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Publications by Bristol Palaeontology Undergraduates

It is always exciting when undergraduates publish their first papers. Here are some examples of recent papers by undergraduates in Bristol, some based on their final-year projects, and others on summer internship projects. One particular summer internship programme that has yielded several publications is called At the Feet of the Dinosaurs, a study of Rhaetian bone beds around Bristol. In the list below, the undergraduates are named in bold.


Nordén, K.K., Faber, J., Babarović, F., Stubbs, T.L., Selly, T., Schiffbauer, J.D., Peharec Štefanić, P., Mayr, G., Smithwick, F.M., and Vinther, J. 2019. Melanosome diversity and convergence in the evolution of iridescent avian feathers-Implications for paleocolor reconstruction. Evolution online ahead of print (doi: 10.1111/evo.13641).


Cavicchini, I., Heyworth, H.C., Duffin, C.J., Hildebrandt, C., and Benton, M.J. 2018. A Rhaetian microvertebrate fauna from Stowey Quarry, Somerset, UK Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 129, 144-158 (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2018.02.001).

Cross, S.R.R., Ivanovski, N., Duffin, C.J., Hildebrandt, C., Parker, A., and Benton, M.J. 2018. Microvertebrates from the basal Rhaetian Bone Bed (latest Triassic) at Aust Cliff, S.W. England. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 129, 635-653 (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2018.06.002).

Keeble, E., Whiteside, D.I. and Benton, M.J. 2018. The terrestrial fauna of the Late Triassic Pant-y-ffynnon Quarry fissures, South Wales, UK and a new species of Clevosaurus (Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia). Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 129, 99-119 (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2017.11.001).

Nordén, K.K., Stubbs, T.L., Prieto-Márquez, A., and Benton, M.J. 2018. Multifaceted disparity approach reveals dinosaur herbivory flourished before the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. Paleobiology 44, 620-637 (doi: 10.1017/pab.2018.26).

Parry, L.A., Smithwick, F., Nordén, K.K., Saitta, E.T., Lozano-Fernandez, J., Tanner, A.R., Caron, J.-B., Edgecombe, G.D., Briggs, D.E.G., and Vinther, J. 2018. Soft-bodied fossils are not simply rotten carcasses - toward a holistic understanding of exceptional fossil preservation: exceptional fossil preservation is complex and involves the interplay of numerous biological and geological processes. BioEssays 40, 1700167 (doi: 10.1002/bies.201700167).

Smithwick, F.M. and Stubbs, T.L. 2018. Phanerozoic survivors: Actinopterygian evolution through the Permo-Triassic and Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction events. Evolution 72, 348-362 (doi: 10.1111/evo.13421).


Flannery Sutherland, J.T., Austen, P.A., Duffin, C.J., and Benton, M.J. 2017. Leptolepid otoliths from the Hauterivian (Lower Cretaceous) Lower Weald Clay (southern England). Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 128, 613-625 (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2017.05.001).

Landon, E.N.U., Duffin, C.J., Hildebrandt, C., Davies, T.G., Simms, M.J., and Benton, M.J. 2017. The first discovery of crinoids and cephalopod hooklets in the British Triassic. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 128, 360-373 (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2017.03.005).

Zhang, H.-W., Wang, Y., Janis, C.M., Goodall, R.H., and Purnell, M.A. 2017. An examination of feeding ecology in Pleistocene proboscideans from southern China (Sinomastodon, Stegodon, Elephas), by means of dental microwear texture analysis. Quaternary International 445, 60-70 (doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2016.07.011).


Caromel, A.G.M., Schmidt, D.N., Fletcher, I., and Rayfield, E.J. 2016. Morphological change during the ontogeny of the planktic Foraminifera. Journal of Micropalaeontology 35, 2-19 (doi: 10.1144/jmpaleo2014-017).

Lakin, R.J., Duffin, C.J., Hildebrandt, C., and Benton, M.J. 2016. The Rhaetian vertebrates of Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire, UK, a comparative study. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 127, 40-52 (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2016.02.010).

Mears, E.M., Rossi, V., MacDonald, E., Coleman, G., Davies, T.G., Arias-Riesgo, C., Hildebrandt, C., Thiel, H., Duffin, C.J., Whiteside, D.I., and Benton, M.J. 2016. The Rhaetian (Late Triassic) vertebrates of Hampstead Farm Quarry, Gloucestershire, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association, online before print (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2016.05.003).

Slater, T.S., Duffin, C.J., Hildebrandt, C., Davies, T.G., and Benton, M.J. 2016. Microvertebrates from multiple bone beds in the Rhaetian of the M4-M5 motorway junction, South Gloucestershire, U.K. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 127, 464-477 (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2016.07.001).


Allard, H., Carpenter, S.C., Duffin, C.J., and Benton, M.J. 2015. Microvertebrates from the classic Rhaetian bone beds of Manor Farm Quarry, near Aust (Bristol, UK). Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 126, 762-776 (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2015.09.002).

Hetherington, A.J., Sherratt, E., Ruta, M., Wilkinson, M., Deline, B., Donoghue, P.C.J. 2015. Do cladistic and morphometric data capture common patterns of morphological disparity? Palaeontology 58, 393-399 (doi: 10.1111/pala.12159).

Klein, C.G., Whiteside, D.I., Selles de Lucas, V., Viegas, P.A., and Benton, M.J. 2015. A distinctive Late Triassic microvertebrate fissure fauna and a new species of Clevosaurus (Lepidosauria: Rhynchocephalia) from Woodleaze Quarry, Gloucestershire, UK. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 126, 402-416 (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2015.05.003).

Korneisel, D., Gallois, R.W., Duffin, C.J., and Benton, M.J. 2015. Latest Triassic marine sharks and bony fishes from a bone bed preserved in a burrow system, from Devon, UK. Proceedings of he Geologists' Association 126, 130-142 (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2014.11.004).

Marek, R.D., Moon, B.C., Williams, M., and Benton, M.J. 2015. The skull and endocranium of a Lower Jurassic ichthyosaur based on digital reconstructions. Palaeontology 58, 732-745 (doi: 10.111/pala.12174).

Melbourne, L.A., Griffin, J., Schmidt, D.N., and Rayfield, E.J. 2015. Potential and limitations of finite element modelling in assessing structural integrity of coralline algae under future global change. Biogeosciences 12, 5871-5883 (doi: 10.5194/bg-12-5871-2015).

Nordén, K.K., Duffin, C.J., and Benton, M.J. 2015. A marine vertebrate fauna from the Late Triassic of Somerset, and a review of British placodonts. Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 126, 564-581 (doi: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2015.07.001).

Smithwick, F.M. 2015. Feeding ecology of the deep-bodied fish Dapedium (Actinopterygii, Neopterygii) from the Sinemurian of Dorset. Palaeontology 58, 293-311 (doi: 10.1111/pala.12145).


Chan, N.J., Dyke, G.J., and Benton, M.J. 2013. Primary feather lengths may not be important for inferring the flight styles of Mesozoic birds. Lethaia 46, 146-153 (doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3931.2012.00325.x).

Giles, S., Rücklin, M., and Donoghue, P.C.J. 2013. The histology of 'placoderm' dermal skeletons: implications for the nature of the ancestral gnathostome. Journal of Morphology 274, 627-644 (doi: 10.1002/jmor.20119).

Ruta, M., Botha-Brink, J., Mitchell, S.A., and Benton, M.J. 2013. The radiation of cynodonts and the ground plan of mammalian morphological diversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 280: 20131865 (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.1865).

Schmidt, D.N., Rayfield, E.J., Cocking, A., and Marone, F. 2013. Linking evolution and development: synchrotron radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy of planktic foraminifers. Palaeontology 56, 741-749 (doi: 10.1111/pala.12013).


Birn-Jeffery, A.V., Miller, C.E., Naish, D., Rayfield, E.J., and Hone, D.W.E. 2012. Pedal claw curvature in birds, lizards and Mesozoic dinosaurs - complicated categories and compensating for mass-specific and phylogenetic control. PLoS ONE 7(12): e50555. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0050555).


Rücklin, M., Giles, S., Janvier, P. and Donoghue, P.C.J. 2011. Teeth before jaws? Comparative analysis of the structure and development of the external and internal scales in the extinct jawless vertebrate Loganellia scotica. Evolution and Development 13, 523-532 (doi: 10.1111/j.1525-142X.2011.00508.x).


Fletcher, T.M., Janis, C.M., and Rayfield, E.J. 2010. Finite element analysis of ungulate jaws: can mode of digestive physiology be determined? Palaeontologia Electronica 13(3), 21A, 15 pp.

Marx, F.G. and Uhen, M.D. 2010. Climate, critters, and cetaceans: Cenozoic drivers of the evolution of modern whales. Science 327, 993-996 (doi: 10.1126/science.1185581).

Marx, F.G. and Uhen, M.D. 2010. Response to comment on "Climate, critters, and cetaceans: Cenozoic drivers of the evolution of modern whales". Science 330, 993-996 (doi: 10.1126/science.1190377).


Marx, F. 2009. Marine mammals through time: when less is more in studying palaeodiversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B 276, 887-892.

Sánchez-Hernández, B., Przewieslik, A.G., and Benton, M.J. 2009. A reassessment of the Pteraichnus ichnospecies from the Early Cretaceous of Soria Province, Spain. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29, 487-497.


Gostling, N.J., Thomas, C.-W., Greenwood, J.M., Dong, X., Bengtson, S., Raff, E.C., Raff, R.A., Degnan, B.M., Stampanoni, M. and Donoghue, P.C.J. 2008. Deciphering the fossil record of early bilaterian embryonic development in light of experimental taphonomy. Evolution & Development 10, 339-349.

Wilkinson, L.E., Young, M.T., and Benton, M.J. 2008. A new metriorhynchid crocodilian (Mesoeucrocodylia: Thalattosuchia) from the Kimmeridgian (Upper Jurassic) of Wiltshire, UK. Palaeontology 51, 1307-1333. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2008.00818.x


Anderson, P.E., Benton, M.J., Trueman, C.N., Paterson, B.A. and Cuny, G. 2007. Palaeoenvironments of vertebrates on the southern shore of Tethys: The nonmarine Early Cretaceous of Tunisia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 243, 118-131.

Vrazo, M.B., Benton, M.J., and Daeschler, E.B. 2007. Tetrapod tracks from the Mauch Chunk Formation (middle to upper Mississippian) of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 156, 199-209.


Benton, M.J., Minter, N.J. and Posmosanu, E. 2006. Dwarfing in ornithopod dinosaurs from the Early Cretaceous of Romania. In: Csiki, Z. (ed.) Mesozoic and Cenozoic Vertebrates and Paleoenvironments; Tributes to the Career of Prof. Dan Grigorescu, Ars Docendi, Bucharest, 79-87.

Hagadorn, J. W., Xiao, S., Donoghue, P. C. J., Bengtson, S., Gostling, N. J., Pawlowska, M., Raff, E. C., Raff, R. A., Turner, F. R., Yin, C., Zhou, C., Yuan, X., McFeely, M. B., Stampanoni, M. and Nealson, K. H. 2006. Cellular and subcellular structure of Neoproterozoic animal embryos. Science 314, 291-294.

Thecodontosaurus illustration courtesy of Richard Deasey.
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