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Dr Emily Rayfield
Dr Emily Rayfield
Reader in Palaeobiology
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Young, MT, Rayfield, EJ, Holliday, CM, Witmer, LM, Button, DJ, Upchurch, P & Barrett, PM 2012, Cranial biomechanics of Diplodocus (Dinosauria, Sauropoda): testing hypotheses of feeding behaviour in an extinct megaherbivore. Naturwissenschaften, vol 99., pp. 637-643
- Jones, D, Evans, AR, Siu, KKW, Rayfield, EJ & Donoghue, PCJ 2012, The sharpest tools in the box? Quantitative analysis of conodont element functional morphology. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, vol 279., pp. 2849-2854
- Anderson, P, Bright, J, Gill, P, Palmer, C & Rayfield, E 2012, Models in palaeontological functional analysis. Biology Letters, vol 8., pp. 119 - 122
- Lautenschlager, S, Rayfield, EJ, Altangerel, P, Lawrence & Witmer, M 2012, The endocranial anatomy of Therizinosauria and its implications for sensory and cognitive function. PLoS ONE, vol 7.
- Jones, D, Evans, AR, Rayfield, EJ, Siu, KKW & Donoghue, PCJ 2012, Testing microstructural adaptation in the earliest dental tools. Biology Letters, vol 8., pp. 952-955
- Birn-Jeffery, AV, Charlotte, Miller, E, Naish, D, Rayfield, EJ, David & Hone, WE 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 11 courses:
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