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PhD: The influence of mechanical loads on the evolution of skeletal form

Project Title

The influence of mechanical loads on the evolution of skeletal form


University of Bristol

Supervisors and Institutions

Prof Emily Rayfield (Bristol), Prof Roger Benson (Oxford), Prof Phil Donoghue (Bristol)

Funding Status

Funding is in competition with other projects and students

Project Description

The overall aim of this PhD project is therefore to determine how vertebrate skeletal form relates to the accommodation of functional loads over evolutionary timescales. In doing so the project will also seek to determine the role of non-functional constraints in the evolution of skeletal form – particularly phylogenetic and constructional constraints – and determine how this varies across the skeleton (e.g. crania versus postcrania) and between clades. Using modelling of performance optima, the project will ask what should organisms do to accommodate functional loads, versus what unfolds in the fossil and extant record, comparing theoretical optima and biomechanical reality. The project will involve CT scanning, finite element and evolutionary modelling.

Contact Name

Emily Rayfield

Contact Email

Link to More Information

Closing Date

Monday, January 7, 2019

Expiry Date

Monday, September 30, 2019
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