PhD subject:

Long bone morphological and microanatomical adaptation to graviportality in Rhinocerotoidea

This PhD is part of the ERC project "GRAVIBONE" aiming to understand the external and internal long bone variability in heavy animals such as rhinos, elephants or sauropods. My PhD focus mainly on the adaptation to graviportality among Rhinocerotoidea, studying extant and extinct genus from Cenozoic to nowadays. This superfamily is of great interest because of the excellent fossil preservation around the world and the great adaptative variability showed by many species, from small cursorial forms (Hyracodon) reaching gigantic proportions (Paraceratherium), to hippo-like genus like Metamynodon, assumed to be semi-aquatic. Comparisons with other Perissodactyls, such as Chalicotheres, Brontotheres, and even some Notoungulata will be carried to quantify the variability proper to rhinos and understand the impact of graviportality adaptation on bones, as well as exploring the convergence towards high body mass observed in many lineages.

My work concerns mainly the six bones composing the upper part of the limbs (humerus, ulna, radius, femur, tibia and fibula). I will explore the external and internal bone structure through the use of 3D geometric morphometrics - on 3D models reconstructed thanks to the use of a handheld surface scanner - and microanatomy approach - using microtomography.