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Léa Da Cunha

PhD student

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Work interests

My research focuses on the evolution of the rodent masticatory apparatus. I am mainly working on cranial and myological structures of extant species in order to describe and better apprehend morphological variation within both extant and past members of this mammalian order (which comprises more than 2600 species).

The main objectives of my thesis are to highlight functional integration between bones and muscles in order to reveal if these structures evolve independently or jointly, as well as to identify if their evolution influenced diversification patterns within rodent lineages.

More specifically, I will study covariation patterns between bones and muscles in different groups by using a wide array of methodologies to quantify and characterize morphological variation, such as comparative anatomy, geometric morphometry, and biomechanical modelling.

Keywords :

Rodents – Masticatory apparatus – Morphology – Muscles – Biomechanics

PhD supervisor(s) :

Anthony Herrel (UMR 7179, MNHN Paris)

The Institute of Evolutionary Science of Montpellier (ISEM – University of Montpellier, CNRS, IRD, EPHE, CIRAD, INRAP) has been focusing research on biodiversity origins and dynamics and the associated evolutionary mechanisms.