böhmer C, Rauhut OWM, Wörheide G. 2015 New insights into the vertebral Hox code of archosaurs. Evolution & Development 17; 5, 258-269 (2015). DOI: 10.111/ede.12136.

Press release:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (for english version [here]).

Please feel free to [contact me] for details.

Böhmer et al Evo&Devo (400 px)
isadf2014 Logo-frei

Oral presentation by Christine

International Symposium on Asian Dinosaurs 2014

The International Symposium on Asian Dinosaurs, Fukui (ISADF) was organized by Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum, Asia Dinosaur Association, and the  Dinosaur Research Institute, Fukui Prefectural University in  commemoration of the establishment of Asia Dinosaur Association.

Report of the ISADF2014.

The symposium focuses on dinosaurs and other Mesozoic biota in Asia. Through research presentations, it aims to provide opportunities of  discussions and interactions for those who are interested in dinosaurs  and related paleoenvironments and paleoecology.

December 2016: Paris

3rd LabEx BCDiv conference

From December 5 to 6, researchers funded by LabEx BCDiv report on their projects. I presented the results on my PostDoc project “Evolutionary functional morphology: arboreal evolution in mammals

CBöhmer 2016

Logo BCDiv Paris 2

Invited talk: Berlin (Germany)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

I look forward to travel to Berlin and meet Prof. Dr. John Nyakatura and his research group again at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. There are a number of interesting events, such as the special exhibition Orobates. Reanimated after 300 million years" and the exhibition at the Natural History MuseumTristan - Berlin bares teeth”. Furthermore, I am pleased to give a talk in which I present an overview of my major research projects.

Humboldt Uni Berlin Logo

Berlin Museum Logo

Invited talk: Birmingham (UK)

From genes to vertebrae: molecular backbone of dinosaur necks

Dr. Richard Butler invited me to visit his research group at the University of Birmingham. I gave a talk about my research on the molecular backbone of dinosaur necks.

(C) Böhmer 2015
Böhmer et al (in press) Abbildung verk

Open Access! Proceedings B

The dinosaur Hox code

The relationship between developmental genes and phenotypic variation is of central interest in evolutionary biology. An excellent example is the role of Hox genes in the anteroposterior regionalization of the vertebral column in vertebrates. Archosaurs (crocodiles, dinosaurs including birds) are highly variable both in vertebral morphology and number. Nevertheless, functionally equivalent Hox genes are active in the axial skeleton during embryonic development, indicating that the morphological variation across taxa is likely due to modifications in the pattern of Hox gene expression.

By using geometric morphometrics, we demonstrate a correlation between vertebral Hox code and quantifiable vertebral morphology in modern archosaurs, in which the boundaries between morphological subgroups of vertebrae can be linked to anterior Hox gene expression boundaries. Our findings reveal homologous units of cervical vertebrae in modern archosaurs, each with their specific Hox gene pattern, enabling us to trace these homologies in the extinct sauropodomorph dinosaurs, a group with highly variable vertebral counts.

Based on the quantifiable vertebral morphology, this allows us to infer the underlying genetic mechanisms in vertebral evolution in fossils, which represents not only an important case study, but will lead to a better understanding of the origin of morphological disparity in recent archosaur vertebral columns.

Press release:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (for english version [here]).

SNSB-Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie in Munich

Böhmer C, Rauhut OWM, Wörheide G. 2015 Correlation between Hox code and vertebral morphology in archosaurs. Proc. R. Soc. B  282: 20150077. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.0077.


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