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Research interests

My research interests lie in the joint biomechanical and macroevolutionary study of the oral structures of vertebrates. Jaws, as they are commonly known, and their correlates tell us details of the trophic niche of an extinct animal, but they can be employed to obtain pieces of evidence on their ecology, social behaviour and changes in their habitats. My PhD project will focus on the study of a specialised feeding structure usually known as “beak” (or “bill”). As teeth are usually regarded as a key vertebrate feature, their total or partial secondary loss has to be equally considered important, especially when occurring repeatedly, in a similar pattern, across multiple unrelated clades and the entire history of life on Earth. This project aims to improve our understanding of these structures in extinct vertebrates by answering some major evolutionary questions. To do so, I will employ classic two-dimensional biomechanical techniques on available specimens, employing extant beaked clades (turtles and birds) as main references to test our results. Results will be studied in relationship to their chronological, palaeogeographical and ecological context. Additionally, over the course of the PhD, 3D datasets and models will be gathered or produced to further test the 2D data with advanced techniques.

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