I am a palaeobiologist interested in the evolution and development of life. Hypotheses from biological sciences propose that the evolution of life is driven towards increasing complexity by key innovations. As a model for this I study the origin and evolution of jaws and teeth and the dermal skeleton. Using mainly non-invasive X-ray microscopy I reconstruct the histology of tissue types and growth of structures.
Palaeobiology, evolution and development, vertebrates, X-ray computed tomography, jaws and teeth, dermal skeleton, Placoderms, Devonian
The evolution of jaws and teeth.
Contrary to traditional hypotheses I demonstrated that the first teeth evolved in placoderms, the sister group to all living jawed vertebrates. In my current research on the evolution of jaws and teeth, supported by a Vidi grant from NWO, I test hypotheses on the evolution of tooth replacement in jawed vertebrates, especially in osteichthyans. In my team we investigate the evolution of complexity using dental complexity as a model, we investigate the evolution of modularity of vertebrate jaws and the evolution of dental gene-regulation using computational models.
Projects me and my team are working on currently.
Couzens A. M. C., Sears, K. E. & Rücklin, M. 2021. Developmental influence on evolutionary rates and the origin of placental mammal tooth complexity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 118 (23) e2019294118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2019294118
Rücklin, M., King, B., Cunningham, J.A., Johanson, Z., Marone & F., Donoghue, P.C.J. 2021. Acanthodian dental development and the origin of gnathostome dentitions. Nature Ecology & Evolution 5, 919-926. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-021-01458-4
Doeland, M., Couzens, AMC., Donoghue PCJ. & Rücklin, M. 2019. Tooth replacement in early sarcopterygians. R. Soc. open sci. 6: 191173. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.191173
Donoghue, P. C. J. & Rücklin, M. 2016. The ins and outs of the evolutionary origin of teeth. Evolution & Development 18:1, 19-30.
Giles, S., Rücklin, M. & Donoghue, P.C.J. 2013. Histology of the placoderm dermal skeleton: implications for the nature of the ancestral gnathostome. Journal of Morphology 274: 627-644.
Rücklin, M., Donoghue, P.C.J., Johanson, Z., Trinajstic, K., Marone, F. & Stampanoni, M. 2012. Development of teeth and jaws in the earliest jawed vertebrates. Nature 491: 748-751.
Rücklin, M., Giles, S., Janvier, P. & Donoghue, P.C.J. 2011. Teeth before jaws? Comparative analysis of the structure and development of the external and internal scales in the extinct jawless vertebrate Loganellia scotica. Evolution & Development 13: 523-532.
Melina Jobbins - Zurich University - Main supervior: Prof. Christian Klug; Co-supervisor: Martin Rücklin
Wenjing Yi - Leiden University - Main supervisor: Prof. Michael Richardson; Co-supervisor: Martin Rücklin
We welcome new PhD students or postdoctoral researchers in my team. Get in contact to discuss possibilities.
Former lab members and PhD students
- Dr Benedict King - former postdoctoral researcher in Vidi project 'jaws and teeth' working on the assembly of the vertebrate dentition and jaws - now postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig - Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
- Dr Aidan Couzens - former postdoctoral researcher in Vidi project 'jaws and teeth' working on the evolution of dental complexity - now postdoc at the University of California, Los Angeles - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
- Dr Sebastien Enault - former postdoctoral researcher - now Kraniata - skeletal preparation
- Dr Linda Frey - PhD May 2019 at University of Zürich- co-supervisor M. Rücklin
- Floortje Mossou - former research assistant
- Biodiversity - Leiden University, 1st year BSc - 2020
- Palaeobiology - Leiden University, MSc course - 2018-present, since 2020 as coordinator
- Honours class 'Crisis in Biology' now 'Evolution of Earth and Life' - Leiden University - 2018-present
- Evolution and development course – Leiden University, MSc – 2017-present
- Evolutionary biology - Leiden University, 2nd year BSc - 2017-present
- Zoology and developmental biology, Vertebrate evolution and vertebrate skeleton – Leiden University, BSc – 2013-present
- Methods in Biodiversity - Leiden University, MSc - 2016-2017
- Tomography and 3D visualization of (palaeo)biological tissues – Naturalis – 2015 - present
- Vertebrate Evolution and Palaeobiology – University of Bristol – 2011-2012
- 3D imaging techniques – University of Bristol – 2009-2011
- Frontiers in Earth Sciences – University of Bristol – 2009
- Access to Bristol – University of Bristol – 2009-2011
Me and my team supervise BSc and MSc internships. Get in contact to discuss possibilities.
Spiegel online – Evolution: Urzeitfisch war wohl erstes Wirbeltier mit Zähnen
Deutschlandfunk – Bissig von Anfang an
Dental Tribune – Researchers discover the origin of teeth