My research interests relate to archosaur reptiles and their morphological evolution. I graduated in Biology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) in Spain. My doctoral thesis was supervised by A. D. Buscalioni ((Unidad de Paleontología, UAM) and it focused on the evolution of the avian skull using both Theoretical Morphology and Geometric Morphometric tools, and dealt with macroevolutionary topics such as variation (disparity), and with integration and modularity. I joined Dr. Chiappe’s team at the Dinosaur Institute as a Fulbright (MCINN) postdoctoral fellow to study aspects of the dinosaur-bird transition focusing our data collection on Chinese fossils. I am part of the research team at Las Hoyas, and I’m also involved in a research project with the Theoretical Biology Lab (Instituto Cavanilles, Valencia) in which we try to model cranial evolution in tetrapods using diverse quantitative proxies.
My general research interests relate to the systematics and evolution of both extinct and living birds. After graduating with a PhD from The Universidad Nacional de Tucuman (in Argentina where I grew up), I accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at the American Museum of Natural History in New York where I examined such diverse groups of birds as penguins, song birds, tinamous and their relatives, the ratites (which are flightless birds such as ostriches, kiwis, and cassowaries). My research has taken me to many countries across Europe, North America and South America where I have conducted filed studies and visited numerous museums. My current interests also concern the evolutionary relationships of the phorusracids or “terror birds.”
My research focuses primarily on Argentine dinosaurs, especially those from Patagonia, a region that ranks among the best dinosaur graveyards. During the last 20 years, my field and laboratory investigations have resulted in the description of a large dinosaur diversity of both carnivorous and herbivorous dinosaur species and an assessment of their genealogical relationships. Some of these dinosaurs include the colossal sauropod Argentinosaurus huinculensis and the megapredator Giganotosaurus carolinii; other ones are the carnivorous Aucasaurus garridoi, Ilokelesia aguadagrandensis, Quilmesaurus currie, and Mapusaurus roseae. The overall goal of my research is to understand how the dinosaur faunas of Patagonia evolved through time.
I am a biomechanist who reconstructs the performance and motion of fossil animals. Most of my discoveries relate to the evolution of animal flight, and I am particularly fond of working on pterosaurs - flying reptiles of the Mesozoic that included the largest flying animals of all time. I ask research questions related to the anatomical limits of flight, the relationships of anatomy to behavior, and the role of locomotion in ecology and evolution. My research program is diverse and includes animals ranging from fish to birds. I am an Assistant Professor in the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, where I teach human gross anatomy. Off the job, I enjoy a good cup of tea and practicing traditional Kung Fu.
I am a vertebrate paleontologist trained in Germany, the U.S., and Switzerland. It is the Triassic ichthyosaurs of Nevada that link me to the Dinosaur Institute and the Museum. These fossils provide exciting insights into ecosystem recovery after the end-Permian mass extinction. What makes fossil vertebrates so fascinating for me is that bone preserves its microstructure in addition to its shape. Studying fossil bone thin sections under a polarizing microscope, I reconstruct the life history of a dinosaur, finding out amazing things such as that there were island dwarf dinosaurs, similar to the island dwarf mammoths of the Channel Islands of California. This led me to asking how those long-necked giants, the sauropod dinosaurs, could evolve their enormous size. By working with a team of scientist with wide-ranging backgrounds, I have come to realize that a special combination of primitive characters and evolutionary innovations made sauropod gigantism possible.