Research in the Luo Lab is devoted to the understanding of the origins and earliest evolution of mammals.
Diverse, abundant, and with a wide range of adaptations, mammals are a prominent vertebrate group in the modern biota. But much of their evolutionary history extends into the deep times of the Mesozoic, when the terrestrial vertebrate biotas were dominated by dinosaurs.
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, changes in their development patterns, phylogenetic relationship of the major lineages of Mesozoic mammals, as well as their ecological and morphological diversification.
This 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.
We are also interested in the evolution of whales and the cetacean fossils of the Cenozoic.