Fabiany Herrera

Postdoctoral Research Associate
(847) 835-6928
Curriculum Vitae: 
Research Interests: 
  • Paleobotany
  • Plant evolution
  • Paleoclimate
  • Systematics
  • Paleontological exploration
  • Mentoring

My research focuses on the evolutionary origin of Neotropical rainforests. I integrate paleobotanical and neobotanical studies of plant diversity, morphology, and ecology to understand the origin of angiosperm plant lineages. I am also interested in the paleobiogeographic and paleoclimatic history of the Cenozoic, especially in the Neotropics, North America, and Europe.

My work at the Chicago Botanic Garden is the study of mesofossils from the Early Cretaceous (100-120 millions years old) of Mongolia and China. I seek to improve knowledge about the timing of events in seed plant composition and evolution for this period of time. I am very interested in the study of fossil gymnosperms such as Pinaceae, Cupressaceae, and other extinct groups of seed plants.

Selected Publications: 

 Mónica R. Carvalho, Carlos Jaramillo, Felipe de la Parra, Dayenari Caballero-Rodríguez, Fabiany Herrera, Scott Wing, Benjamin L. Turner, Carlos D'Apolito, Millerlandy Romero-Báez, Paula Narváez, Camila Martínez, Mauricio Gutierrez, Conrad Labandeira, German Bayona, Milton Rueda, Manuel Paez-Reyes, Dairon Cárdenas, Álvaro Duque, James L. Crowley, Carlos Santos and Daniele Silvestro. 2021. Extinction at the end-Cretaceous and the origin of modern Neotropical rainforests. Science 372 (6537), 63-68. DOI: 10.1126/science.abf1969

Herrera F., Shi G., Bickner M., Ichinnorov N., Leslie A, Herendeen P.S., Crane P.R. 2021. Early Cretaceous (abietoid) Pinaceae from Mongolia and the evolution of seed scale shedding. American Journal of Botany.

Dong C, Shi G, Herrera F, Wang Y, Herendeen PS, Crane PR. 2020. Middle–Late Jurassic fossils from northeastern China reveal morphological stasis in the catkin-yew. National Science Review, nwaa138,


Herrera F., Shi G., Mays C., Ichinnorov N., Takahashi M., Bevitt JJ., Herendee PS., Crane PR. 2020. Reconstructing Krassilovia mongolica supports recognition of a new and unusual group of Mesozoic conifers. PLoS ONE 15(1): e0226779. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226779


Herrera F., M. Carvalho, S.L. Wing, C. Jaramillo, and P.R. Herendeen. 2019. Middle-Late Paleocene Leguminosae Fruits and Leaves from Colombia. Australian Systematic Botany (invited). https://www.publish.csiro.au/SB/justaccepted/SB19001

Herrera F., M. Carvalho, C. Jaramillo, and S.R. Manchester. 2019. 19 Million-Year-Old Spondioid Fruits from Panama Reveal a Dynamic Dispersal History for Anacardiaceae. International Journal of Plant Sciences 180 (6): 479–492. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/703551

Herendeen, P.R. and F. Herrera. 2019. Eocene Fossil Legume Leaves Referable to the Extant Genus Arcoa (Caesalpinioideae, Leguminosae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 180(3).https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdfplus/10.1086/701468

Shi G., Crane P.R., Herendeen P.S., Ichinnorov N., Takahashi M., and Herrera F. 2019. Diversity and homologies of corystosperm seed-bearing structures from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia. J. Syst. Palaeontol., http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14772019.2018.1493547

Herrera F., G. Shi, G. Tsolmon, N. Ichinnorov, M. Takahashi, P.R. Crane, P.S, Herendeen. 2018. Exceptionally Well-Preserved Early Cretaceous Leaves of Nilssoniopteris from Central Mongolia. Acta Palaeobotanica 58(2): 135–157.https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/acpa/58/2/article-p135.xml

Herrera F., J.D. Mitchell, S.K. Pell, M.E. Collinson, D.C. Daly, and S.R. Manchester. 2018. Fruit Morphology and Anatomy of the Spondioid Anacardiaceae. The Botanical Review. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12229-018-9201-1

Herrera F., R.C. Moran, G. Shi, N. Ichinnorov, M. Takahashi, P.R. Crane, P.S, Herendeen. 2017. An Exquisitely-Preserved Filmy Fern (Hymenophyllaceae) From the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia. American Journal of Botany 104(9): 1370-1381. http://www.amjbot.org/content/early/2017/09/28/ajb.1700246.abstract

Herrera F., G. Shi, N. Ichinnorov, M. Takahashi, E. Bugdaeva, P.S, Herendeen, and P.R. Crane. 2017. The presumed ginkgophyte Umaltolepis has seed-bearing structures resembling those of Peltaspermales and Umkomasiales. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1621409114. http://www.pnas.org/content/114/12/E2385.abstract

Herrera F., G. Shi, P. Knopf, A.B. Leslie, N. Ichinnorov, M. Takahashi, P.R. Crane, and P.S, Herendeen. 2017. Cupressaceae Conifers from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 178(1): 19–41. http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdfplus/10.1086/689577

Shi, G., Herrera, F., Herendeen, P.S., Leslie, A.B., Ichinnorov, N., Takahashi., and Crane, P.R., 2018. Leaves of Podozamites and Pseudotorellia from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia: stomatal patterns and implications for relationships. Journal of Systematic Palaeontologyhttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14772019.2016.1274343

Herrera F., A.B. Leslie, G. Shi, P. Knopf, N. Ichinnorov, M. Takahashi, P.R. Crane, and P.S, Herendeen. 2016. New Fossil Pinaceae from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia. Botany 94: 885–915. http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1139/cjb-2016-0042

Shi, G., Leslie, A.B., Herendeen, P.S., Herrera, F., Ichinnorov, N., Takahashi, M., Knopf, P. and Crane, P.R., 2016. Early Cretaceous Umkomasia from Mongolia: implications for homology of corystosperm cupules. New Phytologist 210: 1418–1429. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.13871/full

Herrera, F., Shi, G., Leslie, A. B., Knopf, P., Ichinnorov, N., Takahashi, M., Crane, P. R. & Herendeen, P. S. (2015). A New Voltzian Seed Cone from the Early Cretaceous of Mongolia and Its Implications for the Evolution of Ancient Conifers. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 176(8): 791-809. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/683060

Herrera, F., SR. Manchester, R. Koll, and C. Jaramillo. 2014. Fruits of Oreomunnea (Juglandaceae) in the Early Miocene of Panama. In W. D. Stevens, Olga Martha Montiel, and Peter H. Raven [eds.], Paleobotany and Biogeography, A Festschrift for Alan Graham in His 80th Year, 124-133. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis, Missouri.

Herrera, F., SR. Manchester, and C. Jaramillo. 2012. Permineralized fruits from the late Eocene of Panama give clues of the composition of forests established early in the uplift of Central America. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 175, 10–24. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034666712000371

Herrera, F., SR. Manchester, SB. Hoot, K. Wefferling, MR. Carvalho, and C. Jaramillo. 2011. Phytogeographic Implications of Fossils Endocarps of Menispermaceae from the Paleocene of Colombia. American Journal of Botany, 98(12), 2004–2017. http://www.amjbot.org/content/98/12/2004.abstract

Herrera, F., SR. Manchester, C. Jaramillo, B. MacFadden, and SA. da Silva-Caminha. 2010. Phytogeographic History and Phylogeny of the Humiriaceae, International Journal of Plant Sciences, 171(4): 392–408. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/651229

Wing, S.L., Herrera, F., Jaramillo, C., Gomez, C., Wilf, P., and Labandeira, C.C. 2009. Late Paleocene fossils from the Cerrejón Formation, Colombia, are the earliest record of Neotropical Rainforest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 106: 18627-18632. http://www.pnas.org/content/106/44/18627.full

Head, J., Bloch, J. Hasting, A., Bourque, J., Cadena, E., Herrera, F, Polly, P.D., and Jaramillo, C. 2009. Giant Boine Snake From A Paleocene Neotropical Rainforest Indicates Hotter Past Equatorial Temperatures. Nature, 457: 715-718. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v457/n7230/abs/nature07671.html