Chief Investigator

Flinders University

Vera specializes in land vertebrate (mainly mammalian) morphological evolution and adaptation. After finishing her undergraduate studies in Germany, she completed her PhD on marsupial skeletal adaptation at UNSW in 2008. During her postdoc, she studied mammalian brain size evolution, splitting my time between Cambridge University, UCL, and Jena University (Germany). After eight years of working at The University of Queensland, she moved to Flinders University in February 2020.

Her research group integrates evolutionary comparative methods, palaeontology, ecology, and embryology to quantify and explain patterns of vertebrate morphological diversity. While not clade-ist, her focus is on using Australia’s iconic marsupial mammals to understand the past, present and future of mammalian diversity in general. Vera is currently particularly interested in understanding how species of native Australian mammals are capable of adapting their shape to changing environments, and how this information can inform our understanding of megafaunal extinction patterns over the last 100,000 years.

An essential item in Vera’s toolkit

“Virtual representations of mammalian form -e.g. CT or surface scans – are the core of my research.”

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