Research Area: Mammal functional morphology and evolution
I study how animals are shaped, how they function in the physical environment, and how they evolved to be shaped that way. I answer these questions by 3D imaging bones and muscles, using biomechanical models to test how these body parts respond to physical stress, and comparing differences in shape and performance between animals with different ecologies, behaviors, and evolutionary histories. My dissertation research is investigating whether the necks of animals like sheep, antelope, and deer have evolved to resist injury when these animals use their horns and antlers to fight each other for mates. I also dabble in research with other animals and body parts, including bat skulls, primate vertebrae, and fossil mammal teeth. My greatest ambition in life is to collect impact data from head-butting bighorn sheep, but I’ll settle for pygmy goats if I can be friends with them afterwards. I’m a contributing writer and managing editor for That’s Life Science.