CFEE JOINT SEMINAR: Reconstructing Past African Landscapes


Evolution: an international research seminar in Eastern Africa.
Paleobiodiversity, paleobiology, prehistory, paleoenvironments


13ème séance / 13th session: Vertebrate paleontology and reconstructing past African landscapes: contributions from fish and squamates
par/by Olga Otero, Johannes Müller & Jason Head.


Jeudi 13 juillet (15h30-17h)/ Thursday 13 July (3:30-5:00)

Lieu / Venue: Auditorium of the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Addis Ababa

This special session of our seminar on evolution will involve three participants for 20 minutes each, followed by a 30′ roundtable.

Sujet 1/topic 1, par/by Olga Otero

High diversity (12,000 species is over 1/3 of global fish diversity and about 1/4 of vertebrates), high level of endemicity (15 of the 48 families are endemic), and the presence of archaic fish are among the most striking features of the African freshwater ichthyofauna. In this presentation, the focus is on the information brought by fossils to understand fish diversification in African inland waters and how these data allow reconstructing local aquatic paleoenvironments an past connectivity of hydrographical network at a regional scale.

Sujet 2/topic 2, par/by Johannes Müller

Understanding the relationship between environment, community
composition and morphology permits the interpretation of fossil evidence not only in a taxonomic but also ecological context. Using reptiles as examples, the talk will demonstrate how phenotypic and ecological information from extant systems can be used to generate an investigative framework for the study of fossil communities, and present preliminary results from our studies on the eastern African fossil record.

Sujet 3/topic 3, par/by Jason Head

Predictable relationships between functional traits and environmental factors (“ecometrics”) allows for both the forecasting of biotic response to future environmental change as well as reconstructing past environments from the distributions of traits preserved in the fossil record. For reptiles, functional traits such as body size and locomotory mode have been shown to scale with factors such as ambient temperature and factors ecological province. The universality of these relationships has not been determined, however, which limits the ability to apply ecometrics to new geographic and temporal regions. Comparing trait distributions in modern and fossil African reptiles will allow examination of both the role of different environmental factors in sorting traits through time.

Les intervenants / the speakers

Olga Otero est paléontologue spécialiste de l’ichtyofaune et maître de conférences à l’Université de Poitiers, France.
Olga Otero is paleontologist, specialist of ichtyofauna and professor
assistant at the University of Poitiers, France.

Johannes Müller est paléontologue spécialiste des reptiles et professeur au Muséum d’histoire naturelle de Berlin, Allemagne.
Johannes Müller
is paleontologist, specialist of reptiles and professor at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Germany.

Jason Head est paléontologue spécialiste des reptiles et chercheur à l’Université de Cambridge, Royaume-Uni.
Jason Head
is paleontologist, specialist of reptiles and researcher at
Cambridge University, United Kingdom.


Organisation: CFEE & Authority for Research and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage (Heritage Collection & Laboratory Service Directorate, Heritage Training Unit).

David Ambrosetti

David Ambrosetti est politiste, chargé de recherche au CNRS. Il a été directeur du CFEE de 2014 à 2018. Depuis 2018 il est membre du laboratoire Les Afriques dans le monde (CNRS / Sciences po Bordeaux).

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