1990 - 1998 Trinity College, University of Cambridge, UK.
1998 PhD Vertebrate Palaeontology (Herbivory in the non-avian Dinosauria)
1993 BA Natural Sciences (Zoology), First Class (Hons)
Prizes: Research Scholarship (1993-6). Senior Scholarship (1993), Tripos Prize (1993), Science Essay Prize (1991)
2012 - Merit Researcher (Band 2), Dept of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum
2008 - 2012 Researcher (Band 3), Dept of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum
2006 - 2008 Researcher (Band 4), Dept of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum
2003 - 2006 Researcher (Band 5), Dept of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum
1999 - 2003 Departmental Lecturer in Animal Diversity, Dept of Zoology, University
1996 - 2000 Research Fellow, Trinity College and Dept of Earth Sciences,
University of Cambridge
2014-2016 Honorary Research Professor, Evolutionary Studies Institute, University
of the Witwatersrand.
2010-2013 Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and
2001 - 2003 Honorary Research Associate, University Museum of Natural History,
University of Oxford
2001 - 2003 Lecturer in Biological Sciences, Magdalene College, University of Oxford
2000 - 2003 Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College, University of Oxford
2006 Hodson Award of the Palaeontological Association
2011 Bicentennial Medal of the Linnean Society of London
2014- Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Evolutionary Studies Institute, University
of the Witwatersrand.
2013– President, The Palaeontographical Society
2013– Member-at-Large, Executive Committee, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
2011–2013 Vice-President, The Palaeontographical Society
2010–2013 Co-Chair, Publications Committee, Society of Vertebrate
2009–2012 Programme Committee, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
2007–2010 Chair, Richard Estes Memorial Prize Committee, Society of Vertebrate
2007–2008 Morris Skinner Prize Committee, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
2006–2011 Co-Secretary, Palaeontographical Society
2005–2008 A.S. Romer Prize Committee, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
2003– Council Member, The Palaeontographical Society
2014 – Editorial Board, Nature Scientific Reports
2014– Editorial Board, Biological Reviews
2010–2014 Co-Senior Editor, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
2009– Editorial Board, Biology Letters
2008–2011 Editor, Palaeontology
2006– Associate Editor, Geological Magazine
2005 – Associate Editor, Palaeoworld
2002–2006 Editor, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology
2002– Associate editor, Journal of Systematic Palaeontology
2002–2007 Consultant editor, McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia and Yearbook of Science
Membership of Academic Societies
2011– Head of Division, Fossil Vertebrates, Anthropology and Micropalaeontology
2007–2011 Postgraduate Coordinator, Dept. of Palaeontology
2006–2007 Co-Chair, NHM Sexual Orientation Forum
2004– Ground Floor Fire Marshall, Dept. of Palaeontology
Exhibition Development and Consultancy
2012 Treasures Gallery (Permanent Gallery)
2011 Age of the Dinosaur (Touring Exhibition)
2006 Dino Jaws (Touring Exhibition)
2005 Diplodocus: celebrating 100 years at the museum (Temporary Exhibition)
2004 Richard Owen: the man who invented dinosaurs (Temporary Exhibition)
My major research interests are centred on the evolutionary palaeobiology of dinosaurs and other extinct amniotes. In addition, I am involved in projects to investigate macroevolutionary mechanisms, the evolution of Mesozoic terrestrial ecosystems and potential biases in the fossil record. Research is concentrated in three main areas:
2013 £11,850 from the Royal Society for joint fieldwork project in South Africa entitled
“Dinosaur diversification across the end-Triassic extinction event”
2013 £341,086 from NERC for a project on the links between extinct turtle diversity and
palaeoclimate entitled “Global and long-term effects of environmental change: a
turtle’s eye view” (Principal Investigator)
2009 £230,289 from NERC for research into dinosaur quadrupedality (Principal
2008 £62,576 from NERC for research into fossil archosaur vertebral pneumaticity
2007 £60,163 from NERC for research into reptile and bird inner ears (Principal
2007 £2,125 from the Royal Society for an exchange visitor (Jason Head) from Canada.
2006 AU$40,306 from ARC (Australian Research Council) for research into Australian and
British Lower Cretaceous reptiles (Co-investigator).
2005 £101,661 from NERC for research into dinosaur-plant co-evolution (Principal
2005 £2,170 from The Royal Society for research in The People’s Republic of China.
2004 £1,180 from The Royal Society for an exchange visitor (Fernando Novas) from
2004 £1,430 from The Royal Society for a conference trip to China.
2003 £13,500 from National Geographical Society for fieldwork in the Middle Jurassic of
2002 £30,835 from NERC for the application of Geographical Information System (GIS)
techniques to vertebrate palaeontology (Co- Principal Investigator).
2002 £1,810 from The Royal Society for research in the People’s Republic of China.
2000 £2,075 from The Royal Society for research in the People’s Republic of China.
2000 £1,400 from The Jurassic Foundation for research in the People's Republic of China
(with P. Upchurch).
1999 £3,000 from Trinity College, University of Cambridge, for research in Japan.
1996 £3,000 from The Dinosaur Society for research in the People's Republic of China
(with P. Upchurch).
In addition, I have received numerous travel and research grants under £1, 000 from The Royal Society, Trinity College (University of Cambridge), The Cambridge Philosophical Society, The Natural History Museum and the University of Oxford.
My research group includes a mixture of post-doctoral and post-graduate researchers, who work on dinosaurs and other extinct reptiles and amphibians. This work is primarily supported by external grants (from NERC), together with some internal Natural History Museum and university funding.
Current group members are engaged in projects on:
Dr David B. Nicholson (NERC-funded Post-Doctoral Research Assistant)
David’s work aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of chelonian (turtle, tortoise and terrapin) palaeobiodiversity and distribution through time. Time series analyses of these patterns, along with statistical methods to control for biases relating to sampling and preservation of the fossil record, will be used to elucidate any potential connections between significant events in chelonian evolutionary history and major episodes of global environmental change. With a long history beginning in the Triassic over 220 million years ago, and a high preservation potential leading to their exceptionally common occurrence as fossils, chelonians are an excellent model system for studying the biotic response of cold-blooded vertebrates to long-term environmental change. It is hoped that this work will help inform conservation efforts of chelonians in the face of the modern biodiversity crisis.
Dr Charlotte Brassey (Natural History Museum-funded Post-Doctoral Research Assistant)
My major research themes are the functional morphology and hind limb biomechanics of extant and extinct amniotes. I have a strong interest in modelling of the musculoskeletal system using finite element analysis (FEA) and multibody dynamic analysis (MDA). Additionally, my work involves the estimation of body mass and segment inertial properties in extinct species using 3D volumetric techniques. More broadly, my research highlights the importance of sensitivity analyses and the application of appropriate modelling techniques in the field of vertebrate palaeontology and physical anthropology. I am currently working on a project that involves 3D and CT scanning of various dinosaur specimens in the Museum collections. We hope to gain new insights into feeding, locomotion and life-history by carrying out soft tissue reconstructions, biomechanical analyses and histological analysis.
Matthew Baron (NERC CASE-funded PhD student)
Matthew Baron (2013–) is working on a NERC CASE funded project at the Natural History Museum/University of Cambridge (Christ’s College) where he is co-supervised by Dr David Norman.
His work concerns the ornithischian dinosaurs, particularly their origin and the evolution of their unique anatomy.
The project involves the study of specimens of basal ornithischians and basal dinosauromorphs from the Triassic and Early Jurassic, from localities around the world (email@example.com).
Sam Bennett (Self-funding PhD student)
Sam (2010–) is based at the Natural History Museum and Royal Holloway, University of London (co-supervised by Prof. Margaret Collinson). He is interested in Mesozoic marine reptiles and his area of study is ichthyosaurs. His project uses morphometric techniques such as Principal Components Analysis and Reduced Major Axis Regression to analyse changes in sizes and shape. Using this, a method of estimating relative age of individual specimens, regardless of size, is being established (Sam.Bennett.firstname.lastname@example.org).
David Button (NERC CASE-funded PhD student)
David (2011–) is working on a NERC CASE funded project at the Natural History Museum/University of Bristol where he is co-supervised by Dr Emily Rayfield. He is utilising finite-element modeling and other techniques to investigate the functional range present between the crania of different sauropod taxa and the implications of this upon their feeding behaviour and ecology.
These results will be combined with a review of cranial arthrology of the Sauropodomorpha in consideration of the evolution of feeding-related characters within the clade (email@example.com).
Fiona Jones (Graduate Intern)
Fiona (2013–) is an intern at the Museum, having just completed a degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford. For her final year research project she examined the evolutionary relationships between members of Trigonotarbida, an extinct order of spider-like arachnids. This involved using the SPIERS software suite to create three-dimensional virtual models of trigonotarbid fossil specimens, and using PAUP to perform a morphology-based cladistic analysis of the group.
She is currently working on an anatomical description of an ankylosaur braincase, as well as assisting other members of the group with their research.
Collin VanBuren (Gates Foundation-funded PhD student)
Collin (2013–) is split between the Museum and the University of Cambridge, where he is co-supervised by Dr. David Norman. He is interested in functional morphology, comparative phylogenetic methods, and conservation palaeobiology.
His work will examine the effects of climate change on amphibians using a variety of techniques, including niche modelling and diversity curves through time, to understand how factors related to climate change have affected past amphibian communities throughout the clade’s evolutionary history (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Amy Waterson (NERC funded PhD student)
Amy (2013–) is working on a NERC-funded project based at the Natural History Museum/University of Bristol where she is co-supervised by Dr Daniela Schmidt and Prof. Paul Valdes. She is interested in the long-term response of biota to global environmental change.
Her research aims to provide a deep-time perspective on potential links between climate and chelonian diversity and distribution during the Mesozoic and Paleogene. She is applying niche modelling techniques, analysing palaeoclimate proxy data and interrogating general circulation model outputs in order to elucidate the environmental constraints on chelonian diversity dynamics over extended evolutionary timescales (email@example.com).
Simon Wills (Self-funding PhD student)
Simon (2012–) is based at the Museum and co-supervised by Dr Charlie Underwood at Birkbeck,University of London. His work concerns the investigation of microvertebrate archosaur faunas from a number of sites in the British Jurassic and Cretaceous. Simon is focussing on the Middle Jurassic sites of Hornsleasow (Gloucestershire), Watton (Dorset), Kirtlington and Woodeaton (Oxfordshire), and the Lower Cretaceous of the Isle of Purbeck (Dorset), concentrating on the dinosaur fauna from these sites that remain largely undescribed.
He is interested in the use of isolated dinosaur teeth for taxonomic discrimination purposes (including the potential application of Geographical Information Systems) and palaeoenvironmental and palaeoecological studies. Simon retains an interest in Historical Geology with a recent biographical publication on the palaeontological research of John Whitaker Hulke.
Former post-doctoral researchers
Dr Richard J. Butler (2006–2009) was involved in two concurrent NERC-funded projects at the Natural History Museum. The first was a two-year project investigating plant-dinosaur interactions during the Cretaceous Period (Butler et al., 2009a, b, 2010). Richard was Researcher Co-Investigator on a second short project that used CT-scanning to examine postcranial skeletal pneumaticity in Triassic archosaurs (Butler et al., 2009c). Following post-doctoral work in Germany Richard is now a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dr Susannah C. R. Maidment (2009–2011) was a Researcher Co-Investigator on a NERC-funded project that aimed to investigate the evolution of quadrupedality in ornithischian dinosaurs. This used a variety of approaches including limb-bone scaling, muscle moment arm reconstruction, and comparative osteology and myology (Maidment & Barrett, 2011, 2012; Bates et al., 2012; Maidment et al., 2012). Susie is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at Imperial College London (email@example.com).
Prof Emily J. Rayfield (2002) worked on a NERC-funded project using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to investigate the validity of Triassic vertebrate biostratigraphic hypotheses (Rayfield et al., 2005, 2009). This work was carried out while both Paul and Emily were based at the University of Oxford. Emily is now a Professor in Palaeontology at the University of Bristol (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dr Stig Walsh (2007–2008) carried out a NERC-funded project using CT-scanning to document the morphology of diapsid inner ears, and used this information to create a model for predicting ear function in extinct reptiles and birds (Walsh et al., 2009). Stig is now Senior Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the National Museums of Scotland (email@example.com).
Past PhD students
Dr Jérémy Anquetin was funded by a Natural History Museum Postgraduate Studentship and co-supervised by Prof. Susan E. Evans (UCL). His project (2005–2009) was based on the preparation and description of a new Middle Jurassic turtle from the Isle of Skye that has significant implications for early turtle evolution. After a post-doctoral fellowship at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris and is now a researcher in the Section d'archéologie et paléontologie, Office de la culture, République et Canton du Jura, Porrentruy, Switzerland (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dr Roger B. J. Benson worked at the Natural History Museum/University of Cambridge (2005–2008), co-supervised by Dr David Norman (NERC CASE). His project was centred on revision of the historically important British dinosaur Megalosaurus and other Jurassic theropods. Following a Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, and a post-doc at UCL, Roger is now a Lecturer in Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford (Roger.Benson@earth.ox.ac.uk).
Dr Deborah Linton (2004–2010) was based at the Natural History Museum/UCL, co-supervised by Dr Paul Upchurch (NERC CASE). Debi’s project involved detailed measurements of ornithischian limb bones to look at evolutionary trends within the group, using a morphometric approach. She retrained as a museum science educator in New York and is now a STEM coordinator for Reading Educational Authority.
Dr Philip Mannion worked on the sauropod fossil record (2006–2009), assessing the diversity of the group through time and the potential impact of environmental and collecting biases on their observed diversity. He was a Natural History Museum/UCL student, co-supervised by Dr Paul Upchurch. Phil is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at Imperial College London (email@example.com).
Dr Jolyon ('Joe') C. Parish carried out his research at the University of Oxford (NERC-funded) on the phylogeny of ankylosaurian dinosaurs (2000–2005). He is currently a conservation volunteer in Wales and has just completed a major new book on the dodo and the solitaire published by Indiana University Press.
Dr Vince Williams completed his PhD on the implications of dental microwear for understanding hadrosaur jaw mechanics (2005–2010). He was co-supervised with Prof. Mark Purnell at the University of Leicester (self-funding). Vince is currently a schoolteacher (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dr Mark Young studied the morphometrics and evolution of metriorhychoid crocodiles and sauropod dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum/University of Bristol (2006–2009) and was co-supervised by Dr Emily Rayfield (NERC CASE). Mark holds honorary research positions at the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh (email@example.com).
Former MSc students
Tom Ford (2000–2001). MSc in Integrative Biosciences, University of Oxford. “Orbit size and its predictive value in the assessment of behaviour in birds and dinosaurs”.
Craig Fraser (2011). MSc in Systematics and Taxonomy, Natural History Museum/Imperial College London. “A phylogeny of the ceratopsian dinosaurs (Ornithischia).”
Robert Goodall (2009). MSc in Systematics and Taxonomy, Natural History Museum/Imperial College London. “A consensus phylogeny of the iguanodontian dinosaurs”.
Julia Heathcote (2003). MRes in Systematics and Taxonomy, Natural History Museum/Imperial College London. “Estimating the completeness and congruence of the dinosaur fossil record: phylogenetic approaches”. Julia is now a college biology teacher.
Dr Rudyard W. Sadleir (2001–2004). MSc by research, University of Oxford (Rhodes Trust). “Anatomy and systematics of the Oxford theropod Eustreptospondylus oxoniensis”. This work was published as a major monograph (Sadleir et al., 2008) and Rudd is currently an Assistant Professor at Saint Xavier University, Illinois (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Richard Thompson (2009). MSc in Systematics and Taxonomy, Natural History Museum/Imperial College London. “A new phylogeny of the ankylosaurian dinosaurs”. Richard is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge (email@example.com).
For all publications see full bibliography (PDF 488.0 KB)
Young, M. T., Rayfield, E. J., Holliday, C. M., Witmer, L. M., Button, D. J., Upchurch, P. & Barrett, P. M.( 2012 ) Cranial biomechanics of Diplodocus (Dinosauria, Sauropoda): testing hypotheses of feeding behaviour in an extinct megaherbivore Naturwissenschaften 99 : 637–643 .