Isaac Casanovas i Vilar

Paleoecology & Biochronology Research Group
Junior Research Group Leader



Neogene and Quaternary Faunas Department, Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont
ICTA-ICP. Edifici Z. Carrer de les Columnes, s/n. Campus de la UAB. 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona
Tel. 00-34-935868609Fax 00-34-935868333E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Isaac Casanovas i Vilar (Canet de Mar, 1980) is doctor in Geology by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2007). Since 1998, before starting his university degree, he collaborated with the Institut de Paleontologia M. Crusafont, taking part in excavation campaigns and starting his studies on Miocene rodents of Catalonia under the supervision of Dr. Jordi Agustí, which would be later the subject of his PhD thesis. After obtaining his PhD he joins the Neogene and Quaternary Faunas Department of the ICP, and in the following years he makes some research stays at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center (Leiden, the Netherlands) and the Università degli Studi di Firenze (Florence, Italy). He has been awarded with a “Juan de la Cierva” research contract and from 2014 on he is a contracted researcher of the “Ramón y Cajal” program.

His main research line is the study of the Neogene Iberian rodent faunas and its applications for dating fossil sites and inferring past climates and environments. He has chosen a diverse and multidisciplinary approach so that his works combine varied topics including geometric morphometrics, taphonomy and evolutionary paleoecology. He has authored or co-authored more than 130 scientific publications, mostly in international journals and congress proceedings. His papers have been published in top journals including Science; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA; PLoS ONE; Journal of Biogeography; Journal of Human Evolution; Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology o Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. His highlights comprise a series of papers on the chronology of primate sites of Catalonia and Europe as well as his studies on the effects of late Miocene climatic changes over Iberian ecosystems, which implied the extinction of a remarkable number of species. Between 2011 and 2013 he directed a project of the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation focused in the reconstruction of the life style of extinct small mammals using innovative methods such as virtual reconstruction of fossil specimens or stable isotope analyses in tooth enamel. He has also led field projects financed by the National Geographic Society and the Generalitat de Catalunya [Catalan Government]. He has co-directed several field campaigns, including paleontological interventions at the sites of Can Mata (els Hostalets de Pierola), Can Llobateres (Sabadell) or les Cases de la Valenciana (Gelida), amongst others.

As a rule he annually attends to several scientific meetings, both national and international, and he has also organized special sessions and symposia. Since 2007 he teaches master classes at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and has supervised several research works of master students. In his free time he loves reading, listening to music and watching films, but he also makes some work out from time to time. Now living in Barcelona, he is part of the Castellers de Sants [Catalan tradition based on building human towers] and takes part in other cultural activities.


Selected publications

  1. Casanovas-Vilar I., Garcés, M., Van Dam, J., García-Paredes, I., Robles, J.M. & Alba, D.M. (2016). An updated biostratigraphy for the late Aragonian and the Vallesian of the Vallès-Penedès Basin (Catalonia). Geologica Acta, 14 (3): 195-217. Link: http://revistes.ub.edu/index.php/GEOACTA/article/view/GeologicaActa2016.14.3.1
  2. Casanovas-Vilar I., Flynn, L.J. & Van den Hoek Ostende, L.W. (2016). [editors] Windows into Deep Time – Cenozoic faunal change in long continental records of Eurasia. Comptes Rendus Palevol, 7 (15). Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/comptes-rendus-palevol/vol/15/issue/7
  3. Casanovas-Vilar, I., Madern, A., Alba, D.M., Cabrera, L., García-Paredes, I., Van den Hoek Ostende, L.W., DeMiguel, D., Robles, J.M., Furió, M., Van Dam, J., Garcés, M., Angelone, C., & Moyà-Solà, S. (2016). The Miocene mammal record of the Vallès-Penedès Basin (Catalonia). Comptes Rendus Palevol, 7 (15): 791-812. Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1631068315001451
  4. Casanovas-Vilar, I.,Van den Hoek Ostende, L.W., Furió, M. & Madern, P.A. (2014). The range and extent of the Vallesian Crisis (Late Miocene): new prospects based on the micromammal record from the Vallès-Penedès Basin (Catalonia, Spain). Journal of Iberian Geology, 40 (1): 29-48. Link: http://revistas.ucm.es/index.php/JIGE/article/view/44086
  5. Casanovas-Vilar, I.& Van Dam, J. (2013). Conservatism and adaptability during squirrel radiation: what is mandible shape telling us? PLoS ONE, 8 (4): e61298. Link: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0061298
  6. Alba, D.M., Casanovas-Vilar, I., Almécija, S., Robles, J.M., Árias-Martorell, J. & Moyà-Solà, S. (2012). New dental remains of Hispanopithecus laietanus (Primates: Hominidae) from Can Llobateres 1 and the taxonomy of Late Miocene hominoids from the Vallès-Penedès basin (NE Iberian Peninsula). Journal of Human Evolution, 63 (1): 231-246. Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248412000930
  7. Marmi, J., Casanovas-Vilar, I., Robles, J.M., Moyà-Solà, S. & Alba, D.M. (2012). The paleoenvironment of Hispanopithecus laietanus as revealed by paleobotanical evidence from the Late Miocene of Can Llobateres 1 (Catalonia, Spain). Journal of Human Evolution, 62 (3): 412-423. Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248411002442
  8. Casanovas-Vilar, I., Van Dam, J.A., Moyà-Solà, S. & Rook, L. (2011). Late Miocene insular mice from the Tusco-Sardinian palaeobioprovince provide new insights on the palaeoecology of the Oreopithecus Journal of Human Evolution, 61 (1): 42-49. Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248411000212
  9. Furió, M., Casanovas-Vilar, I. & Van den Hoek Ostende, L.W. (2011). Predictable structure of Miocene insectivore (Lipotyphla) faunas in Western Europe along a latitudinal gradient. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 304 (3-4): 219-229. Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018210000623
  10. Casanovas-Vilar, I., Alba, D.M., Garcés, M., Robles, J.M. & Moyà-Solà, S. (2011). Updated chronology for the Miocene hominoid radiation in Western Eurasia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 108 (14): 5554-5559. Link: http://www.pnas.org/content/108/14/5554.full
  11. Casanovas-Vilar, I., García-Paredes, I., Alba, D.M., Van den Hoek Ostende, L.W. & Moyà-Solà, S. (2010). The European Far West: Miocene mammal isolation, diversity and turnover in the Iberian Peninsula. Journal of Biogeography, 37 (6): 1079-1093. Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2010.02286.x/full
  12. Moyà-Solà, S., Alba, D.M., Almécija, S., Casanovas-Vilar, I., Köhler, M., De Esteban-Trivigno, S., Robles, J.M., Galindo, J. & Fortuny, J. (2009). A unique Middle Miocene European hominoid and the origins of the great ape and human clade. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A., 106 (24): 9601-9606. Link: http://www.pnas.org/content/106/24/9601.full
  13. Casanovas-Vilar, I., Alba, D.M., Moyà-Solà, S., Galindo, J., Cabrera, L., Garcés, M., Furió, M., Robles, J.M., Köhler, M. & Angelone, C. (2008). Biochronological, taphonomical and paleoenvironmental background of the fossil great ape Pierolapithecus catalaunicus (Primates, Hominidae). Journal of Human Evolution, 55 (4): 589-603. Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047248408000948
  14. Casanovas-Vilar, I.¸Alba, D.M., Almécija, S., Robles, J.M., Galindo, J. & Moyà-Solà, S. (2008). Taxonomy and paleobiology of the genus Chalicomys Kaup, 1832 (Rodentia, Castoridae), with the description of a new species from Abocador de Can Mata (Vallès-Penedès Basin, Catalonia, Spain). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 28(3): 851-562. Link: http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1671/0272-4634(2008)28%5B851:TAPOTG%5D2.0.CO;2
  15. Casanovas-Vilar, I. & Agustí, J. (2007). Ecogeographical stability and climate forcing in the late Miocene (Vallesian) rodent record of Spain. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 248 (1-2): 169-189. Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018206006675
  16. Moyà-Solà, S., Köhler, M., Alba, D.M., Casanovas-Vilar, I. & Galindo, J. (2004). Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, a new Middle Miocene great ape from Spain. Science, 306 (5700): 1339-1344. Link: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/306/5700/1339

More publications at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Isaac_Casanovas-Vilar

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