Mesozoic Vertebrate Palaeontology
The central research interest of our lab is to investigate morphological variation across the traditionally disparate fields of palaeontology, neontology, and development. As this work highlights the need for good fossil material to test models with empirical data, we also engage in palaeontological field work, focusing on the Gondwanan Mesozoic. In 2015, we began a new collaboration with Dr. Agustin Scanferla working on Cretaceous-Paleogene sequences in NW Argentina, which are yielding diverse dinosaur, crocodile, fish, and other remains. We are currently seeking funds to return to these new localities and intensively explore and excavate these vast, fossiliferous beds that span the Late Cretaceous, the K/Pg mass extinction, and the Paleogene.
In India, Dr. Goswami has been working with Prof. G.V.R. Prasad (University of Delhi) since 2004, exploring late Triassic to late Cretaceous terrestrial deposits for vertebrate fossils. Our fieldwork has spanned several regions, from Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This fieldwork has increased the material for the first Cretaceous mammal from India, Deccanolestes hislopi, as well as extensive collections of terrestrial and marine vertebrates from the poorly studied Cauvery Basin in southern India. We recently conducted a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of this new material and its relevance for the time and place of placental mammal origination. We have also described new dental and postcranial material and used 3-D morphometric analyses to assess functional morphology of postcranial elements. We recently completed an analysis of faunal similarity between Indian Cretaceous localities and those of its Cretaceous neighbour, Madagscar, revealing complex biogeographic zones during this period.
In related projects, we are examining diversity dynamics of mammals after correcting for sampling and reconstructing the evolution of latitudinal biodiversity gradients and provinciality for all terrestrial vertebrates through the Cretaceous.