PhD projects

Cranial anatomy, intraspecific variation and phylogeny of Australia’s Plio-Pleistocene diprotodontids

Themes include: anatomy, palaeobiology, phylogenetics

Summary: This project will examine the unique and amazing cranial anatomy of Australia’s largest marsupials. Skulls from a number of genera, including Diprotodon, Eowenia, Euryzygoma and Zygomaturus from the Plio-Pleistocene of Australia will be examined for functional morphological information, inter and intraspecific variation and phylogenetic analyses. This study will have important implications for understanding the palaeobiology of the world’s largest marsupials and understanding the reasons for their extinctions.

Supervisor: Dr Julien Louys, Dr Gilbert Price


Australian mammal communities through geological time

Themes include: palaeoecology, synecology, mammalogy

Summary: Understanding how mammal communities are constructed, how they react to climate change and how they have changed over geological time is critical to accurately predicting how they might respond to future climate change and human habitat alteration. This project will seek to quantify what makes Australian communities form and function. It will examine whether any similarities exist between Australian communities and communities from similar environments in other parts of the world. Finally, this project will quantify the changes which communities have undergone in response to previous climatic changes as preserved in the fossil record, allowing us to develop models of predicted future change.

Supervisors: Dr Julien Louys, Dr Kenny Travouillon


 Extending our understanding of late Pleistocene megafaunal communities of eastern Australia

Themes include: stratigraphy, sedimentology, palaeoecology, geochronology.

Supervisors: Dr Gilbert Price.


Determining the timing of extinction of Australia’s Pleistocene megafauna.

Themes include: geochronology, geochemistry.
Supervisors: Dr Gilbert Price, Professor Jian-xin Zhao, Professor Gregg Webb.


Extending the application of using U-series to date museum fossils specimens.

Themes include: geochronology, geochemistry.

Supervisors: Dr Gilbert Price, Professor Jian-xin Zhao.


Palaeoecology of megafauna fossil sites of northern Australia

Themes include: palaeoecology, palaeobiology, geochronology

Supervisors: Dr Gilbert Price, Dr Julien Louys, Dr Kenny Travouillon.


Late Pleistocene palaeoclimate reconstruction based on speleothems from the Mt Etna region, central eastern Queensland

Themes include: palaeoclimatology, geochemistry, geochronology

Supervisors: Dr Gilbert Price, Professor Jian-xin Zhao, Professor Gregg Webb, Dr Kevin Welsh


The evolution of marsupial locomotion

Themes include: taxonomy, morphology, palaeoecology

Summary: Kangaroos and bandicoots are the only two marsupial groups which show syndactyly (fusing of digits) in their hind feet. This trait correlates with the similarity in the locomotion of both kangaroos and bandicoots. New postcranial remains from fossil bandicoots have been recovered from Riversleigh World Heritage Area, which may provide some insight on how locomotion in bandicoots and kangaroos may have evolved. This project will aim at comparing the fossil remains to modern bandicoots and kangaroos to establish whether these fossil bandicoots had already evolved the modern locomotion or not.

Supervisor : Dr Kenny Travouillon