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Professor Emily J RayfieldB.A.(Oxon.), Ph.D.(Cantab.)

Professor of Palaeobiology

Emily Rayfield

Professor Emily J RayfieldB.A.(Oxon.), Ph.D.(Cantab.)

Professor of Palaeobiology

Member of

Research interests

My research focuses on the function of living and extinct animals. In my lab we use biomechanical analysis, including the engineering technique finite element analysis (FEA), to deduce how skeletons function. From this we can infer and estimate the function of living and extinct animals and explore the evolution of form and function, for example, in response to major environmental change and across evolutionary transitions. Current research projects focus on non-avian dinosaurs and birds, the water-to-land transition and the origin of mammals amongst other topics. Research is not exclusively focused on vertebrates. I have been or am involved in projects exploring the function of hard tissues in sponges, coralline algae, foraminiferans, bivalves and scaphopods - particularly exploring the resilience of the skeleton in acidifying oceans.

To achieve this aim we use computed tomography (CT) scanning including our in-house Nikon XT H 225 ST scanner, digital reconstruction and computational biomechanical methods (FEA, MDA), geometric morphometric methods, alongside material property testing and experimental strain gauge analysis in order to validate our computational models. 

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Postal address:
Life Sciences Building
24 Tyndall Avenue
Bristol
United Kingdom

Selected research outputs

  1. Published

    The shapes of bird beaks are highly controlled by nondietary factors

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Published
  3. Published
  4. Published

    A virtual world of paleontology

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Published
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  10. Published

    Cranial design and function in a large theropod dinosaur

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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