University of Cambridge > School of Biological Sciences > Department of Zoology > Mammal group homepage

(Mammal group members
in bold at time of writing)


Bronner GN, Mynhardt S, Bennett NC, Cohen L, Crumpton N, Hofreiter M, Arnold P, Asher RJ. 2023 In Press. Phylogenetic History of Golden Moles and Tenrecs (Mammalia, Afrotheria). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society zlad 121.

Hautier L, Gomes-Rodrigues H, Ferreira-Cardoso S, Emerling CA, Porcher ML, Asher RJ, Portela-Miguez R, Delsuc F. 2023 In Press. From teeth to pad: tooth loss and development of keratinous structures in sirenians. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 290:20231932

Christensen MM, Hallikas O, Roy RD, Väänänen V, Stenberg OE, Häkkinen TJ, François JC, Asher RJ, Klein OD, Holzenberger M, Jernvall J. 2023. The developmental basis for scaling of mammalian tooth size. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 120 (25)


Asher RJ. 2022. Navel gazing: A Review of WL Craig's In Quest of the Historical Adam. The Times Literary Supplement 17 June 2022. 

McKay CJ, Welbourn-Green C, Seiffert ER, Sallam H, Li J, Kakarala SE, Bennett NC, Asher RJ. 2022. Dental Development and First Premolar Homology in Placental Mammals. Vertebrate Zoology 72:201-218.

Álvarez-Carretero S, Tamuri AU, Battini M, Nascimento FF, Carlislie E, Asher RJ, Yang Z, Donoghue PCJ, dos Reis M. 2022. A species-level timeline of mammal evolution integrating phylogenomic data. Nature 602, 263–267.

Asher RJ, Smith MR. 2022. Phylogenetic Signal and Bias in Paleontology. Systematic Biology 71(4):986-1008.


Rankin AH, Emry RJ, Asher RJ. 2020. Anatomical sciuromorphy in "protrogomorph" rodents. Palaeontologica Electronica 23(2):a25. See also errata
Knight F, Connor C, Venkataramanan R, Asher RJ. 2020. Body temperatures, life history, and skeletal morphology in the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus).
Peer Community In Ecology 10.17863/CAM.50971. See also the PCI recommender summary and reviews and Robert Asher's youtube video describing the research.

Gomes-Rodrigues H, Tabuce R, Asher RJ, Hautier L. 2020. Developmental origins and homologies of the hyracoid dentition. Evolution & Development 22(4):323-335.

Asher RJ. 2019. The origins of Lissamphibia. Peer Community In Paleontology 100002.

Asher RJ. 2019. Recent additions to the fossil record of tenrecs and golden moles. Afrotherian Conservation 15:4-13.

Asher RJ
, Smith MR, Rankin A, Emry, RJ. 2019. Congruence, fossils, and the evolutionary tree of rodents and lagomorphs. Royal Society Open Science 6: 190387.

Geiger MAsher RJ, 2019. Schultz’s rule in domesticated mammals. Mammalian Biology 98:36-42.


Geiger M, Marron S, West AR, Asher RJ. 2018. Influences of domestication and island evolution on dental growth in sheep. J Mammalian Evolution.

Asher RJ. 2018. Diversity and Relationships within Crown Mammalia. pp. 301-351 in Zachos F and Asher RJ. Handbook of Zoology: Mammalia. Berlin: Walter deGruyter. Pre-production (and post peer-review) version is available here.

Asher RJ. 2018. Taxonomy, Trees, and Truth in Historical Mammalogy. pp. 39-58 in Zachos F and Asher RJ. Handbook of Zoology: Mammalia. Berlin: Walter deGruyter. Pre-production (and post peer-review) version is available here.


Carrillo J, Asher RJ. 2017. An exceptionally well preserved skeleton of Thomashuxleya externa (Mammalia, Notoungulata), from the Eocene of Patagonia, Argentina. Palaeontologica Electronica 20.2.34A.

Asher RJ, Gunnell GF, Seiffert ER, Pattinson D, Tabuce R, Hautier L, Sallam HM. 2017. Dental Eruption and Growth in Hyracoidea (Mammalia, Afrotheria). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology e1317638.

Davies TG, Rahman IA, Lautenschlager S, Cunningham JA, Asher RJ, Barrett PM, Bates KT, Bengtson S, Benson RBJ, Boyer DM, Braga J, Bright JA, Claessens LPAM, Cox PG, Dong XP, Evans AR, Falkingham PL, Friedman M, Garwood RJ, Goswami A, Hutchinson JR, Jeffery NS, Johanson Z, Lebrun R, Martínez-Pérez C, Marugán-Lobón J, O’Higgins PM, Metscher B, Orliac M, Rowe TB, Rücklin M, Sánchez-Villagra MR, Shubin NH, Smith SY, Starck JM, Stringer C, Summers AP, Sutton MD, Walsh SA, Weisbecker V, Witmer LM, Wroe S, Yin Z, Rayfield EJ, Donoghue PCJ. 2017. Open data and digital morphology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284 (1852).

Thean T, Kardjilov N, Asher RJ. 2017. Inner Ear Development in Cetaceans. Journal of Anatomy 230(2):249-261 doi:10.1111/joa.12548.


Bronner GN, Asher RJ. 2016. A conservation assessment of Cryptochloris zyli, Cryptochloris wintoni, Chrysospalax villosus, Chrysospalax trevelyani, and Chrysochloris asiatica. In Child MF, Roxburgh L, Do Linh San E, Raimondo D, Davies-Mostert HT, editors. The Red List of Mammals of South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. South African National Biodiversity Institute and Endangered Wildlife Trust, South Africa.

Hautier L, Gomes-Rodrigues H, Billet G, Asher RJ. 2016. The hidden teeth of sloths: evolutionary vestiges and the development of a simplified dentition. Scientific Reports 6:27763 (
O'Meara RN, Asher RJ. 2016. The evolution of growth patterns in mammalian versus non-mammalian cynodonts. Paleobiology 42(3):439-464.

Brockelhurst RJ
, Crumpton N, Button E, Asher RJ 2016. Jaw anatomy of Potamogale velox (Tenrecidae, Afrotheria) with a focus on cranial arteries and the coronoid canal in mammals. PeerJ 4:e1906; DOI 10.7717/peerj.1906.

Tarver JE, Dos Reis M, Mirarab S, Moran RJ, Parker S, O'Reilly JE, King BL, O'Connell MJ, Asher RJ, Warnow T, Peterson KJ, Donoghue PC, Pisani D. 2016.
The Interrelationships of Placental Mammals and the Limits of Phylogenetic Inference. Genome Biology and Evolution 8(2):330-344.


Crumpton N, Kardjilov N, Asher RJ. 2015. Convergence vs. Specialization in the Ear Region of Moles (Mammalia). Journal of Morphology 276(8):900-914.

Pattinson DJ, Thompson RS, Piotrowski A, Asher RJ. 2015. Phylogeny, paleontology, and primates: do incomplete fossils bias the tree of life? Systematic Biology 64(2):169-186. See also media coverage of our paper here.

Benton MJ, Donoghue PCJ, Asher RJ, Friedman M, Near TJ, Vinther J. 2015. Constraints on the timescale of animal evolutionary history. Palaeontologica Electronica 18.1.1FC:1-106.


Hautier L, Charles C, Asher RJ, Gaunt SJ. 2014. Ossification sequence and genetic patterning in the mouse axial skeleton. J Exp Zool B Mol Dev Evol  322(8):631–642.

Storch G, Asher RJ. 2014. Six chapters on Laurasiatheria, Macroscelida, Pholidota,  Placentalia,  Tenrecoidea, and Xenarthra in  Westheide W,  Rieger G. (Eds.). Spezielle Zoologie, Teil 2: Wirbel- oder Schädeltiere. Springer-Spektrum Akademischer Verlag. (In German)


Hautier L
, Bennet NC, Viljoen H, Howard L, Milinkovitch MC, Tzika AC, Goswami A, Asher RJ. 2013.
Patterns of ossification in southern versus northern placental mammals. Evolution 67(7): 1994-2010.

Werneburg I, Tzika AC, Hautier L, Asher RJ, Milinkovitch MC, Sánchez-Villagra MR. 2013. Development and embryonic staging in non-model organisms: the case of an afrotherian mammal. Journal of Anatomy 222(1):2-18.


Thompson RS, Bärmann EV, Asher RJ. 2012. The Interpretation of Hidden Support in Combined Data Phylogenetics. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 50(4):251–263.

Billet G, Hautier L, Asher RJ, Schwarz C, Crumpton N, Martin T, Ruf I. 2012. High morphological variation of vestibular system accompanies slow and infrequent locomotion in three-toed sloths. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279(1744):3932-3939. See also coverage in Science, Nature, Huffington Post, Why Evolution Is True, and on our own Nick Crumpton's Tumblr page.

Asher RJ, Müller J. 2012. Molecular Tools in Paleobiology: Divergence and Mechanisms. pp. 1-15 in Asher RJ, Müller J (Eds). From Clone to Bone: The Synergy of Morphological and Molecular Tools in Palaeobiology. Cambridge University Press.

Asher RJ, Müller J (Eds). 2012. From Clone to Bone: The Synergy of Morphological and Molecular Tools in Palaeobiology. Cambridge University Press.

Asher RJ. 2012. Evolutionary Biology and Scepticism: the Reception of Darwinism in 19th Century German Embryology. pp. 71-86 In Calne R, O'Reilly W. (Eds.) Scepticism: Hero and Villain. NOVA publishers.

Pointer MA, Kamilar JM, Warmuth V, Chester SGB, Delsuc F, Mundy NI, Asher RJ, Bradley BJ. 2012. RUNX2 tandem repeats and the evolution of facial length in placental mammals. BMC Evolutionary Biology 12:103.

Dos Reis M, Inoue J, Hasegawa M, Asher RJ, Donoghue PCJ, Yang Z. 2012. Phylogenomic datasets provide both precision and accuracy in estimating the timescale of placental mammal phylogeny. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279(1742):3491-3500.

Asher RJ. 2012. Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist. Cambridge University Press.

Hautier L, Stansfield FJ, Allen WR, Asher RJ. 2012. Skeletal development in the African elephant and ossification timing in placental mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279(1736):2188-2195. See also coverage on wired science.

Ciancio MR, Castro MC, Galliari FC, Carlini AA, Asher RJ. 2012. Evolutionary Implications of Dental Eruption in Dasypus (Xenarthra). Journal of Mammalian Evolution 19:1-8.

Weisbecker V, Hautier L, Asher RJ. 2012. Faultiere, Seekühe und die Siebener-Regel der Halswirbelsäule. Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau 65(1):38.

Asher RJ. 2012. Review of Darwin's Pious Idea by Conor Cunningham. Theology 115(1): 70-72.


Asher RJ, Helgen KM. 2011. High level Mammalian taxonomy: a response to Hedges (2011). Zootaxa 3092: 63–64.

Hautier LJ, Weisbecker V, Goswami A, Knight F, Kardjilov N, Asher RJ. 2011. Skeletal ossification and sequence heterochrony in xenarthran evolution. Evolution & Development 13(5):460–476.

Asher RJ, Lin KH, Kardjilov N, Hautier LJ. 2011. Variability and constraint in the mammalian vertebral column. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24(5): 1080-1090.


Hautier LJ, Weisbecker V, Sánchez-Villagra MR, Goswami A, Asher RJ. 2010. Skeletal development in sloths and the evolution of mammalian vertebral patterning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107(44):18903-18908. See also coverage on the NY times, Science Daily, MSNBC, and Berliner Zeitung.

Asher RJ, Helgen KM. 2010. Nomenclature and placental mammal phylogeny. BMC Evolutionary Biology 10:102.

Asher RJ, Maree S, Bronner G, Bennett NC, Bloomer P, Czechowski P, Meyer M, Hofreiter M. 2010. A phylogenetic estimate for golden moles (Mammalia, Afrotheria, Chrysochloridae). BMC Evolutionary Biology 10:69.

Asher RJ, Avery DM. 2010. New golden moles (Afrotheria, Chrysochloridae) from the Pliocene of South Africa. Palaeontologica Electronica 13(1):3A.

Asher RJ, Seiffert ER. 2010. Systematics of Endemic African Mammals, in Cenozoic Mammals of Africa, Werdelin L and Sanders W (Eds.). University of California Press.

Asher RJ. 2010. Tenrecoidea, in Cenozoic Mammals of Africa, Werdelin L and Sanders W (Eds.). University of California Press.


Wible JR , Rougier GW, Novacek MJ, Asher RJ.  2009.  The eutherian mammal Maelestes gobiensis from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia and the phylogeny of Cretaceous Eutheria. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 327:1-123

Asher RJ, Bennett N, Lehmann T. 2009. The new framework for understanding placental mammal evolution. Bioessays 31(8): 853-864.

Asher RJ, Olbricht G. 2009. Dental ontogeny in Macroscelides proboscideus (Afrotheria) and Erinaceus europaeus (Lipotyphla). Journal of Mammalian Evolution 16:99-115.

Benton MJ, Donoghue PCJ, Asher RJ. 2009. Calibrating and constraining molecular clocks. pp. 35-86 in Hedges SB and Kumar S. (Eds.) The Timetree of Life. Oxford University Press.


Ladevèze S, Asher RJ, Sanchez-Villagra MR. 2008. Petrosal anatomy in the fossil mammal Necrolestes: evidence for metatherian affinities and comparisons with the extant marsupial mole. J Anatomy 213:686-697.

Asher RJ, Lehmann T. 2008. Dental eruption in afrotherian mammals. BMC Biology 6:14.

Asher RJ, Geisler J, Sánchez-Villagra MR. 2008. Morphology, paleontology, and placental mammal phylogeny. Systematic Biology 57(2):311–317.

Tabuce R, Asher RJ, Lehmann T. 2008. Afrotherian mammals: a review of current data. Mammalia 72: 2-14.


Asher RJ. 2007. A database of morphological characters and a combined-data reanalysis of placental mammal phylogeny. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7:108.

Wible JW, Rougier GW, Novacek MJ, Asher RJ. 2007. Cretaceous Eutherians and Laurasian Origin for Placental Mammals near K/T Boundary. Nature 447:1003-1006. See also coverage from a nature podcast and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette .

Sánchez-Villagra MR, Ladevèze S, Horovitz I, Argot C, Hooker JJ, Macrini TE, Martin T, Moore-Fay S, deMuizon C, Schmelzle T, Asher RJ. 2007. Exceptionally preserved North American Paleogene metatherians: adaptations and discovery of a major gap in the opossum fossil record. Biology Letters 3(3):318-322.

Turni H, Hutterer R, Asher RJ. 2007. Type specimens of  "insectivoran" mammals at the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin. Zootaxa 1470: 1-33.

Asher RJ. 2007. African Mammals. pp. 1-3 in McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology. New York.

Asher RJ, Horovitz I, Martin T, and Sánchez-Villagra MR. 2007. Neither a rodent nor a platypus: a reexamination of Necrolestes patagonensis Ameghino. American Museum Novitates 3546:1-40.


Masters JC, de Wit MJ, and Asher RJ. 2006. Reconciling the Births of Africa, India and Madagascar with Vertebrate Dispersal Scenarios. Folia Primatologica 77:399-418.

Asher RJ, Hofreiter M. 2006. Tenrecid phylogeny and the noninvasive extraction of nuclear DNA. Systematic Biology (cover article) 55(2):181-194.


Asher RJ, Emry RJ, McKenna MC. 2005. New material of Centetodon (Mammalia, Lipotyphla) and the importance of (missing) DNA sequences in systematic paleontology. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 25(4):911–923.

Asher RJ, Meng J, Wible JR, McKenna MC, Rougier GW, Dashzeveg D, Novacek MJ. 2005. Stem Lagomorpha and the Antiquity of Glires. Science 307 (5712): 1091-1094. See also coverage from the BBC, NY Times, Berliner Zeitung and Geo Magazin,

Asher RJ, Sánchez-Villagra MR. 2005. Locking yourself out: zalambdodonty as a key adaptation. In Polly D and Luo Z-X (Eds.) Festschrift in honor of Dr. W. Clemens, Journal of Mammalian Evolution 12 (1/2): 265-282.

Asher RJ. 2005. Insectivoran grade placental mammals: character evolution and fossil history. pp. 50-70 in Rose KD and Archibald D (Eds.) The Rise of Placental Mammals: Origin and Relationships of the Major Clades, Johns Hopkins University Press.


Asher RJ, Horovitz I, Sánchez-Villagra MR. 2004. First Combined Cladistic Analysis of Marsupial Mammal Interrelationships. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 33: 240-250.

Sánchez-Villagra MR, Asher RJ, Rincón AD, Carlini AA, Meylan P, Purdy R. 2004. Description of a novel vertebrate assemblage from the Cerro la Cruz locality (lower Miocene), northwestern Venezuela. In Sánchez-Villagra MR and Clack JA (eds). Fossils of the Castillo Formation, Venezuela: Contributions in Neotropical Palaeontology. Special Papers in Palaeontology 71:105-112.


Asher RJ, Novacek MJ, Geisler JG. 2003. Relationships of Endemic African Mammals and their Fossil Relatives based on Morphological and Molecular Evidence. Journal of Mammalian Evolution 10: 131-194.

Asher RJ. 2003. Tenrecid phylogeny: a response to Douady et al. (2002). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 26: 328-330.


Asher RJ, McKenna MC, Emry RJ, Tabrum AR, Kron DG. 2002. Morphology and Relationships of Apternodus and Other Extinct, Zalambdodont, Placental Mammals. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 243: 117 pp.

Sánchez-Villagra MR, Asher RJ. 2002. Cranio-sensory adaptations in small, faunivorous mammals, with special reference to olfaction and the trigeminal system. Mammalia 66(1): 93-109.


Asher RJ. 2001. Cranial anatomy in tenrecid insectivorans: character evolution across competing phylogenies. American Museum Novitates 3352: 54 pp.

Whidden HP, Asher RJ. 2001. Origin of the Greater Antillean insectivorans. pp. 237-252 in Woods CA, Sergile FE (eds). West Indian Biogeography. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.


Asher RJ. 2000. Phylogenetic History of Tenrecs and Other Insectivoran Mammals. Ph.D. Dissertation, State University of New York, Stony Brook. Advised by Drs. Callum Ross, Ross MacPhee, David Krause, Malcolm McKenna, and Marc Allard.


Asher RJ. 1999. A morphological basis for assessing the phylogeny of the "Tenrecoidea" (Mammalia, Lipotyphla). Cladistics 15(3): 231-252.

Asher RJ. 1999. Minor placental orders of small body size. pp. 913-915 in Singer R (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Paleontology Fitzroy-Dearborn: Chicago.


Asher RJ, Krause DW. 1998. The first pre-Holocene record of Anura from Madagascar. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 18(4): 696-699.

Asher RJ. 1998. Morphological diversity of anatomical strepsirrhinism and the evolution of the lemuriform toothcomb. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 105: 355-367.