Professor, Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy
Zhe-Xi Luo is a paleontologist with a research interest in the evolutionary biology of vertebrates. By studying mammal fossils of the Mesozoic - the age of dinosaurs - Luo's work seeks to decipher the origins of mammalian biological adaptations, evolutionary relationship of major lineages, their ecological diversification, and their developmental patterns. In his fieldwork to search for dinosaurs and fossil mammals, he works in many parts of United States and China. He studies the fossils that help to shed light on the earliest mammalian evolution and diversification. Luo also studies the evolution of whales. Luo and his international team of scientists have made discoveries of many early fossil mammals including Hadrocodium (the "paper clip" mammal from the Early Jurassic), Castorocauda (the earliest known swimming mammal), Juramaia (the earliest known fossil of the eutherian lineage), and Sinodelphys (the earliest known member of the metatherian lineage). He was a co-author for Mammals from the Age of Dinosaurs, a major book on early mammal evolution.