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PhD: Enamel development and evolution in spiny-tailed lizards

Project Title

Enamel development and evolution in spiny-tailed lizards


King's College London

Supervisors and Institutions

Dr. Aaron LeBlanc, Lecturer in Dental Biosciences, Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences, KCL

Funding Status

Funding is in place for this project

Project Description

This PhD project will address questions surrounding the development, evolution, and function of mammal-like prismatic enamel by studying the teeth of an extant lizard model: the spiny-tailed, or uromastycine lizards. The enamel of some uromastycine lizards is nearly identical to that found in the oldest fossil mammals but provides a unique opportunity to study this tissue type in a living analogue. Preliminary studies have identified enamel prisms within the teeth of a small number of uromastycine species, but by preparing museum specimens for histological, elemental, and mechanical analyses, the PhD student will have the opportunity to examine enamel evolution across this unique group of lizards. The aim will be to determine how many species possess prismatic enamel, compare prismatic enamel development in these lizards to that of mammals, and reconstruct the evolutionary history of enamel microstructure across uromastycines. This research will not only reveal how reptiles can evolve this stereotypically mammalian dental tissue, but also highlight the utility of these modern lizards as models for interpreting dental evolution in the earliest mammals.

Dr. Aaron LeBlanc's website

Contact Name

Aaron LeBlanc

Contact Email

Link to More Information

Closing Date

Monday, July 1, 2024

Expiry Date

Monday, July 1, 2024
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