Biodiversity: Interactions, Preservation, Evolution (BIPE)

Fundamental discoveries on the evolution of ecosystems and ancient forest organisms have been made through the research carried out on Cretaceous amber from France, and more generally on the exceptionally well-preserved Cretaceous deposits of western France,

Trilobite Selenopeltis gallicus BRUTON & HENRY, 1978.  Traveuzot Formation, Bain de Bretagne, Ille-et-Vilaine
  1. The discovery of a fossilized mammal, 127 Myr old
  2. Discovery of horned ants in Cretaceous amber
  3. Discovery of the gradual transition from filamentous down to feathers in basal theropod dinosaurs
  4. Discovery of marine plankton trapped in fossil resin
  5. Discovery of the oldest marsupial mammal in Europe
  6. Amber deposits in the Charentes
  7. Other information

The discovery of a fossilized mammal, 127 Myr old

This mammal was discovered with its hairs and spines, in a Spanish fossil deposit (Martin, et al., 2015, published in the journal Nature,with the participation of Romain Vullo)

fossilized mammal - fossilized mammal, with its hairs and
spines
 - © Romain Vullo

Discovery of horned ants in Cretaceous amber

Discovery of horned ants in Cretaceous amber (Perrichot, et al. 2016, published in Current Biology). The extreme morphology suggests an ecology that is already very sophisticated for this ant-unicorn belonging to the most primitive lineage.

Horned ant - Fossilized ants in amber - © Didier Néraudeau

Discovery of the gradual transition from filamentous down to feathers in basal theropod dinosaurs

Evidence for a feather evolution stage that has been unpublished up to now and which demonstrates the gradual transition from filamentous down to feathers with a longitudinal axis in basal theropod dinosaurs and the most derived lateral barbs in avian dinosaurs(Perrichot et al., 2008, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, series B)

Evolution of dinosaur feathers - Feather evolution stage, unpublished up to now, and which demonstrates the gradual transition from filamentous down to feathers in basal theropod dinosaurs
 - © Vincent Perrichot

Discovery of marine plankton trapped in fossil resin

For the first time, evidence of marine plankton trapped in fossil resin, plankton containing unpublished diatoms that restructured the phylogeny of these algae and confirmed the coastal location of amber forests in Western France (Girard et al. 2008 in PNAS and Girard et al., 2009 in Geology).

Marine plankton in amber - Diatoms fossilized in amber - © Didier Néraudeau

Discovery of the oldest marsupial mammal in Europe

Discovery of the oldest marsupial mammal in Europe, questioning the Asian or American origin of these mammals (Vullo et al., 2009 published in PNAS) and the oldest mammal hairs preserved in 3D (Vullo et al., 2010 published in Naturwissenchaften), already modern in the Middle Cretaceous.

Dispersion of a marsupial. - © Romain Vullo

Amber deposits in the Charentes

Previous results are based on the discovery of several fossiliferous amber deposits from the Cretaceous (e.g. Néraudeau et al.,2008 in Cretaceous Research, or Néraudeau et al., 2009 in Geodiversitas).

Recently harvested amber -  Wasp fossilized in amber - © Didier Néraudeau

Other information