Zhe-Xi Luo, PhD

Research in Luo Lab in the University of Chicago is devoted to the understanding of the origins and earliest evolution of mammals.



Our endeavor is to study how mammals arose in their early history, as documented in a rich and rapidly growing fossil record. We seek to understand the origins of key mammalian adaptations, evolutionary changes in their development patterns, phylogenetic relationship of the major lineages of Mesozoic mammals, as well as their ecological and morphological diversification.



The understanding of early mammalian evolution can provide a useful case study on the diversification of major organismal groups, on the patterns and processes of macroevolution, on the geological history of vertebrate faunas, and on their paleobiogeography.

Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology
Cambridge, MA, US
Postdoctoral fellowship - Mammalian Evolutionary Morphology
1991

University of California at Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology
Berkeley, CA, US
PhD - Paleontology
1989

Nanjing University, Department of Geology
Nanjing, China
BS - Geology, Stratigraphy and Paleontology
1982

The role of miniaturization in the evolution of the mammalian jaw and middle ear.
Lautenschlager S, Gill PG, Luo ZX, Fagan MJ, Rayfield EJ. The role of miniaturization in the evolution of the mammalian jaw and middle ear. Nature. 2018 09; 561(7724):533-537.
PMID: 30224748

Late-surviving stem mammal links the lowermost Cretaceous of North America and Gondwana.
Huttenlocker AK, Grossnickle DM, Kirkland JI, Schultz JA, Luo ZX. Late-surviving stem mammal links the lowermost Cretaceous of North America and Gondwana. Nature. 2018 06; 558(7708):108-112.
PMID: 29795343

New evidence for mammaliaform ear evolution and feeding adaptation in a Jurassic ecosystem.
Luo ZX, Meng QJ, Grossnickle DM, Liu D, Neander AI, Zhang YG, Ji Q. New evidence for mammaliaform ear evolution and feeding adaptation in a Jurassic ecosystem. Nature. 2017 08 17; 548(7667):326-329.
PMID: 28792934

New gliding mammaliaforms from the Jurassic.
Meng QJ, Grossnickle DM, Liu D, Zhang YG, Neander AI, Ji Q, Luo ZX. New gliding mammaliaforms from the Jurassic. Nature. 2017 08 17; 548(7667):291-296.
PMID: 28792929

Meckel's cartilage breakdown offers clues to mammalian middle ear evolution.
Anthwal N, Urban DJ, Luo ZX, Sears KE, Tucker AS. Meckel's cartilage breakdown offers clues to mammalian middle ear evolution. Nat Ecol Evol. 2017 03 06; 1(4):93.
PMID: 28459103

A new developmental mechanism for the separation of the mammalian middle ear ossicles from the jaw.
Urban DJ, Anthwal N, Luo ZX, Maier JA, Sadier A, Tucker AS, Sears KE. A new developmental mechanism for the separation of the mammalian middle ear ossicles from the jaw. Proc Biol Sci. 2017 02 08; 284(1848).
PMID: 28179517

Inner ear labyrinth anatomy of monotremes and implications for mammalian inner ear evolution.
Schultz JA, Zeller U, Luo ZX. Inner ear labyrinth anatomy of monotremes and implications for mammalian inner ear evolution. J Morphol. 2017 02; 278(2):236-263.
PMID: 27889918

Micro-computed tomography in murine models of cerebral cavernous malformations as a paradigm for brain disease.
Girard R, Zeineddine HA, Orsbon C, Tan H, Moore T, Hobson N, Shenkar R, Lightle R, Shi C, Fam MD, Cao Y, Shen L, Neander AI, Rorrer A, Gallione C, Tang AT, Kahn ML, Marchuk DA, Luo ZX, Awad IA. Micro-computed tomography in murine models of cerebral cavernous malformations as a paradigm for brain disease. J Neurosci Methods. 2016 09 15; 271:14-24.
PMID: 27345427

X-ray computed tomography datasets for forensic analysis of vertebrate fossils.
Rowe TB, Luo ZX, Ketcham RA, Maisano JA, Colbert MW. X-ray computed tomography datasets for forensic analysis of vertebrate fossils. Sci Data. 2016 Jun 07; 3:160040.
PMID: 27272251

Ascent of the Mammals.
Brusatte S, Luo ZX. Ascent of the Mammals. Sci Am. 2016 Jun; 314(6):28-35.
PMID: 27196839

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