FUNCTIONAL MORPHOLOGY AND PALEOECOLOGY

Early vertebrates underwent an incredible evolutionary radiation not only in terms of taxonomic diversity, but also in terms of morphological disparity. The study of the functional diversity of early vertebrate exoskeleton by means of analytical and computational techniques is one of our main lines of investigation. These techniques include the study and use of morphometrics, microwear analysis, Finite Element Analysis, Computed Fluid Dynamics and Occlusal Fingerprint Analysis.

One of our main interests is to study the paleoecology of early vertebrates, in order to shed light on their lifestyle and hydrodynamics through different approaches. These approaches include a combination of flow control experiments in water and wind tunnels and virtual simulations by means of Computational Fluid Dynamics software. These allow us to assess the hydrodynamics of some of the earliest vertebrates. In the same way, actualistic approaches, including the establishment of the relationship between squamation and lifestyle in extant sharks or the study of different ecomorphological patterns in living aquatic vertebrates, are used to infer the ecology of extinct groups without close living relatives.

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