How Does Biological Complexity Arise?

November 7, 2019
Figure 2: Time-calibrated phylogeny of sampled synapsid taxa.

Postdoctoral Researcher Katrina Jones and Stephanie Pierce tackle the question of biological complexity using the complex mammalian spine as an evolutionary example. Using phylogenetic modeling. Jones and Pierce were able to discover why the mammalian vertebral column became more complex over time. The data published in Nature Communications shows major shifts in spine complexity are associated with increases in aerobic capacity, thus supporting the hypothesis for stepwise shifts underlying evolutionary trends. The study was featured in the Harvard, Cosmos Magazine


Image: Figure 2 from Nat. Comm. paper: Time-calibrated phylogeny of sampled synapsid taxa.