Vertebrate and anthropology palaeobiology

Fosillised scales and teeth of the wealden fish

Fosillised scales and teeth of the wealden fish (Lepidotes) found inside the ribs of the dinosaur Baryonyx walkeri, Surrey © The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

We are investigating the role of vertebrate evolution in shaping the history of life on Earth, including the growth and development of early humans and modern people. 

Anthropology research

Our research ranges from the study and dating of early fossil humans such as the Neanderthals to the growth and development of modern people. We carry out fieldwork in the UK, Europe and in countries like Morocco, often in collaboration with archaeologists.

Cutmarks and carcass decay

Investigating if cutmarks can be used to determine the stage of carcass decay in ancient remains.

Human adaptation to diet and infectious disease

Investigating the impact of technological, demographic and social changes on human disease burdens since the origins of agriculture.

Pathways to Ancient Britain

Focussing on three chronological periods of human presence in the British Isles, from the earliest occupation through to extinction of the Neanderthals and the emergence of modern humans.

Dinosaur research

Dinosaurs research group

Working on the taxonomy and evolution of dinosaurs, their palaeobiology, the environments in which they are found and on the other animals that shared their world

Fossil fish research

Covering the evolution and development of key vertebrate structure, the systematics, evolution, palaeobiology and palaeobiogeography of North African fishes, and the evolutionary relationships of sharks.

Evolution and development of vertebrate structures

Focussing on the evolution and development of vertebrate teeth and the postcranial skeleton.

Quaternary mammals research

Tackling questions about the past. Why did the woolly mammoth go extinct? What environmental pressures caused dwarfing of elephants on Mediterranean islands in the past? What is the role of animal behaviour in the evolution of their anatomical adaptations? 

Evolution and taxonomy of Ice Age deer

Reconstructing the relationships between deer populations that lived in Europe between 2.5 million years ago and the present.

Extinction of large mammals in the Late Quaternary Ice Age

Researching the cause of megafaunal extinction in the last major extinction event.

Evolution and taxonomy of African elephants

There are two forms of African elephant, with different distributions and very marked physical differences.

Dwarfing of fossil mammals on Mediterranean islands

Studying the effect of dramatic environmental changes over the last 800,000 years on the origin and diversification of dwarf elephants and dwarf deer. 

The role of behaviour in evolution

Species behaviour has the potential to lead morphological evolution, by placing the organism under novel selection pressures.

Evolution and taxonomy of Asian elephants

Studying the morphology of Borneo elephants, an interesting population that is genetically distinct from all other living elephant populations.

Body size variation in Quaternary mammals

Investigating the causes of variation in mammal body size during the Quaternary period by comparing ice-age mammal species from the past 750,000 years in Britain.

Mammoth evolution as a model for species origins

Using fossil mammoth molars to study how animals adapted to a tropical climate evolved into the woolly mammoth of the late ice age.

Palaeontology collections

Discover the geographi and stratigraphic coverage of our vertebrate, invertebrate and plant fossil collections.

The Conservation Centre

The Museum's conservation staff provide primary care for objects across all Museum science departments.

Ancient DNA lab

Our highly specialised laboratory supports research on ancient DNA discoveries.

Opportunities

Undertake professional and postgraduate training in vertebrate and anthropology palaeobiology. 

Core research labs

Our research lab teams are available for complex on-site imaging and analysis of biological and geological samples.