December 2014. Many
congratulations to PhD student David Button for winning the
President's Prize at the 58th Annual Meeting of the
Palaeontological Association in Leeds. The prize is awarded
to the best talk by an early career researcher within a
year of their PhD. David's talk was entitled
biomechanical character evolution within the
Sauropodomorpha, and the influence of dietary evolution on
21st August 2014. New
paper out in Nature today
- Gill et al - dietary specialization in early mammals.
Using a combination of FEA and quantitative microwear we
determined that the jaws of early mammaliaforms
Morganucodon and Kuehneotherium functioned in different
ways and that the animals had divergent dietary
ecologies - Morgi perferring harder foodstuffs whilst
Kuehni specialized on softer prey.
3rd December 2013 New (open
access!) paper published in PNAS. Stephan Lautenschlager's PhD
work on therizinosaur cranial function offers new
insights into the mechanical behaviour and evolution
of the theropod beaks.
1st October 2013 A very warm welcome to new PhD
students Leanne Melbourne and
Nicky Stone. Leanne is
co-supervised by Daniela Schmidt (Bristol) and Juliet
Brodie (NHM, London) and will study how ocean
acidification influences the structure and ecology of UK
coralline algae. Nicky will study the role of
heterochrony in the evolution and function of
Many congratulations to
who has been awarded the University of
Bristol Science Faculty prize
for her PhD thesis "Validation of finite element models and
the implications for palaeontology". This means that not
only was Jen's thesis considered the best from the Science
Faculty for that year, it is amongst the six best PhD
theses submitted across the whole university. Very many
A warm welcome to
Dr Laura Porro
who joins the group as a Marie Curie Research Fellow. Laura
is studying the evolution of feeding in early tetrapods and
is working jointly with Professor Jenny Clack in Cambridge.
Great to have you back in the UK
14th March 2012 New paper out in Proceedings B on
function of conodont dental elements - sharpest dental
structures ever. Abstract, Nature News article, UoBristol news feature.
7th March 2012 Finding the most efficient
ways for teeth to slice food - our new paper in J.
Royal Soc. Interface combines guillotine experiments
and FEA (validated to 2 decimal places!) to find out.
Abstract, Univ Bristol news article.
October 2011. Out today on early view in
Journal of Anatomy, Cox, Fagan, Rayfield & Jeffery
Finite element modelling of squirrel, guinea pig and
rat skulls: using geometric morphometrics to assess
sensitivity; results emerging from NERC Standard
Grant on rodent skull biomechanics.
3rd October 2011. A warm welcome to new PhD
student David Button, studying craniofacial function and
evolution of sauropodomorph dinosaurs. David is based in
Bristol and jointly supervised by myself and Dr Paul
Barrett, and funded by a NERC-CASE award.
16th August 2011. Group review paper on Models
in palaeontological functional analysis published
online early view in Biology Letters.
26th July 2011. Many
congratulations to Jen Bright on
passing her PhD viva with only minor corrections. Jen has
already published three papers on finite element validation
from her thesis, with a fourth in review (Bright and
Rayfield 2011a, 2011b; Bright and Gröning). Many thanks to Dani Schmidt
and Michael Fagan (Hull) for acting as examiners. Jen
will begin a 3-year BBSRC-funded postdoc here in
Bristol in early September.
6th July 2011. Phil Anderson, myself and
co-authors Matt Friedman and Martin Brazeau have a paper
out on early view in Nature on the functional evolution of early jaws.
See also our webpage
18th June 2011. First research group
wedding! Many congratulations to Pam
Gill and Colin
Palmer who are getting married in Bristol
15th April 2011. See photos
of PhD student Stephan Lautenschlager's recent trip to
Prof. Larry Witmer's lab in Ohio at Larry's lab Facebook
2nd March 2011.
Congratulations to PhD student Jen Bright on the
publication of her first paper, out now in The Anatomical Record.
February 2011. I have
very kindly been awarded the Lyell Fund from the Geological Society:
to contributors to the Earth sciences on the basis of
noteworthy published research, under the age of 40".
January 2011. NERC-funded project on validation of
finite element models of ostrich jaws is out now in the January 2011 issue
of the Journal of Anatomy.
24th November 2010.
Congratulations to Colin Palmer on his publication on
pterosaur wing aerodynamics, out today in Proceedings B., and receiving
plenty of media coverage.
1st October 2010. Welcome to new PhD
students joining the group, Andrew Cuff and Stephan
Lautenschlanger. Both will be researching the evolution and
biomechanics of theropod dinosaur skulls.