From left: Qamariya Nasrullah, Lap Chieu, Karina Sorrell, Alex McDonald, Travis Park, Alistair Evans, Alex Barber, Felix Marx, Mark Nikolic, Jordan Knight-Sadler, David Hocking, Tahlia Pollock.

From left: Qamariya Nasrullah, Lap Chieu, Karina Sorrell, Alex McDonald, Travis Park, Alistair Evans, Alex Barber, Felix Marx, Mark Nikolic, Jordan Knight-Sadler, David Hocking, Tahlia Pollock.

Lab Head

Alistair Evans

Associate Professor, ARC Future Fellow

Al's research involves almost anything related to teeth - how they are made, how they work, and how they evolve.


Lab Technician

Lap Chieu

Lap is interested in new technologies and techniques for science research. He takes care of laboratory equipment, manages databases, administrates this website, and assists researchers with the use of 3D scanning equipment, computer software and data collection. He completed a BSc (Hons) at Monash University in 2012, where his research looked into predicting the 3D shapes of undiscovered fossil teeth from their known opposing correlate.


Postdoctoral researchers

Felix Marx

Felix is currently on secondment to Australia, based on an EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship. His main interest are the evolutionary relationships, functional morphology, macroevolution and general palaeobiology of cetaceans, with a particular focus on baleen whales (Mysticeti). Current research projects focus on (1) the earliest phase of baleen whale evolution, based on new fossil specimens from Australia and North America; (2) collecting new data on fossil cetaceans in the Southern Hemisphere, which has traditionally been undersampled; and (3) the palaeobiology of a mostly extinct group of mysticetes known as Cetotheriidae, which likely includes the enigmatic pygmy right whale, Caperea marginata.



David Hocking

David spends his time hanging out with seals to see what they can teach us about how aquatic feeding evolved in tetrapods. His PhD focused on establishing how pinnipeds vary their prey capture and processing behaviours when faced with different foraging scenarios. This involved performing feeding trials with fur seals and sea lions at Melbourne and Taronga Zoos, as well as working with animal mounted sensors on wild seals at the Phillip Island and Lady Julia Percy Island Australian fur seal colonies.


PhD students

Qamariya Nasrullah

Qamariya aspires to unravel the evolutionary history of marsupials; in particular the macropods (kangaroos and wallabies). Previously she has looked at macropod phylogenetics and morphological adaptation. Currently she is studying the development and evolution of teeth in mammals with a focus on identifying controls that dictate tooth number, size and shape as well as tooth replacement abilities such as molar progression and polyphydonty. This involves 3D scans and histology of wallaby embryos, as well as tissue culturing and genetic analyses of mice.



Travis Park

Travis is interested in the evolutionary history of marine tetrapods and what their fossils can tell us about their palaeobiology, ecology and environment. He completed a BSc (Hons) at Deakin University in 2012, where his Honours research looked at fossil penguins from Victoria. He has co-authored four peer-reviewed articles, the first on the discovery of an Australian representative of an extinct group of giant flying birds known as the Pelagornithidae, the second on the oldest known Victorian occurrence of a group of giant flightless birds known as dromornithids, the third reviewing the fossil record of penguins in Australia and the fourth re-describing the holotype of an Australian fossil penguin.

Travis is currently completing his PhD at Monash University, investigating the evolution of hearing in fossil cetaceans (whales and dolphins). His research involves many different analytical techniques, including microCT scanning, Finite Element Analysis, Geometric Morphometrics and comparative anatomy.



Matthew McCurry

Matt is driven by an interest in better understanding the relationship between the morphology of animals and their ecology. His PhD work examines the evolution of morphological diversity in aquatic tetrapods using a combination of morphometric and biomechanical techniques. Matt is currently on a Predoctoral Fellowship at The Smithsonian Institute.


Honours students

Tahlia Pollock

Tahlia is working in the field of theoretical biomechanics, attempting to quantify the efficiency of the unique bladed premolar tooth form known as plagiaulacoidy, which appears in extinct and extant mammalian groups.



Alex Barber

Alex has a keen interest in the evolution and morphology of marine mammals. His honours project is focusing on the bizarre Squalodontids (shark-toothed dolphins), so-called because of their characteristically serrated triangular teeth, which are completely unlike the teeth of any living whale or dolphin. The Squalodontids were the dominant group of dolphins for 20 million years, before going extinct about 10 million years ago. Alex spends his time studying the serrations on the teeth of modern sharks and their ability cut food, to try and better understand how the serrations present on Squalodontidae teeth may affect their cutting performance.



Alex McDonald

Alex has a broad interest in Mammal evolution and morphology. His 3rd year project investigated the chewing kinematics in macropods, and how it relates to their diet. He is currently working to uncover more information about the little known pig-footed bandicoot.



Undergraduate students

Mark Nikolic

Mark has a particular interest in understanding evolutionary relationships and morphology in the context of evolution. He is currently investigating whether the Inhibitory Cascade - a rule that predicts the development of segmented structures in vertebrates - applies to insects in a hope to better understand the evolution and development of segmentation.



Karina Sorrell

Karina is interested in anything to do with seals, particularly how the pinnipeds evolved to become specifically adapted to life in the oceans. Her third year project involves comparing the morphological structures of the forelimbs of pinnipeds from the different phylogenetic groups and how these flipper structures relate to their locomotion and feeding behaviours. 


Former Lab Members and Visitors

Md Roysul Islam

Honours 2013-2014

Roysul is interested in studying the evolution of diverse physiological forms and functions within the marine tetrapod groups. He aspires to integrate both qualitative and quantitative analytical methods into his research. He has finished his B.EnvSci (Hons) from Monash University in 2014. His research looked into the diversity of baleen whales from Upper Miocene–Early Pliocene in the Greater Southwest Pacific. He researched into both fossil and living baleen whale Tympano-Periotic earbones by applying comparative anatomy method. Currently he is planning to start another research program. His future research will encompass understanding the functions of marine tetrapods’ physiology and ecology.



Laura Murphy, B.Sc. (Hons) 2014

Ai-Ling Khoo, B.Sc. 2014

Angela Olah, B.Sc.(Hons) 2013-2014

Kaitlyn Hart, B.Sc (Hons) 2013-2014

Alana Sharp, Ph.D 2011-2014: Alana's personal website

Peter Smits, Masters 2010-2012

Harini Epa, B.Sc. (Hons) 2012

Thai Lap Chieu, B.Sc. (Hons) 2012

Jesse Vitacca, B.Sc. 2012

David Jones, Marie Curie International Outgoing Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009-2011: University of Bristol page

Anastasia Courtney, B.Sc. (Hons) 2011

David Hocking, B.Sc. (Hons) 2010-2011, PhD 2012-2015

Roger Close, Ph.D 2008-2011

Daniela Winkler, M.Sc. student, University of Hamburg 2009

Michael Treadwell, B.Sc. (Hons) 2008-2009

Karlena Proctor, B.Sc. (Hons) 2008-2009

Peter Trusler, Palaeontological Artist