Tag: Ryan Marek
Ryan is a PhD student at the University of Liverpool who is currently studying the evolution of neck function and musculature in birds and theropod dinosaurs. His previous work has focused on the 3D reconstruction of exceptionally preserved Lower Jurassic ichthyosaurs. Ryan has also been extensively involved with the Bristol Dinosaur Project whilst he was an undergraduate at the University of Bristol, both behind the scenes as a fossil preparator and as part of the project’s outreach scheme, and has taught over a thousand primary school children about the Bristol dinosaur, Thecodontosaurus.
Like many twenty-something early career palaeontologists, Ryan’s fascination with all things palaeontological stems from watching a healthy combination of Jurassic Park and David Attenborough documentaries from a young age. He hopes to continue working in the fast advancing field of functional morphology, preferably in places with nicer weather than his native country of England.
By Ryan Marek*1
A literal translation of ichthyosaur is 'fish lizard', yet ichthyosaurs were neither fish nor members of the lizard family; they were a group of highly successful marine reptiles who lived from the early Triassic period to the late Cretaceous period, around 248 million to 90 million years ago. Ichthyosaurs were among the first diapsids (a group of animals which have evolved two holes on each side of their skulls, includes birds and all reptiles except turtles) to evolve a thunniform (fish-like) body plan as an adaptation to life in the sea (Fig. 1). They were also the first air-breathing vertebrates to evolve this body plan; the only other group to do so was the whales and dolphins, millions of years later. Most ichthyosaurs after the Triassic had the fish-l