Hautier lionel

Chargé(e) de recherche CNRS

Placental mammals are an extraordinarily successful radiation, derived from a single common ancestor that lived approximately 125 million years ago. The anatomy and developmental biology of this common ancestor are central to understanding the success of this radiation. The recent recognition of afrotherians and xenarthrans as basal mammals indicates that developmental and morphological study of these groups provides important data that has been overlooked hitherto. I have previously focused on morphological diversity in rodents, but I am actually interested in xenartrans and afrotherians evolution and development. Because biological shapes are often complex and evolve depending on several internal constraints, they must be assessed using integrative methods (i.e. anatomical, morphometrical, and ontogenetical data).

My ongoing research focuses on:

  1. Investigating skeleto-dental development in afrotherian and xenarthran mammals to test an hypothetic departure of southern placentals from the patterns seen in other mammals. This will in turn lead to the capacity to document connections between genotype and phenotype.
  2. Testing the role of selection characterizing similar morphological evolutions toward news habitats and diet between different clades of extant and extinct mammals (i.e. Rodentia, Afrotheria, and Xenarthra).
  3. Assessing the evolution of the zygomasseteric construction of both extinct and extant mammals in using morphological (osteological and myological), morphometrical, and palaeontological evidence.
The study of major morphological transformations in mammals has provided classic examples of the integration of developmental with palaeontological data. Given my background, I am convinced that a precise comparison of developmental and paleontological data can provide new and productive ways to understand morphological evolution in deep time.

Selected publications

Hautier L, Bennett NC, Viljoen H, Howard L, Milinkovitch MC, Tzika AC, Goswami A, Asher RJ. 2013. Patterns of ossification in southern vs. northern placental mammals. Evolution 67: 1994–2010

Billet G, Hautier L, Asher RJ, Martin T, Ruf I. 2012. Increased vestibular variation corresponds to slow activity pattern in extant sloths. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279:3932-3939.

Hautier L, Sarr R, Tabuce R, Lihoreau F, Adnet S, Domning DP, Samb M, Marwan Hameh P. 2012. First prorastomid sirenian from Senegal (Western Africa) and the Old World origin of sea cows. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32: 1218-1222.

Hautier L, Stansfield FJ, Allen WRT, Asher RJ. 2012. Skeletal development in the African elephant and ossification timing in placental mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 279:2188-2195.

Hautier L, Weisbecker V, Goswami A, Knight F, Kardjilov N, Asher R. 2011. Skeletal ossification and sequence heterochrony in xenarthran evolution. Evolution & Development, 13: 460-476.

Hautier L, Weisbecker V, Sanchez Villagra M, Goswami A, Asher R. 2010. Skeletal development in sloths and the evolution of mammalian vertebral patterning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 107: 18903-18908.

Website: www.paleosen.com