Supervisors and Institutions
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.