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The IVPP is a Research Institute belonging to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (in Chinese: 中国科学院古脊椎动物与古人类研究所). It just celebrated its 90th birthday in 2019. It is currently considered one of the top Research Institutes in the world for the fields of paleontology and paleanthropology. Many magnificent research results have been achieved at IVPP and 120 research papers have been published in Nature and Science from 1993-2020. To learn more about the full history of IVPP and its current Research, read this NSR Article.


Our research team on Avian Evolution is part of the Key Laboratory for Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, and of the Department of Paleoichthyology and Paleoherpetology. This international team is led by Academician and Professor Zhou Zhonghe.



Senior Research Fellow

Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences

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Professor Zhou earned a Ph.D. in Biology in 1999 from the University of Kansas. He is the former director of the IVPP. His research interest is on the origin and early evolution of birds, feathers and avian flight. He is responsible for many of the major scientific advancements and discoveries on the Jehol Biota of Northeastern China. He is also interested in the relationships between paleoenvironment and biological evolution in this Lower Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystem. In the past twenty years he has discovered and published dozens of new species of birds, dinosaurs and pterosaurs from the Jehol, one of the most important ancient biota for the study of early bird and dinosaurian evolution.

A full list of his publications can be found on his CV or here.

Also see this Q&A from Current Biology about Zhou Zhonghe.




Professor Wang earned a Ph.D at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is curious about various aspects of the evolution of birds during the Mesozoic Era, a critical phase when birds split from the dinosaur branch and evolved the bauplan of modern birds. He has published and described many species of early birds from the Jehol Biota. He is especially interested in anatomy, phylogenetics, but also the pattern of fusion of bones during avian evolution.

A full list of his publications can be found here or in his CV.




Professor Stidham received his Ph.D. in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduation, he held a postdoctoral position in the Human Evolution Research Center and was a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley before joining the faculty at Texas A&M University. He has been a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences faculty at the IVPP in Beijing for 8 years. Tom is particularly interested in the evolution of crown group birds around the world, and he studies many aspects of avian paleobiology, ecology, and evolution. Dr. Stidham also is an avid naturalist, zoologist, and bird watcher, who is interested in the biology and natural history of other extant and extinct animals.

A full list of his publications can be found here.


Associate Professor


Professor Li earned a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. He has been working on both Cenozoic and Mesozoic bird fossils from China, and broadly interested in bird evolution. He uses multiple analytic techniques, including high-resolution CT scanning methods, histology, and SEM to investigate avian morphological traits. He has also worked a lot on the hyoid apparatus of birds, archosaurs and pterosaurs. He is now especially interested in the taphonomy, sedimentology, and paleontology of the Miocene Liushu Formation in the Linxia Basin of China.

A full list of his publications can be found here.


Associate Professor


Dr. Bailleul earned a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from Montana State University in 2015. She is  interested in the evolution, development and function of the avian and dinosaurian skull by analyzing fossilized cranial tissues. She is also interested in how skeletal tissues, cells and biomolecules preserve in deep-time. She is specifically interested in the preservation of cell nuclei in fossil birds and dinosaurs.

A full list of her publications can be found here or in her CV

Also see her Research Gate page


Adjunct Professor

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Professor O'Connor just left the IVPP to become the Associate Curator of Fossil Reptiles at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, USA. She earned a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California. She is interested in the evolution of Mesozoic birds, especially birds from the Jehol biota. During her research at IVPP, she described dozens of new bird species, and helped reconstruct important aspects of the biology of fossil birds, such as their reproductive and digestive systems.

More information about her research and a full list of her publications can be found here. Also see her website here.

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