Cell and Developmental Biology


Prof Susan Evans

Prof Susan Evans


UCL Anatomy Building
Gower St


  • Professor of Vertebrate Morphology and Palaeontology
    Cell & Developmental Biology
    Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL


Research Themes

My research focuses on the evolution of key morphological features in reptiles and amphibians, and the possible consequences of these innovations in terms of the temporal and geographical diversification of the groups in question, e.g. the role of skull kinesis in lizard evolution or of locomotor strategy in frogs. Our approach uses a combination of comparative anatomy, functional morphology, embryology, palaeontology, phylogenetic analysis and development to form an integrated perspective on morphological evolution through time. Most major advances in vertebrate palaeontology begin with new specimens showing novel combinations of characters. In addition to projects in the UK, I am involved in a network of international collaborations in Europe, Asia and North America, mostly focusing on localities ranging in age from 250 to 65 million years which have yielded some of the oldest representatives of key tetrapod lineages (e.g. frogs, lizards, salamanders) and/or ecomorphotypes (e.g. gliding, limb loss, herbivory, proto-saltation). However, extinct taxa must be fitted into a phylogenetic framework and their modern relatives studied for comparative data. With colleagues at the University of Hull, we are involved in a BBSRC funded project using a combination of traditional anatomical work and new computer modelling techniques to understand the relationship between reptilian and mammalian skull architecture and feeding behaviour. In recent years our research has been supported by the Royal Society, The Leverhulme Trust, the National Geographic Society, and the BBSRC.

Award year Qualification Institution
1980 PGCE
Postgraduate Certificate in Education
Institute of Education
1977 PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
Vertebrate Palaeontology
University College London
1974 BSc Hons
Bachelor of Science (Honours)
University of London
I completed  BSc in Zoology (Bedford College, University of London) followed by a PhD in Vertebrate Palaeontology (UCL) under the supervision of Kenneth Kermack, and a PGCE in Biology (Institute of Education, London). I spent three years teaching zoology and anatomy (and chasing lizards) in Bahrain, Arabian Gulf, before returning to the UK and a position at the Middlesex Hospital Medical School. Following the merger between MHMS and UCL, I rejoined UCL (Department of Anatomy, now Cell & Developmental Biology). 


Amphibians|*|Computational modeling|*|Computerised tomography|*|Evolution|*|Evolutionary history of reptiles and amphibians|*|Imaging (light, EM, X-ray)|*|Palaeontology|*|Phylogenetics|*|Reptiles|*|Skull|*|Systematics

Further information about the Evans Lab