Vertebrate Paleontology

The long-term goal of our research is to investigate how local or large-scale palaeecological dynamics as documented in sedimentary rocks drive evolutionary patterns in the fossil record via adaptations/extinction events. In so doing, integrated geological researches allow to perform accurate taphonomic, sedimentological, stratigraphic, and chronostratigraphic analyses, providing a critical dataset to document palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic dynamics on a meaningful arrays of contexts. Contextually, palaeontological studies – primarily but not exclusively vertebrate palaeontology – extend our researches to the study of major events in the history of life, evolutionary biology and origins and evolution of biodiversity.


Therefore, over the years our research has been integrating several disciplines, from comparative anatomy to geochemistry, from phylogenetic studies to isotopic analyses, to the creation of dedicated GIS and 3D modelling laboratories. Even though a large part of our research focuses on Mesozoic taxa and ecosystems, the same scientific approach and methodologies have been successfully applied to Permian, Paleogene and Quaternary material. Finally, our expertise in the field of geology and palaeontology served several international institutions to promote or evaluate applications to the UNESCO committee for the establishment of Geoparks and Geosites.


Some of the ongoing research projects include:

- Campanian and Maastrichtian macroevolutionary trends in latest Cretaceous vertebrates of Alberta and British Columbia (Canada) and Monatan (U.S.A.) with respect to ecologic and climatic variations;

- Dinosaur palaeobiogeography of the peri-Mediterranean region and the European Archipelago during the Mesozoic;

- African dinosaurs in the Mesozoic, Europe-Africa faunal interchange;

- Marine reptiles from the Middle and Late Jurassic of the Tethyan realm;

- Palaeobiogeography of Gondwanan dinosaurs (with particular focus on the fossil record of  Brazil, Africa, and Australia);

- Stratigraphy and paleoecology of the Nemegt Basin (Gobi Desert, Mongolia);

- Diversity and disparity of arctic dinosaurs during the Cretaceous;

- Development of time and space-calibrated phylogenetic analyses in the reconstruction  of vertebrates evolutionary patterns.