Tetrapods in Nature!

November 25, 2020

Big news! Blake's application of functional adaptive landscapes to early tetrapod humeri was published today in NATURE! The research shows that the early tetrapod 'L-shaped' humerus provided some functional benefit for moving on land - but that these early land explorers were probably not very good at it. Evolution of additional traits in crown tetrapods resulted in dramtic functional improvements for effective limb-based locomotion and diversification into terrestrial habitats.

Dickson, B.V., Clack, J.A., Smithson, T.R. Pierce, S.E. ...

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National Fossil Day 2020!

October 22, 2020

Like many things, National Fossil Day went virtual this year! The Harvard Museum of Natural History put together a wonderful, interactive public outreach event - with all talks avaialbe via YouTube: The MCZ's Vertebrate and Invertebrate Paleontology Collections participated and everyone did amazing!

A big shout you to Pierce Lab postdocs Katrina Jones and Meg Whitney who talked...

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Dr. Zachary Morris!

August 18, 2020

Big congratuations to Zach Morris on a successful defense and becoming a Dr. of crocodiles! Wishing Dr. Morris all the best with the next step in his career - being a NSF GEO Postdoctoral Fellow!

zach defense

Supporting Anti-Racism

June 3, 2020

The Pierce Lab stands firmly with the Statement on Anti-Racism published by the Paleontological Society. The lab supports #BlackLivesMatter. We are committed to creating a more inclusive environment and to promoting diversity within the sciences and paleontology.

The Paleontological Society Statement on Anti-Racism

The Paleontological Society affirms that Black lives matter. Anti-Black violence—including the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police, the...

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Salamanders strut their stuff

May 27, 2020

Happy that this paper is out! Exhaustive EMG study documents forelimb, hindlimb, and epaxial muscle activity during walking in the fire salamander, Salamandra salamandra. The data for this paper were collected by Stephanie while she was at the RVC and the project was funded by the  Natural Environment Research Council, UK.

Pierce, S. E., Lamas, L. P., Pelligand, L., Schilling, N., & Hutchinson, J. R. (2020)....

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Phil develops LAB3D

May 11, 2020

The unexpected shift to remote leaning this spring resulted in some serious ingenuity. Stephanie and Phil had to transition OEB 126 Vertebrate Evolution to an online format - but this had serious consequences for the hands-on specimen-based labs. Fear not! Phil jumped into action. Using skills honed as a Bok Center Learning Lab Graduate Fellow, Phil developed an interactive website to view and intract with 3D specimens in real time. The platform, called LAB3D, was an instant success with the students and allowed OEB 126 to achieve its learning objectives!

To learn more...

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Dinosaurs were aquatic!

April 29, 2020

Spinosaurus has a giant tail fin! And, it used it to swim! Long awaited paper published today in Nature describes new fossil material that shows the tail of the large-bodied theropod Spinosaurus was dorsoventrally expanded into a paddle-like appendage. Working in collaboration with Nizar Ibrahim - spinosaur extraordinaire - Stephanie and MCZ colleague George Lauder use biorobotics to show that the tail of Spinosaurus could produce forward thrust more similar to modern aquatic tetrapods (e.g. crocodiles and salamanders) than other dinosaurs....

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Dr. Blake Dickson :-)

April 22, 2020

There's a doctor in the house! So happy and proud to announce that Blake Dickson successfully (remotely) defended his PhD disseration! Blake learned and applied some serious quantitative methods in his thesis: CT scanning, 3D modeling, finite element analysis, pseudolandmark geometric morphometrics, evolutionary modeling, performance surfaces, and adaptive lanscapes. Phew!

Many thanks to the committee: Jim Hanken, George Lauder, and David Polly.


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