Collaborative Projects

Geometric morphometric analyses of mammalian carnivore skulls
Collaboration continues with Anjali Goswami (University Colledge London) and Nick Milne (Unibersity of Western Australia) on relationships between form and function in mammalian carnivore crania.

Reconstruction of human mandibles
We are working with Prof Jose Braga & Karen Moreno (Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France) on the reconstruction of fossil human mandibles.

Validation for FEMs of mammalian bone & shark cartilage
Collaboration is underway with Prof William Walsh (Surgical & Orthopaedics Research Laboratories, Prince of Wales Hospital & UNSW, Sydney) on validation of models generated for bovine ribs & shark jaws.

FEA of terror bird crania
We are collaborating with Federico Degrange, Claudia Tambussi (Museo de La Plata, Argentia) and the Witmer Lab (Ohio University, USA) in the reconstruction of terror bird feeding behaviour - see FEM of Andalgalornis (right)

Comparison of cranial mechanics in marsupial and placental sabretooths
We are collaborating with the Witmer Lab at Ohio University on the reconstruction of and generation of FEMs for the sabretoothed mammalian carnivores Thylacosmilus atrox and Smilodon fatalis - to be compared with FEMs of extant conical toothed cats such as the leopard (right). 

FEA of insect genitalia

With Nikolai Tatarnic -
I am a post-doctoral fellow in the Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at UNSW, studying the role of sexual conflict in evolution. As part of my research I am studying coevolution between males and females in the traumatically inseminating plant bug genus Coridromius. In traumatic insemination, males stab females with hypodermic genitalia and inseminate directly into the body cavity of females. In response to the costs of such violent mating, females of many species have evolved various internal and external structures, collectively called ‘paragenitalia’, to restrict damage and reduce the risk of infection during mating. We have recently shown than males and females are engaged in a coevolutionary chase, with changes in male genital morphology matched by paragenital changes in females (Tatarnic and Cassis 2010). However, the functional significance – particularly of changes in male genital form – remains unknown. I am presently collaborating with the Wroe lab to test the hypothesis that changes in male genital form represent adaptations towards a stronger, more efficient stabbing organ in response to cuticular thickening at the site of insemination in females. To do this we are generating Finite Element models based on micro-CT images of male genitalia. This research is funded by the Australia & Pacific Science Foundation.

Reconstruction of ratite brain endocasts
We are currently working with Trevor Worthy and Ken Ashwell (UNSW) on the reconstruction of brain endocasts in a wide range of living and extinct ratite species, including moa and extinct emu taxa.