Centre for Integrative Anatomy
We use diverse and cutting-edge approaches to study anatomy in order to understand structure and function, embryonic development, phylogenetic relationships, ecology, and evolution. The skeletal anatomy of fossil organisms provides us with clues to the appearance and ecology, which in turn tells us how the modern biosphere came to be and how living animals will respond to ongoing environmental changes. Medical and forensic researchers use the study of human anatomy to understand how we live and grow, as well as aging, disease, and death.
The study of organismal form is the core of evolutionary and comparative anatomy. How variable are populations, species, and clades? How does form change through embryonic development and later growth? What can anatomy tell us about how extinct organisms looked and behaved? We use traditional and modern techniques to describe and quantify the structure of the vertebrate body.
Biomechanics is the study of structure and function. Using experimental and digital modelling techniques, we study how diverse morphologies result in differences in performance, behaviour, and, ultimately, fitness. This is key to understanding adaptation and evolution of anatomy. Biomechanics also interfaces with biomedical research into kinesiology, sports medicine, and prosthetics.
The overarching goal of the CIA is to understand the diversification of vertebrate anatomy in deep time. This includes investigating the link between ecology and morphology, using modern species to understand fossil taxa, studying major transitions (e.g., the first terrestrial vertebrates, the origin of flight), and human origins.