I am a vertebrate paleontologist interested in the origin and phylogeny of tetrapods, in comparative biology and paleobiology, and in phylogenetic nomenclature. I have worked on the anatomy and relationships of Paleozoic tetrapods and their close relatives, but I have also studied the origin of some extant groups, such as lissamphibians, turtles, lepidosaurs, archosaurs and mammals.

Present and Past Positions

1998-: CNRS Scientist in the UMR 7207, CNRS/MNHN/UPMC (Centre de Recherches sur la Paléobiodiversité et les Paléoenvironnements, CR2P, 2009-), formerly in the UMR 7179, CNRS/MNNH/UPMC (Mécanismes adaptatifs: des organismes aux communautés, 1998-2008).
1997-1998: Research Associate in the Museum of Natural History (Humboldt University, Berlin).
1996-1997: Maître de Conférences Associé at the Université de Paris 7.
1994-1996: Research Associate in the Museum of Paleontology (UC Berkeley).


As an undergraduate student, I was fortunate to earn three NSERC Summer Undergraduate Research Awards that enabled me to work in vertebrate paleontology laboratories. These summer terms were my first experience of hands-on Vertebrate Paleontology, and I spent one summer with Robert R. Reisz at the University of Toronto, where I gained some useful skills (such as specimen preparation and illustration) from Miss Diane Scott. The two summers that I spent with Robert L. Carroll at the Redpath Museum at McGill allowed me to get an early start at publishing scientific papers.

I completed my B.Sc. In Biological Sciences at the Université de Montréal, where I took every course I could on comparative anatomy and principles of systematics. I also took Robert Carroll's excellent courses in Functional Anatomy of Vertebrates and Vertebrate Paleontology at McGill as a visiting student.

I received my Ph.D. and my M.Sc. in the Department of Zoology at the University of Toronto. My doctoral thesis was entitled "The osteology of seymouriamorphs and its implications for the origin of amniotes", and my Master's thesis was entitled "The osteology and relationships of Haptodus garnettensis and the origin of therapsids". Both theses were written under the supervision of Dr. Robert R. Reisz, whose enthusiasm and interest in the anatomy and phylogeny of Paleozoic tetrapods inspired my work.

My latest diploma is the Habilitation which I obtained from U. Paris 7 in 2003, and which is required in France to supervise doctoral students.

Work experience

I did a postdoc at UC Berkeley in Kevin Padian's lab (1994-1996), a teaching postdoc in Université Paris 7 (1996-1997), and in the Natural History Museum of Berlin (Humboldt University; 1997-1998), in Hans-Peter Schultze's lab. Since October 1998, I have been working as a research scientist for the CNRS in Paris. I was tenured in April 2000. In Paris, I started working on comparative bone microstructure and paleohistology, phylogenetic nomenclature and comparative evolutionary biology, in the same team as Vivian de Buffrénil, Jacques Castanet, Jorge Cubo, Armand de Ricqlès, François Meunier, and Louise Zylbergerg, among others. In January 2009, I moved to Philippe Janvier's paleontology research group in the Muséum. My current research topics include the conquest of land by vertebrates, the evolution of body size, and the origin of lissamphibians.

My hobbies include reading about history and French literature, traveling and visiting museums.

For a much more compact overview, check out the biographical Wikipedia page.

Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Michel Laurin at michel.laurin@upmc.fr