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The Feeding Ecology of Mesozoic Mammals: A Biomechanical Approach

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Mammals first originated during the Mesozoic but are often overlooked next to their dinosaur contemporaries. As such, much is still unknown about Mesozoic mammals, despite two-thirds of their evolutionary history taking place during this era. Here I explore one of the most important ecological traits of mammals, their diet, from a functional standpoint. To do this, I use a combination of geometric morphometrics and biomechanical techniques, including mechanical advantage and finite element analysis. I pose two main questions: 1) what can the functional performance of mammalian jaws tell us about their diets? And 2) can we use this information to infer the diets of our earliest mammalian ancestors?

This talk is part of the Sedgwick Club talks series.

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