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Dr Emily Rayfield
Dr Emily Rayfield
Reader in Palaeobiology
Area of research
How skeletal mechanics influences morphological evolution and the relationship between form and function in hard tissues
My research focuses on how skeletal mechanics influences morphological evolution and the relationship between form and function in hard tissues - primarily, but not exclusively, the vertebrate skull.
My research uses the engineering technique finite element analysis (FEA) to deduce skeletal stress and strain during function. In particular I am interested in how FEA can inform on functional behaviour in individual taxa and elucidate functional ecology and morphological changes across evolutionary transitions such as the origin of birds and mammals. Such studies are constrained by my research on FE-validation in birds, testing how accurately our FE-models approach reality.
My group takes advantage of our facilities in tomography reconstruction, FEA software, histological thin-section preparation and strain gauge analysis.
I am responsible for the M-Level courses EASC M0024 Biomechanics and Functional Morphology, and M0036 Vertebrate Palaeobiology and Evolution, available to all single and joint honours students and to students on the MSc Palaeobiology course.
I am unit organiser for the Evolution of Earth and Life subunit of the Level 1 Geology 1 unit EASC 10001 and also teach on the first year Arran field trip during the Easter vacation.
I supervise a number of MSc Palaeobiology research projects each year, and teach occasional lectures on other taught courses.
- skeletal mechanics
- finite element analysis
School of Earth Sciences
Earth Sciences staff
- Caromel, AGM, Schmidt, DN, Phillips, JC & Rayfield, EJ 2014, Hydrodynamic constraints on the evolution and ecology of planktic foraminifera. Marine Micropaleontology.
- Purnell, MA, Crumpton, N, Gill, PG, Jones, G & Rayfield, EJ 2013, Within-guild dietary discrimination from 3-D textural analysis of tooth microwear in insectivorous mammals.. Journal of Zoology.
- Stubbs, TL, Stephanie, Pierce, E, Rayfield, EJ & Anderson, PSL 2013, Morphological and biomechanical disparity of crocodile-line archosaurs following the end-Triassic extinction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, vol 280.
- Lautenschlager, S, Witmer, LM, Altangerel, P & Rayfield, EJ 2013, Edentulism, beaks and biomechanical innovations in the early evolution of theropod dinosaurs.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
- Cuff, AR & Rayfield, EJ 2013, Feeding mechanics in spinosaurid theropods and extant crocodilians. PLoS ONE, vol 8.
- Schmidt, DN, Rayfield, EJ, Cocking, A & Marone, F 2013, Linking evolution and development: synchrotron radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy of planktic foraminifers.. Palaeontology, vol 56., pp. 741-749
- Close, RA & Rayfield, EJ 2012, Functional Morphometric Analysis of the Furcula in Mesozoic Birds. Plos one, vol 7., pp. -
- Panagiotopoulou, O, Wilshin, S, Rayfield, E, Shefelbine, S & Hutchinson, J 2012, What makes an accurate and reliable subject-specific finite element model? A case study of an elephant femur. Journal of the Royal Society Interface., pp. 351 - 361
- Anderson, P, Bright, J, Gill, P, Palmer, C & Rayfield, E 2012, Models in palaeontological functional analysis. Biology Letters, vol 8., pp. 119 - 122
- Birn-Jeffery, AV, Miller, CE, Naish, D, Rayfield, EJ & Hone, DWE 2012, Pedal Claw Curvature in Birds, Lizards and Mesozoic Dinosaurs - Complicated Categories and Compensating for Mass-Specific and Phylogenetic Control. PLoS ONE, vol 7.
Dr Rayfield currently teaches 6 courses:
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