Dr. Chenyang CAI 

Associate Professor 

Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

No. 39 East Beijing Road, Nanjing 210008, China

Phone: (+0086)-25-83282205 


Research Areas

My research includes a principal aim of understanding evolutionary history of terrestrial arthropods, particularly insects, and their palaeoethological and palaeoecological implications by a comparative morphological study between extant and extinct taxa, the latter belonging to exceptional faunas, including the Middle Jurassic Daohugou Biota (ca. 165 Ma), the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota (ca. 125 Ma) of northeastern China and mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber (ca. 99 Ma).

1. Beetle Evolution and Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution

2. Mesozoic Amber inclusions


  1. 2012 to 2015, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS, PhD. Graduated with distinction.

  2. September–October, 2014, Visitor to American Museum of Natural History (New York), Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University (Cambridge), and Natural History Museum, University of Kansas (Lawrence), U.S.

  3. November, 2013–January, 2014, Visiting Student to Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Canberra, Australia.

  4. May, 2013, Visitor to Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France.

  5. March–April, 2012, Visiting Scholar to the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago) and Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University (New Haven), U.S. (supported by the Ernst Mayr Travel Grants from MCZ, Harvard University)

  6. June–July, 2011, Visiting Scholar to the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago), Chicago, U.S. (supported by the Visiting Scholarship from FMNH)

  7. 2006–2010 Bachelor of Science, Shandong Agricultural University, College of Life Sciences. Majored in Biotechnology. Graduated with distinction.



1.       Cai, C., Leschen, R.A.B., Hibbett, D.S., Xia, F., Huang, D., 2017. Mycophagous rove beetles highlight diverse mushrooms in the Cretaceous. Nature Communications 8, 14894. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14894.

2.       Cai, C., Engel, M.S., Newton, A.F., Eldredge, K.T., Huang, D., 2017. Early evolution of specialized termitophily in Cretaceous rove beetles. Current Biology 27(8), 1229–1235.

3.       Cai, C., Thayer, M.K., Engel, M.S., Newton, A.F., Ortega-Blanco, J., Wang, B., Wang, X., Huang, D., 2014. Early origin of parental care in Mesozoic carrion beetles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111(39), 14170–14174.

4.       Cai, C., Newton, A.F., Thayer, M.K., Leschen, R.A.B., Huang, D., 2016. Specialized proteinine rove beetles shed light on insect–fungal associations in the Cretaceous. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 283, 20161439.

5.       Yin, Z., Cai, C.*, Huang, D., Li, L., 2017. Specialized adaptations for springtail predation in Mesozoic beetles. Scientific Reports 7, 98. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00187-8.

6.       Cai, C., Lawrence, J.F., Ślipiński, A., Huang, D., 2015. Jurassic artematopodid beetles and their implications for the early evolution of Artematopodidae (Coleoptera). Systematic Entomology 40(4), 779–788.

7.       Cai, C., Beattie, R., Huang, D., 2015. Jurassic olisthaerine rove beetles (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae), 165 million years of morphological and probably behavioral stasis. Gondwana Research 28, 425–431.

8.       Cai, C., Huang, D., 2014. The oldest micropepline beetle from Cretaceous Burmese amber and its phylogenetic implications (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae). Naturwissenschaften 101(10), 813–817.

9.       Huang, D., Nel, A., Cai, C., Lin, Q., Engel, M.S., 2013. Amphibious flies and paedomorphism in the Jurassic period. Nature 495, 94–97.

10.    Huang, D., Engel, M.S., Cai, C., Wu, H., Nel, A., 2012. Diverse transitional giant fleas from the Mesozoic era of China. Nature 483, 201–204.