AMNIOTE LUNGS

EVOLUTION OF FORM AND FUNCTION

The primary focus of the Schachner Lab is the evolution of the amniote respiratory system. We are using methods from various different scientific disciplines to gain insight into the anatomy and physiology of the lungs of extant sauropsids and with these data, attempt to reconstruct the evolutionary history of one of the most morphologically diverse vertebrate organs.

 

PULMONARY STRUCTURAL DIVERSITY in REPTILES & BIRDS

 

Our research group is currently focused on the following questions:

 

1) Why is there so much structural diversity in the sauropsid respiratory system?

 

2) What is the evolutionary history of respiratory system in Sauropsida?

 

Methods:

 

1) Anatomy: CT, µCT, latex and gross dissection

 

2) Development

3) Paleontology (diversity surveys & secondary inferences)

4) Functional studies

 

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DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACH

 

A joint project with Raul Diaz (Cal State LA) is aimed at investigating lung development in various non-model taxa.

 

 

PALEONTOLOGICAL APPROACH

 

Examination of the thoracic rib and vertebral anatomy of extant archosaurs indicates a relationship between the postcranial axial skeleton and pulmonary anatomy allowing for predictions of the respiratory morphology of extinct taxa. The data from this research thus far suggest a progression from a dorsally immobile thin-walled lung in basal dinosauriform archosaurs towards a small volume-constant avian-style lung in saurischian dinosaurs.

 

 

© 2020 by Emma R. Schachner. All rights reserved.

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