Tag: Peter L. Falkingham

Like many palaeontologists, Peter has always had a fascination with past life, particularly dinosaurs. He studied biology and geology at the University of Bristol, UK (2000–03), and followed this with a master’s degree in the department of computer science at the same university (2003–04). He spent some time volunteering and then working at the Yorkshire Museum in York, UK, as a documentation assistant, before undertaking a PhD in the department of Earth sciences at the University of Manchester, UK (2006–10). His PhD, entitled Computer Simulation of Dinosaur Tracks, was carried out at the University of Manchester, and he remained there working on data acquisition and visualization of dinosaur tracksites, until the end of 2011. In February 2012, he began a three-year Marie Curie International outgoing fellowship at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Royal Veterinary College in London, using fossil tracks to explore the locomotor evolution of theropod dinosaurs.

Contact Details:

Dr Peter L. Falkingham Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, Structure and Motion Laboratory, Royal Veterinary College, London, UK and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, USA

Fossil Focus: Vertebrate tracks and trackways

Fossil Focus
by Peter Falkingham*1 Introduction: The fossilized footprints and trackways of vertebrates are often overlooked in favour of the skeletal remains of the animals that made them. At museums, for instance, many more people will crowd around the dinosaur skeletons than around the dinosaur tracks nearby, and yet fossilized tracks can provide us with information about extinct animals that is simply not available from the bones alone. A track is the result of an interaction between an animal and a surface, or substrate. The final track shape (morphology) is directly determined by three factors: Producer: the shape of the track-maker's foot Behaviour: the motion and loading (kinematics and kinetics) of that foot Substrate: the conditions of the surface when the track is made (sandy, mudd...