[visit the Larsson Lab Website]

Hans Larsson received a PhD in Organismal Biology and Anatomy from the University of Chicago where he studied, with Olivier Rieppel and Paul Sereno, the association between evolution and development of skeleton morphologies along a 250 million year long lineage of fossils that include modern crocodiles. He was awarded an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship to work at the University of Toronto with Richard Liversage and at Yale University with Günter Wagner. This work examined the early skeletogenic mesenchymal condensations of bird wings to finally solve a 150 year old question from which of the ancestral five fingers the three bony fingers of birds develop, developing a novel approach to examine the early patterning of skeletal anlage with which to address macroevolutionary questions. Dr Larsson joined the Redpath Museum of McGill as Assistant Professor in January 2003, is a Canada Research Chair in Vertebrate Palaeontology, and an adjunct member of the Department of Biology.

Research in the Larsson laboratory
Evolutionary change of organisms is fundamentally based on modifications to their developmental mechanisms. While some development is the product of environmental conditions, much is programmed and heritable.  Most well studied developmental systems are not suitable for large-scale changes across long time scales.  Research in the Larsson lab focuses on the relationship between macroevolutionary changes to vertebrate skeletons and what developmental mechanisms may be responsible for those changes. This work addresses: 1) the development and quantification of bone microstructure, 2) mechanisms of digit development, reduction, and identification in birds, 3) mechanisms that may account for the transition of the fish fin to the tetrapod limb, and 4) the large-scale patterns of association between the anatomical evolution and development of skeletons in crocodiles and birds. These research avenues aim to bring together the wealth of vertebrate fossil data with current research in skeletal developmental biology. Dr Larsson’s research is funded by NSERC, FQRNT, and the CRC.

Selected Publications (click here to view Publications 2002-present)

Larsson, H.C.E. and G. P. Wagner. 2002. The pentadactyl ground state of the avian wing. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 294:146-151.

Wagner, G. P., and H.C.E. Larsson. Fins/Limbs in the Study of Evolutionary Novelties; 28pp. in B.K. Hall (ed.), The Vertebrate Appendicular Skeleton, University of Chicago Press.

Larsson, H.C.E. MODES of Developmental Evolution: origin and definition of the autopodium; 57pp. in J. Anderson and H.-D. Sues (eds.), Major Transitions in Vertebrate Evolution. Indiana University Press.

Abouheif] [Brouhard] [Dankort] [Dent] [Harrison] [Hekimi]
[Larsson] [Lasko] [Moon] [Nilson] [Roy] [Schöck] [Vogel] [Western] [Zetka]