Recent News & Forthcoming Events
Dr. Vivian Allen and Prof. John Hutchinson have published a paper in Nature that shows how dinosaur body shapes transformed on the evolutionary lineage to birds, using 3D computer models of 17 species. They used this technique to reveal that the enlarged forelimbs, rather than the reduced tail as had been previously thought, shifted the bodyâ€™s centre of mass forwards and caused the posture to become more crouched; a condition modern birds retain. See Evolution of Dinosaur Body Shape and Locomotion.
Prof. Hutchinson's team is also holding a workshop on musculoskeletal modelling techniques at the RVC- see here for more information and how to attend.
A team of researchers including lab members Stephanie Pierce, John Hutchinson and Julia Molnar have substantially revised our view of how the backbone evolved in the first land animals, published in Nature. Read RVC's story here and blog here.
Alan Wilson has been awarded a prestigious European Research Council Advanced Grant of €3million for a five year study of large African carnivores and their prey. See LOCATE press release and web page for more details.
Tom Witte, Alan Wilson and Thilo Pfau have been awarded Â£223,000 for a study with the British Racing School to investigate optimal riding style during horse racing, to improve jockey training and horse welfare.
The Structure & Motion Laboratory is part of the Lifestyle Research Programme at the Royal Veterinary College. The research team includes vets, biologists, palaeontologists, engineers and computer scientists, supported by technical and administrative staff. Our research base is a modern 46m x 17m laboratory at the Collegeâ€™s Hertfordshire campus housing state-of-the-art facilities for studying the biomechanics of locomotion; much experimental research is also undertaken in the field. The head of the lab is Professor Alan Wilson.
Structure and Motion
Animals, including ourselves, need to move to feed, to avoid becoming food, to find a mate, to compete and to indulge in complex behaviours such as play. Our goal is to answer fundamental questions relating to how and why animals are structured and move as they do, how movement is controlled and the limits to performance. We work with a wide range of animals, from horses, dogs and humans to dinosaurs, elephants, cheetahs, insects, birds and squirrels...
A wide range of science and technology
One of the strengths of this team is the wide range of scientific disciplines represented. Questions about animal movement can be addressed from many different perspectives using, for instance, high-speed cameras, ultrasound, force plates and computer models. Technical expertise, together with our extensive facilities, also enables us to develop new technology to measure and analyse movement in ways not previously possible. This range of approaches is complemented by an equally wide range of investigations, from looking at tiny muscle fibre bundle contractions to investigating group dynamics in herds of animals and even phylogenetic analyses of broad evolutionary lineages. This makes the SML a very dynamic, exciting and productive research environment.