Research Fellows Directory
Dr Zongjun Yin
University of Bristol
My present research focus on origin and early evolution of multicellular animals. Hence, to discovery the early animal fossils is the most important task for me. In South China, the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation (635-551 million-year-old) is widely distributed, and from the deposits several fossil lagarstatten such as Lantian biota and Weng’an biota, have been discovered. Among these fossil assemblages, three dimensionally phosphatized animal embryo-like fossils from Weng’an attracted world-wide attention, because they have been taken as the oldest fossil records on the planet since 1998, and provide a unique taphonomy window to explore the early evolutionary history of animals. I have been working on the Doushantuo animal microfossils from South China for more than 5 years. Now, I have collected abundant well-preserved fossil specimens, and applied synchrotron X-ray microtomography to reconstruct their three dimensional architectures. According to our data, I believe that multicellular animals exists in Doushantuo Formation. However, the affinity of these microfossils is still under debate at present. Different interpretations including bacteria, protists, animal embryos and multicellular algae have been proposed by different groups. Therefore, to collect more specimens and share the data and ideas between different groups is the best way to solve the controversial problem, and this is what I want to do at present.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)