Our research focuses on the ecological, evolutionary, functional and developmental bases of morphological variation in humans, primates, other mammals and reptiles.
One major research strand aims to explain how skeletal and dental morphologies arise during evolution in terms of developmental processes and functional adaptations. In particular, we are interested in how the functional demands of feeding and other activities have shaped the skull, and how such behaviours can be interpreted in fossil organisms. Another key strand is the study of functional integration in the skeleton, in which we seek to understand whether morphologies in different parts of the skeleton covary in order to preserve functional capabilities.
The key underpinning technologies of our research are geometric morphometrics, CT imaging, finite element analysis, multibody dynamics analysis, 3D printing, mechanical testing equipment and laser scanning. The advances in morphometrics that have arisen during this work are also being applied in functional studies and imaging.
Our work is directly applicable to the study of human evolution and the understanding of modern human biological variation. In addition, it has important medical and forensic applications through the use of morphometrics in CT, MR and other diagnostic imaging modalities and also in kinematic analyses of facial and body motion.