Chief Scientist: XU Xing
The Middle-Late Jurassic is a critical time period for the early evolution and diversification of several vertebrate groups and also for the establishment of the terrestrial biogeographical pattern, but the poor fossil record in the Middle Jurassic and early Late Jurassic hinders our understanding of these important issues. Based on the work over last eight years, the team plans to conduct a synthetic study on the Callivan-Oxfordian Shishugou Fauna in Junggar Basin, Xinjiang. The project aims to establish an accurate stratigraphical sequence and geochronology, to reconstruct the paleoenvironment and paleonclimate, to study the origins and early evolution of several vertebrate groups and their subgroups, to recover the composition, the geographical and temporal distribution pattern, and the evolution of the Shishugou Fauna, to analyze the evolutionary rates of the fauna and their possible relationships to the changing environment, and reconstruct the biogeographical pattern. These studies promise to improve our understanding of this poorly known, but critical time period for vertebrate evolution.