A peak into my PhD: The influence of ecology, biomechanics and locomotor style on the body shape of animals

Body shape has a fundamental impact on organismal function. Most studies on body shape in vertebrates are focused on research into reptiles (mostly fossorial species) and aquatic or semi-aquatic vertebrates, but it is largely unknown (in a quantitative way) how body shape has evolved in concert with changes in behaviour, locomotion and ecological niches. My objectives …

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Get the picture: Using photogrammetry as a measure for comparing surfaces

When I first started my PhD over a year ago, I was told to expect the unexpected when it came to research. Lo and behold, for several weekends of the last few months I have been taking 100's of pictures of the floor outside, all part of my research. Given that my background is in …

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Getting a handle on handles: Testing the efficiency hypothesis of hafted tool technology

When people ask what I do, I always prepare myself for the often-quizzical look I get when I respond, “I look at the difference between using a tool with a handle and a tool without a handle”. Now, this is of course a simple explanation of my PhD project. Nonetheless, at its most basic level, …

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