Invited talk: Berlin (Germany)

 Once again I am fortunate to travel to Berlin and to meet Prof. Dr. John Nyakatura and his research group at the the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. John invited me to give a presentation at the Evolutionsbiologisches Kolloquium. I am pleased to talk about „The vertebrate neck as key innovation to understand evolvability“ giving an overview of my major research projects (see abstract below).

Following our last collaboration (see: Böhmer et al. 2018 BMC Evolutionary Biology), the visit also serves to work on our recent collaborative project on the functional anatomy of the giraffe’s neck. John’s master student Marilena is particularly interested in the specific nature of the cervicothoracic region in giraffes and closely related species such as the okapi.

During my last visit to Berlin, John gave me an exclusive tour through the special exhibitionOrobates. Reanimated after 300 million years„. It is based on research by John (e.g., Nyakatura et al. 2015 PLoS ONE) and showed how an interdisciplinary research team reconstructed the movement of Orobates pabsti – an extinct early land-living vertebrate – using robots, 3D models, state-of-the-art technology and lots of manual work.

I also explored the special exhibition on the Tyrannosaurus rexTristan – Berlin bares teeth„. To date, Tristan Otto is the only original skeleton of a T. rex in Europe. It was very impressive to see one of the best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimens (12 m long and 4 m high) in the hall of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.


Böhmer C, Amson, E, Arnold P, van Heteren A H and Nyakatura J (2018) Homeotic transformations reflect departure from the mammalian ‘rule of seven’ cervical vertebrae in sloths: inference on the Hox code and morphological modularity of the mammalian neck. BMC Evolutionary Biology 18: 84. DOI: 10.1186/s12862-018-1202-5

Nyakatura JA, Allen VR, Lauströer J, Andikfar A, Danczak M, Ullrich HJ, Hufenbach W, Martens T, Fischer MS (2015). A three-dimensional skeletal reconstruction of the stem amniote Orobates pabsti (Diadectidae): Analyses of body mass, centre of mass position, and joint mobility. PLoS ONE 10(9):e0137284. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137284




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