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Rocks and the Rise of Ordovician Life

This is a collaborative project that aims to better understand the dynamics of biodiversification during the Early Palaeozoic (a time span ranging between -500 and -470 million years ago).

Last updated: 30 May 2023

About the project

For the past 25 years, major evolutionary events such as the ‘Cambrian Explosion’ and the ‘Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event’ have been investigated through various research projects and regarded as distinct evolutionary events. However, the data used was strongly biased towards a limited number of geographic areas (Europe, North America). The present research aims, through a multidisciplinary approach and by bringing together an array of international specialists, to question this hypothesis by investigating and filling the numerous knowledge gaps related to the various aspects of the Ordovician biodiversification.


Header image: The foothills of the Anti-Atlas, Morocco, site of previous fieldwork. © Yves Candela

Project details

Project title

Rocks and the Rise of Ordovician Life: Filling knowledge gaps in the Early Palaeozoic Biodiversification

Project active

2021 - 2025

Research theme


Find out more on the project blog

Dr Yves Candela - National Museums Scotland – Edinburgh, Scotland

Dr Bertrand Lefebvre - Université Claude Bernard – Lyon, France

Prof Khadija El Hariri - Université Cadi Ayyad – Marrakech, Morocco

Dr Mansoureh Ghobadi Pour - Golestan University – Gorgan, Iran

Dr Elena Raevskaya - Russian Geological Survey – Saint-Petersburg, Russia

Dr Oive Tinn - University of Tartu – Estonia

Dr Beatriz Waisfeld - National University of Córdoba – Argentina

Dr Wenhui Wang - Central South University – Changsha, China

Saleh, F., Vaucher, R., Vidal, M., El Hariri, K., Laibl, L., Daley, A.C., Gutiérrez-Marco, J.C. Candela, Y., Harper, D.A.T., Ortega-Hernández, J., Ma, X., Rida, A., Vizcaïno D. & Lefebvre, B. 2022. New fossil assemblages from the Early Ordovician Fezouata Biota. Scientific Reports 12: 20773.

Thompson, J.R., Cotton, L.J., Candela Y., Kutscher, M., Reich, M. & Bottjer, D.J. 2022. The Ordovician diversification of sea urchins: systematics of the Bothriocidaroida (Echinodermata: Echinoidea). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 19

Candela, Y. & Mottequin, B. 2022. Tremadocian and Floian (Ordovician) linguliformean brachiopods from the Stavelot–Venn Massif (Avalonia; Belgium and Germany). Geologica Belgica 25

Candela Y., Marion J.-M., Servais T., Wang W., Wolvers M. & Mottequin B. 2021. New linguliformean brachiopods from the lower Tremadocian (Ordovician) of the Brabant Massif, Belgium, with comments on contemporaneous faunas from the Stavelot–Venn Massif. Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia 127(2): 383-395. 

We also strive to encourage participation of ‘emerging’ countries through enhanced collaboration, field work, educational and outreach programmes together with workshops.

To date 201 scientists representing 42 countries are participating to our project.

A wide landscape showing Ordovician outcrops at the westernmost foot of the Cordillera Oriental, western Argentina.

Ordovician outcrops at the westernmost foot of the Cordillera Oriental, western Argentina. © Dr. Beatriz G. Waisfeld, National University of Córdoba

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