Opendata, web and dolomites


Animal coloration through deep time: evolutionary novelty, homology and taphonomy

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 ANICOLEVO project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the ANICOLEVO project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "ANICOLEVO" about.

inform    scientists    time    form    consolidating    bold    history    deep    students    world    simulating    maturation    signalling    rarely    filaments    experimental    strategies    significance    models    chemical    construct    alike    laboratory    positive    hair    transport    hub    fossils    broad    resolve    temporal    fossilisation    tell    phylogenetic    taphonomy    melanin    analytical    monotonal    scales    global    couple    techniques    holistic    vertebrates    cambrian    science    pigments    public    lacks    fossil    true    network    rigorous    chordate    patterning    diverse    affinities    team    biological    pi    critically    postdoctoral    sedimentary    entails    incorporates    13    crystals    feathers    colours    burial    feather    attitude    powerful    3d    decay    evolution    evolutionary    inspire    tissues    experiments    original    visual    facility    construction    record    insects    context    animals    first    dinosaurs    metazoans    extensive    phd    collaborations    integumentary    core    narrow    imaging    ancient    what    colour    date    questions    enigmatic    policymakers    photonic   

Project "ANICOLEVO" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: Cork
postcode: T12 YN60

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Ireland [IE]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙562˙000 €
 EC max contribution 1˙562˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2014-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-01-01   to  2020-12-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

What does the fossil record tell us about the evolution of colour in animals through deep time? Evidence of colour in fossils can inform on the visual signalling strategies used by ancient animals. Research to date often has a narrow focus, lacks a broad phylogenetic and temporal context, and rarely incorporates information on taphonomy. This proposal represents a bold new holistic approach to the study of fossil colour: it will couple powerful imaging- and chemical analytical techniques with a rigorous programme of fossilisation experiments simulating decay, burial, and transport, and analysis of fossils and their sedimentary context, to construct the first robust models for the evolution of colour in animals through deep time. The research will resolve the original integumentary colours of fossil higher vertebrates, and the original colours of fossil hair; the fossil record of non-melanin pigments in feathers and insects; the biological significance of monotonal patterning in fossil insects; and the evolutionary history of scales and 3D photonic crystals in insects. Critically, the research will test, for the first time, whether evidence of fossil colour can solve broader evolutionary questions, e.g. the true affinities of enigmatic Cambrian chordate-like metazoans, and feather-like integumentary filaments in dinosaurs. The proposal entails construction of a dedicated experimental maturation laboratory for simulating the impact of burial on tissues. This laboratory will form the core of the world’s first integrated ‘experimental fossilisation facility’, consolidating the PI’s team as the global hub for fossil colour research. The research team comprises the PI, three postdoctoral researchers, and three PhD students, and will form an extensive research network via collaborations with 13 researchers from Europe and beyond. The project will reach out to diverse scientists and will inspire a positive attitude to science among the general public and policymakers alike.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2017 A.D. Muscente, James D. Schiffbauer, Jesse Broce, Marc Laflamme, Kenneth O\'Donnell, Thomas H. Boag, Michael Meyer, Andrew D. Hawkins, John Warren Huntley, Maria McNamara, Lindsay A. MacKenzie, George D. Stanley, Nancy W. Hinman, Michael H. Hofmann, Shuhai Xiao
Exceptionally preserved fossil assemblages through geologic time and space
published pages: 164-188, ISSN: 1342-937X, DOI: 10.1016/
Gondwana Research 48 2019-05-29
2016 Maria E. McNamara, Patrick J. Orr, Stuart L. Kearns, Luis Alcalá, Pere Anadón, Enrique Peñalver
Reconstructing Carotenoid-Based and Structural Coloration in Fossil Skin
published pages: 1075-1082, ISSN: 0960-9822, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.02.038
Current Biology 26/8 2019-05-29
2018 Maria E. McNamara, Fucheng Zhang, Stuart L. Kearns, Patrick J. Orr, André Toulouse, Tara Foley, David W. E. Hone, Chris S. Rogers, Michael J. Benton, Diane Johnson, Xing Xu, Zhonghe Zhou
Fossilized skin reveals coevolution with feathers and metabolism in feathered dinosaurs and early birds
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04443-x
Nature Communications 9/1 2019-05-29
2018 Maria E. McNamara, Jonathan S. Kaye, Michael J. Benton, Patrick J. Orr, Valentina Rossi, Shosuke Ito, Kazumasa Wakamatsu
Non-integumentary melanosomes can bias reconstructions of the colours of fossil vertebrates
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-1723, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05148-x
Nature Communications 9/1 2019-05-29
2016 Patrick J. Orr, Laetitia B. Adler, Susan R. Beardmore, Heinz Furrer, Maria E. McNamara, Enrique Peñalver-Mollá, Ragna Redelstorff
“Stick ‘n’ peel”: Explaining unusual patterns of disarticulation and loss of completeness in fossil vertebrates
published pages: 380-388, ISSN: 0031-0182, DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.05.024
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 457 2019-05-29
2016 Maria E. McNamara, Bart E. van Dongen, Nick P. Lockyer, Ian D. Bull, Patrick J. Orr
Fossilization of melanosomes via sulfurization
published pages: 337-350, ISSN: 0031-0239, DOI: 10.1111/pala.12238
Palaeontology 59/3 2019-05-29
2018 Mark A. Purnell, Philip J. C. Donoghue, Sarah E. Gabbott, Maria E. McNamara, Duncan J. E. Murdock, Robert S. Sansom
Experimental analysis of soft-tissue fossilization: opening the black box
published pages: 317-323, ISSN: 0031-0239, DOI: 10.1111/pala.12360
Palaeontology 61/3 2019-05-29

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