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Stephanie Pierce

Name: Dr Stephanie Pierce
BSc Msc PhD
Stephanie Pierce
Post: Temporary Lecturer in Evolutionary Biomechanics
Department: Comparative Biomedical Sciences
Email: spierce@rvc.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1707 66 6485
Address: Structure & Motion Laboratory
The Royal Veterinary College
Hawkshead Lane
North Mymms
Herts AL9 7TA
Research Group(s):
Research Centre(s):

Stephanie is a Temporary Lecturer in Evolutionary Biomechanics examining the locomotion potential of early tetrapods.

Stephanie also holds a Visiting Assistant Professorship at Havard University in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology


Stephanie graduated with an Honours in Palaeontology BSc degree from the University of Alberta, Canada. Directly following this, she pursued an MSc degree by research in Systematics and Evolution at the University of Alberta studying the anatomy and evolutionary relationships of extinct marine lizards. Her love of vertebrate evolution brought her to the University of Bristol, UK where she embarked on a PhD degree which focused on assessing the interplay between skull shape variation and biomechanical performance in extant and extinct crocodiles.


Stephanie's scholarly interests are focused on assessing the link between form and function of the vertebrate skeletal system – especially with respect to muscle/skeletal interactions during feeding and locomotor behaviours in modern and extinct animals. 

Stephanie has primarily been working on unravelling the locomotion potential of the earliest limbed vertebrates in collaboration with Prof Jenny Clack in the Museum of Zoology, Cambridge and Dr John Hutchinson at the Royal Veterinary College. Together they are virtually reconstructing the anatomy and locomotion of early tetrapods (e.g. Acanthostega, Ichthyostega) and modern analogues (e.g. seals, crocodiles) to infer how axial and appendicular musculoskeletal function evolved with the transition from water to land.

Other projects underway with various collaborators include such things as: scaling crocodile jaw muscles and skull stress/strain through ontogeny and across species; virtually reconstructing the brain, sinuses and vestibular system of extinct crocodiles and plesiosaurs; examining the relationship between lower jaw shape, function and disparity through the crocodile lineage; mapping developmental morpho/skeletogenesis in crocodiles; and uncovering how evolutionary changes in vertebral shape affect biomechanical performance.



Current courses:

Evolution Module Leader -  Veterinary Gateway Programme (Term 1)

Past courses:

2012-2013: Introduction to walking, running and animal scaling  - Comparative Animal Locomotion BSc yr3

2012-2013: Introduction to evolution - BVetMed yr1

Selected Publications

Palaeo/Zoology Publications

Technical Publications


Educational Publications

Academia.edu Profile 

ResearchGate Profile

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