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Research in my lab focuses on the function and evolution of the musculoskeletal system of vertebrates. We are interested in the evolution of the skull and its relation to feeding behaviour in dinosaurs, birds, crocodiles and more recently, mammals, alongside other problems of form and function in living and extinct animals. We apply biomechanical and engineering analysis techniques such as finite element analysis (FEA) to investigate at how living and extinct animal skeletons function, and why skeletons are shaped in a particular way. Some of our current research documents how biomechanical functions evolve through time, looking at how shape and function change in relation to the origin of innovations such as jaws and flight, species diversity and environmental factors. We combine our functional analysis with morphometric and statistical methods to elucidate morphological and functional convergence. We have exciting new collaborative projects on the functional evolution of the mammalian jaw and the evolution of feeding in early tetrapods during the water to land transition.

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