EDDi – Evolutionary Dissection of Dinosaurs
The vertebral column is a defining feature and a vital body part of vertebrate animals. It is composed of several units – the vertebrae – that are morphologically and functionally regionalized from head to tail. The cervical vertebral region or neck, in particular, has intrigued researchers for centuries because it is highly variable in vertebral number and shape. There are the relatively short and massive neck of crocodiles, the highly mobile and slender neck of swans or the extremely long and gigantic neck in sauropodomorph dinosaurs.
To put it in a nutshell, the EU-funded project EDDi project looks at three aspects involved in the evolution of the vertebral column in archosaurs (i.e., crocodilians, birds and extinct dinosaurs). Morphometric analyses allow us to quantify the morphology of the bones in living and fossil taxa. Developmental studies provide new insights into the morphogenesis of the vertebral column. And anatomical work in combination with state-of-the-art network approaches enables us reveal the evolutionary modifications of the vertebral column in deep time and to better understand the adaptability of archosaurs.
Financial support for this project comes from a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship part of Horizon 2020, the EU’s framework programme for research and innovation. Host is the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich (Germany).
Find up-to-date information on the project’s progress [here].