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Investigating the biomechanics of extreme herbivory: the case of koalas and wombats

Wombats and koalas are the only survivors of an extensive radiation of mostly terrestrial vombatiforms dating back to the late Oligocene. Wombats and koalas are respectively highly specialised grazers and browsers, and thus widely used in eco-morphological studies on the functional adaptation of the skull to specialised herbivory. However, few of these studies reveal how feeding affects affects skull shape. The aim of this project is to study the biomechanics of the wombat and koala mandible (lower jaw) during feeding using computer simulations and in vivo experiments.
Essential criteria: 
Minimum entry requirements can be found here:
wombats, koalas, diet, feeding behaviour, skull biomechanics, anatomy
Available options 
Time commitment 
Top-up scholarship funding available 
Physical location 
Biomedicine Discovery Institute
Vera Weisbecker

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