Opendata, web and dolomites


Terrestrial vertebrates and the evolutionary origins of morphological diversity

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 TEMPO project word cloud

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

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Project "TEMPO" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: OXFORD
postcode: OX1 2JD

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 United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 1˙499˙496 €
 EC max contribution 1˙499˙496 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-05-01   to  2021-04-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 


 Project objective

Explaining the great disparity of organismal form is a central goal of biological research. However, despite many decades of inquiry, there is little understanding of how evolution gave rise to this disparity. Key hypotheses predict changes in macroevolutionary modes through geological time: rates of evolution may either have decreased as global niche space became crowded, or increased due to accumulation of key innovations that improve body plan versatility. The absence of data to test these hypotheses a major knowledge gap that severely limits our understanding of evolution on Earth. TEMPO is an ambitious project to quantify patterns of phenotypic evolution on an unprecedented scale (>300 million years), by generating a large, detailed morphological dataset. Using the evolutionary radiation of land vertebrates as a model system, TEMPO will address these fundamental, unresolved questions: (1) How have rates and constraints of phenotypic evolution varied through geological time? (2) Are these patterns consistent with the occurrence of global niche-filling? (3) Can evolutionary versatility enabled by key innovations explain these patterns? (4) What modes of lineage evolution generated observed trends of morphological disparity? Previous large-scale studies lacked the temporal and phenotypic scope to address these questions, analysing only body size in only extant taxa. TEMPO will overcome these limitations to provide a step-change in understanding, by: (1) Using 21st century 3D data-capture methods on specimens from the mammalian and bird/crocodile evolutionary lineages. (2) Combining living with fossil taxa to extend our knowledge far into deep time; and (3) Analysing multiple aspects of form in a multivariate framework, using cutting-edge phylogenetic model-fitting approaches. By doing this, TEMPO will unify palaeontology and evolutionary biology, transforming knowledge of how phenotype evolves and the processes generating animal disparity on geological timescales.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Roger B. J. Benson, Gene Hunt, Matthew T. Carrano, Nicolás Campione
Cope\'s rule and the adaptive landscape of dinosaur body size evolution
published pages: 13-48, ISSN: 0031-0239, DOI: 10.1111/pala.12329
Palaeontology 61/1 2019-06-19
2018 Xing Xu, Jonah Choiniere, Qingwei Tan, Roger B.J. Benson, James Clark, Corwin Sullivan, Qi Zhao, Fenglu Han, Qingyu Ma, Yiming He, Shuo Wang, Hai Xing, Lin Tan
Two Early Cretaceous Fossils Document Transitional Stages in Alvarezsaurian Dinosaur Evolution
published pages: , ISSN: 0960-9822, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.07.057
Current Biology 2019-06-19
2018 Elsa Panciroli, Roger Benson, Richard Butler
New partial dentaries of amphitheriid mammalian Palaeoxonodon ooliticus from Scotland, and posterior dentary morphology in early cladotherians
published pages: , ISSN: 0567-7920, DOI: 10.4202/app.00434.2017
Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 63 2019-06-19
2017 Roger B. J. Benson, Ethan Starmer-Jones, Roger A. Close, Stig A. Walsh
Comparative analysis of vestibular ecomorphology in birds
published pages: 990-1018, ISSN: 0021-8782, DOI: 10.1111/joa.12726
Journal of Anatomy 231/6 2019-06-19
2017 Elsa Panciroli, Roger B. J. Benson, Stig Walsh
The dentary of Wareolestes rex (Megazostrodontidae): a new specimen from Scotland and implications for morganucodontan tooth replacement
published pages: 373-386, ISSN: 2056-2802, DOI: 10.1002/spp2.1079
Papers in Palaeontology 3/3 2019-06-19
2018 Blair W. McPhee, Roger B.J. Benson, Jennifer Botha-Brink, Emese M. Bordy, Jonah N. Choiniere
A Giant Dinosaur from the Earliest Jurassic of South Africa and the Transition to Quadrupedality in Early Sauropodomorphs
published pages: 3143-3151.e7, ISSN: 0960-9822, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.07.063
Current Biology 28/19 2019-02-22
2018 Roger B.J. Benson
Dinosaur Macroevolution and Macroecology
published pages: 379-408, ISSN: 1543-592X, DOI: 10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110617-062231
Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 49/1 2019-02-22

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