I’m a biologist from the Faculty of Science, University of Chile. My first work as an undergrad was my “transference to ectoderm” hypothesis on the origin of the vertebrate neural crest, and a study of negative allometry in the evolution of arm size in theropod dinosaurs. I did my PhD on the evo-devo of the dinosaur-bird transition at the Department of Anatomy & Developmental Biology of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Chile, under the supervision of Francisco Aboitiz. This work involved a 140 year-old controversy on bird digit homology, which led me to the discovery that gene expression in the bird wing is as expected for a theropod dinosaur. Thanks to a PEW fellowship, I continued researching this topic in the US, where I spent the year 2005 as a postdoc at John Fallon’s lab at the Department of Anatomy of the University of Wisconsin, and during 2006-2008 I worked as postdoc at Gunter Wagner’s lab, at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Yale University. I continue to publish on evo-devo topics, vertebrate paleontology, and theoretical and “inspirational” writing on evolution. I am a strong defender of “natural drift”, the systemic-historic perspective on evolution. I am regular participant of the NucleoDecenio biology discussion group since its foundation, and post regularly on the NucleoDecenio blog.
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Email Alexander O. Vargas: thearchosaur[at]gmail.com