Jean Vannier is a paleontologist, research director at the CNRS and works at Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon : Terre, Planètes, Environnement. He is mainly interested in the origin of animal life. He studies fossil deposits of exceptional preservation that cover the Precambrian-Paleozoic transition and provide very precise information on the distant ancestors of modern animals and on the functioning of primitive ecosystems. His international collaborations have led him to work on Canadian (Burgess Shale), Chinese (Chengjiang), Moroccan (Fezouata) and Russian (White Sea) sites. He is currently focusing his research on the Precambrian and the stages of animal evolution that precede the Cambrian Explosion.