Dr Diego C. García-Bellido

Senior Researcher 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 two-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 an ARC Future Fellow at the University of Adelaide and an Honorary Research Associate at the South Australian Museum working on Cambrian Emu Bay Shale fossils and the Ediacara Biota.


Position at Other Organisation

  • Associate Professor, School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide


Research Interests

Main interest is the taxonomical diversity and functional morphology of the early metazoans generated during the 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

Testing our knowledge on the dawn of Animal life: evidence from the fossil record against modern ecological and morphological analogues, D. García-Bellido (University of Adelaide), Jan. 2014–Dec. 2017, Australian Research Council & University of Adelaide, 732,000$ AUS.

Interplay of volcanism, hydrothermalism and carbonate productivity in the Cambrian Explosion of West Gondwana, J.J. Álvaro (Spanish Research Council), S. Zamora (Spanish Geological Survey), D. García-Bellido (University of Adelaide), E. Moreno-Eiris (Complutense University of Madrid). Jan. 2014–Dec. 2016, Spanish Ministry of Economy & Competitiveness, 102,000 Euros.

Biology and environments of the Cambrian fossils of the Emu Bay Shale 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), T. Servais (Lille University, France), D. García-Bellido (University of Adelaide), D. Briggs (Yale University, USA) and P. van Roy (University of Ghent, Belgium). Nov. 2011–Nov. 2015, 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)
  • ARC Future Fellowship, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide (2014-2017)


Professional Associations

  • Assistant Editor, Journal of Iberian Geology (Spain)
  • Member, Geological Society of Australia
  • Secretary, Australasian Association of Palaeontologists
  • Member, The Palaeontological Association (UK)
  • Member, Spanish Ornithological Society (SEO/BirdLife)
  • Member, Birds SA (Australia)



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

  • MSc, Complutense University, Madrid (1997)

  • PhD, Complutense University, Madrid (2002)


Current Teaching Responsibilities

Lecturing and HDR student supervising, 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. Public talk. Queen Adelaide Club, Adelaide, 13 February 2013.

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

García-Bellido, D. C. 500 million-year-old eyes and other exceptional fossils from the Cambrian. Seminar. Ophthalmology Department, Flinders Medical School, Adelaide, 20 August 2013.

García-Bellido, D. C. Ediacara, Burgess Shale and Emu Bay Shale: the oldest Animals on Earth. Public talk. CSIRO Double Helix Science Club, Adelaide, 30 August 2013.

García-Bellido, D. C. The record of the Cambrian ‘explosion’ in South Australia. Public talk. Geological Society of Australia – South Australian Division, Adelaide, 17 October 2013.

García-Bellido, D. C. Ediacara, Burgess Shale and Emu Bay Shale: the oldest Animals on Earth. Public talk. Wissanger Club, Kangaroo Island, 8 May 2014.

García-Bellido, D. C. South Australia’s Konservat-Lagerstätten: Ediacara and Emu Bay Shale. Seminar. School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, 20 March 2014.

García-Bellido, D. C. The origin of animal evolution in Australia. ‘Cutting Edge Science’ guest talk. CONASTA-63, Annual Conference Australian Science Teachers Association, Adelaide, 7 July 2014.

García-Bellido, D. C. South Australia: the perfect frame for the Cambrian 'explosion'. Public talk. Adelaide Planetarium, 20 August 2014.

García-Bellido, D. C. The Cambrian ‘explosion’: the first animals on Earth. Public talk. Rose Park/Norwood Scouts, 26 August 2014.


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. García-Bellido, D.C.; Paterson, J.R., Edgecombe, G.D. & Ma, X.Y. (2013). A “Collins’ monster”-type lobopodian from the Emu Bay Shale Konservat-Lagerstätte (Cambrian), South Australia. Alcheringa, 37: 474–478.
  3. Paterson, J.R.; García-Bellido, D. C.; Lee, M. S. Y.; Brock, G. A.; Jago, J. B., and Edgecombe, 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.