Dr Diego C. García-Bellido

Honorary Research Associate Palaeontology

+61 8 8207 7416


Diego started working on Burgess Shale-type Cambrian fossils in 1994 at the University of Cambridge UK, while he was still doing his Biology Degree in the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. He joined the Royal Ontario Museum’s excavations at the Burgess Shale in 1995, 1997 and 2000. He presented his PhD on Palaeozoic sponges from Spain in 2002, followed by a 2-year postdoc at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada studying Burgess Shale arthropods. Diego worked at the Spanish Research Council as a postdoctoral researcher (2005–2012) and is now a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide and an Honorary Research Associate at the South Australian Museum working on Cambrian Emu Bay Shale fossils.


Position at Other Organisation

  • Senior Research Fellow, Sprigg Geobiology Centre, University of Adelaide


Research Interests

Main interest is the taxonomical diversity and functional morphology of the early metazoans generated during the so-called Cambrian “explosion” (~540 million years ago), and the phylogenetic relationships among the major animal groups (phyla) that appeared with this unique event in the history of the biosphere.


Current Research Projects

Biology and environments of the Cambrian fossils of the Emu Bay biota on Kangaroo Island. J. Gehling, D. García-Bellido (University of Adelaide), J. Paterson (University of New England), J. Jago (University of South Australia), G. Edgecombe (Natural History Museum, UK) and M. Gemmell (South Australian Museum).

Iberian Ordovician chronostratigraphy and its correlation with the Global Scale. J.C. Gutiérrez-Marco (Spanish Research Council), D. García-Bellido (University of Adelaide), I. Rábano (Spanish Geological Survey), E. Villas (University of Zaragoza, Spain) and A. Sá (University Tras-os-Montes, Portugal). Jan. 2013–Dec. 2015, Spanish Ministry of Economy & Competitiveness, 124,800 Euros.

The Rise of Animal Life (Cambrian-Ordovician)–Organization and tempo: evidence from exceptionally preserved biotas. J. Vannier (Lyon University, France), D. García-Bellido (University of Adelaide), T. Servais (Lille University, France), D. Briggs (Yale University, USA), R. Gaines (Pomona College, USA) and P. van Roy (University of Ghent, Belgium). Nov. 2011–Nov. 2014, French National Research Agency (ANR - Agence Nationale de la Recherche), 409,000 Euros.


Awards & Achievements

  • Research Personnel Formation Fellowship, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain (1998–2002)

  • DAAD Fellowship (German Inter-academic Exchange Service), Institut für Paläontologie, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany (1999)

  • Spanish Ministry of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Palaeobiology, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada (2003–2005).

  • Senior Research Fellowship, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide (2013)


Professional Associations

  • Assistant Editor, Journal of Iberian Geology (Spain)

  • Member, The Palaeontological Association (UK)



  • BSc (Hons), Complutense University, Madrid (1995)

  • MSc, Complutense University, Madrid (1997)

  • PhD, Complutense University, Madrid (2002)


Current Teaching Responsibilities

Undergraduate lectures, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide.


Community Engagement

García-Bellido, D. C. Up front with trilobites – Why are the arthropods from Emu Bay Shale so important. Talk. Queen Adelaide Club, Adelaide, 13 February 2013.

García-Bellido, D. C. Emu Bay Shale, Burgess Shale and the Cambrian ‘explosion’: the rise of Animals. Talk. The Waterhouse Club, Kingscote, Kangaroo Island. 24 March 2013.

García-Bellido, D. C. Kangaroo island fossil animals: so close in space yet so far in time. South Australian Museum “Fossil fest 2013”, Adelaide, 20–21 April 2013.

García-Bellido, D. C. Emu Bay Shale: Australia’s window to the Cambrian ‘explosion’. Seminar, University of Adelaide, 24 May 2013.


Media Expertise

Early animal evolution, arthropod fossils, Emu Bay Shale, Burgess Shale, exceptional fossil preservation, Cambrian.



  1. García-Bellido, D. C.; Paterson, J. R., and Edgecombe, G. D. (2013). Cambrian palaeoscolecids (Cycloneuralia) from Gondwana and reappraisal of species assigned to Palaeoscolex. Gondwana Research 24 (2): 780–795.

  2. Paterson, J. R., García-Bellido, D. C., and Edgecombe, G. D. (2012).New artiopodan arthropods from the Early Cambrian Emu Bay Shale Konservat-Lagerstätte of South Australia. Journal of Paleontology 86 (2): 340–357.

  3. Paterson, J.R.;García-Bellido, D. C.; Lee, M. S. Y.; Brock, G. A.; Jago, J. B., andEdgecombe, G. D. (2011). Acute vision in the Cambrian predator Anomalocaris and the origin of compound eyes. Nature 480 (7376): 237–240.

  4. Lee, M. S. Y.; Jago, J. B .; García-Bellido, D. C.; Edgecombe, G. D.; Gehling, J. G., andPaterson, J. R.(2011). Modern optics in exceptionally preserved Early Cambrian arthropod eyes from Australia. Nature 474 (7353): 631–634.

  5. Gutiérrez-Marco, J. C.; Rábano, I., and García-Bellido, D. (eds.) (2011). Ordovician of the World. xvi+682 pp. Madrid, Spain: Instituto Geológico y Minero. (ISBN: 9788478408573).

  6. García-Bellido, D. C. (2010). ‘A nook up in the Canadian Rockies’ in Fossil Hunters 2. Stories from the Palaeontologists, pp. 58–66. South Australian Museum, Adelaide (ISBN: 9780980729115).

  7. García-Bellido, D. C.,Paterson, J. R., Edgecombe, G. D., Jago, J. B., Gehling, J. G., andLee, M. S. Y. (2009). The bivalved arthropods Isoxys and Tuzoia with soft-part preservation from the lower Cambrian Emu Bay Shale Lagerstätte (Kangaroo Island, Australia). Palaeontology 52 (6): 1221–1241.

  8. Vannier, J., García-Bellido, D. C., Hu S.-X., and Chen, A.-L. (2009). Arthropod visual predators in the early pelagic ecosystem: evidence from the Burgess Shale and Chengjiang biotas. Proceedings of the Royal Society - B, 276: 2567–2574.

  9. Gutiérrez-Marco, J. C., Sá, A. A., García-Bellido, D. C., Rábano, I., and Valério, M. (2009). Giant trilobites and trilobite clusters from the Ordovician of Portugal. Geology 37 (5): 443–446.

  10. García-Bellido, D.C. and Collins, D.H. (2004). Moulting arthropod caught in the act.Nature 429: 40.