My current research

Short notes on my work:

Bird and dinosaur claws

I'm currently working hard to finish my PhD which focusses on the functional morphology of bird claws. The bulk of the work is fairly straight forward; looking at how form and function are matched in this bird group, or that bird group. Birds can be grouped according to size, functional similarities (e.g. ground forager, tree forager, predator etc.) or into groups of  'closely related species'. Comparing differences in claw shape between such groups and contrasting this to the amount of similarity within groups allows me to pick whether size, function or relatedness is the more important influence.


An interesting line of research that this leads to is the inferences that can be made about fossil claws, and the habits of the animal that bore them. Where I can show that some aspect of claw shape reliably indicates a certain function or behaviour in modern birds (and size and relatedness appear to hold little sway) inferences can be made about how dinosaurs used their foot claws based on their shape.