FOSFO - Forms, Structures and Fonctions
The team's projects cover a broad field of investigation both temporally (almost all of the Phanerozoic) and taxonomically (all vertebrate clades), as well as in terms of studied environments (continental and aquatic).
Coordinators: Peggy Vincent and Damien Germain
In the projects carried out by team members emphasis is placed on anatomical, physiological, and ecological aspects of extinct organisms by combining both traditional and innovative methods. The use of extant taxa for comparison is also a strong component of the team's work.
One of the goals of paleontology is to understand the mechanisms involved in the evolution of species. In order to achieve this, palaeontologists must look at these species’ adaptations, including the nature of their ontogenetic development, their anatomical and functional characteristics, and, more generally, their place in paleoecosystems. Thanks to the development of high-performance analytical techniques, this approach has come to play a major role in the functional and ecological study of fossil organisms.
In this context, our team addresses paleobiological issues through three main unifying "temporal projects", around which revolve other related (sub)projects. The main projects are: Paleozoic terrestrialization (i.e. the colonization of land by animals), terrestrial animals’ secondary return to aquatic life (as soon as the end of the Paleozoic and more extensively during the Mesozoic), and specialized adaptations during the Cenozoic. These major phenomena are studied in order to better understand evolutionary mechanisms and the anatomical and physiological innovations responsible for the emergence and radiation of the vertebrate groups involved. The three areas intersect by the use of various techniques, the most widely used being bone microanatomy and histology, as well as isotope geochemistry, X-ray microtomography, and analytical morphometry. In addition to these three major projects, the team also includes an independent cross-team "historical project”, devoted to the History of Science and involving several members of the team for numerous years.
Researchers and teacher-researchers: Christine Argot (MC MNHN), Nathalie Bardet (DR CNRS), Gaël Clément (PR MNHN), Damien Germain (MC MNHN), Helder Gomes Rodrigues (CR CNRS), Sandrine Ladevèze (CR CNRS), Alain Pradel (MC MNHN), Alexandra Quilhac (MC SU), Jean-Sébastien Steyer (CR CNRS), Peggy Vincent (CR CNRS).