Professor Stephen Wroe

Professor Zoology - School of Environmental and Rural Science

Stephen Wroe

Phone: +61 2 6773 3261


Twitter: @StephenWroe


  • Professor, Univ. of New England 2016-Present
  • Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award Fellow (Level 2) 2014-2016
  • Associate Professor, Univ. of New England 2014-2016
  • Conjoint Associate Professor, Univ. Newcastle 2011-Present
  • Associate Professor, Univ. NSW 2012-Feb 2013
  • QEII Research Fellow Univ. NSW 2006-2010
  • U2000 Postdoctoral Fellow Univ. Sydney 2000-2005
  • Research Fellow Australian Museum, Sydney, 1999-2000
  • PhD (Marsupial Carnivore Evolution & Systematics), Univ. NSW, 1999
  • BSc (Hons) UNSW, 1991

I am Director of the Function, Evolution & Anatomy Research (FEAR) Lab - a dynamic, multidisciplinary team - which includes collaborators from the University of Newcastle and University of New South Wales, as well as the University of New England. Understanding relationships between form and function is key to answering fundamental questions in fields ranging from palaeontology, evolutionary biology, palaeoecology and physical anthropology to biomedicine. Using and developing the very latest technologies to expand the digital tool-kit and shed light on these relationships is my passion.

Teaching Areas

I have supervised over two dozen higher degree researchers and taught a range of courses in the fields of both zoology and palaeontology. I currently co-ordinate ZOOL100 at UNE.

Research Interests

I am currently involved in a wide range of projects incorporating 3D imaging, shape analysis and biomechanics. These include two recently awarded large ARC Discovery Projects on which I am the lead investigator, addressing the reptile mammal jaw transition and skull mechanics in fossil humans respectively. Other groups currently studied by myself and members of my team include reptiles and Cainozoic mammals, as well marsupial and placental carnivores, birds, sharks, and invertebrates. We have increasingly applied novel and innovative new approaches to the field of biomedicine.

Function, Evolution & Anatomy Research

Behavioural and Physiological Ecology


Reviewed book chapters

Fry, B.G., Scheib, H., Messenger, K., Hocknull, S., Wroe, S., Sunagar, K., Goldstein, E.J.C., Tyrrell, K.L., Citron, D.M., Jackson, T.N.W. (2015). “Poisons and bacteria” in Venomous reptiles and their toxins: evolution, pathophysiology and biodiscovery. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Wroe, S. (2010). Cranial mechanics of mammalian carnivores: Recent advances using a Finite Element approach In Carnivoran Evolution: New Views on Phylogeny, Form, and Function (A. Goswami and A. Friscia, eds.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pages 466-485.

Wroe, S., and Archer, M. (2006). Origins and early radiations of marsupials. Pp. 517-540 in Merrick, J. Archer, M., Hickey, G. M., & Lee, M. S. Y. (eds). Evolution and Biogeography of Australasian Vertebrates, Auscipub Pty Ltd: Sydney.

Wroe, S. (2003). Australian marsupial carnivores: Advances in palaeontology, palaeoecology and phylogeny. Pp. 71-94 in M. Jones, C. Dickman & M. Archer (eds), Predators with Pouches: the Biology of Carnivorous Marsupials, CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne.

Scholarly reviewed journal articles


Attard, M.R.G., Wilson, L.A.B., Worthy, T.H., Scofield, P., Johnston, P., Parr, W.C.H., and Wroe, S. (Accepted 04/12/2015, ID RSPB-2015-2043) Moa diet fits the bill: virtual reconstruction incorporating mummified remains and prediction of biomechanical performance in avian giants. Proceedings of Royal Society B.

Ramírez-Chaves, H., Wroe, S., Selwood, L., Hinds, L., Leigh, C., Koyabu, D., Kardjilov, N., and Weisbecker, V. (In Press) Mammalian development does not recapitulate suspected key transformations in the evolution of the mammalian middle ear. Proceedings of Royal Society B.

Harmer, A.M.T., Clausen, P.D., Wroe, S., Madin, J.S. (In Press). Large orb-webs adapted to maximise total biomass not rare, large prey. Scientific Report.

Aquilina, P., Wroe, S., Clausen, P., Chamoli, U., Parr, W. (2015). Finite Element Analysis of Patient-Specific Condyle Fracture Plates. Cranial Maxillofacial Trauma Reconstruction. 8, 111-116.

McCurry, M., Mahony, M., Clausen, P.D., Quayle, M.R., Walmsley, C.W., Jessop, T.S., Wroe, S., Richards, H., and McHenry, C.R. (2015). The relationship between cranial structure, biomechanical performance and ecological diversity in varanoid lizards. PLoS ONE DOI: 10137/journal.pone 0130625.

Fiorenza, L., Benazzi, S., Henry, A.G., Salazar-García, D.C., Blasco, R., Picin, A.  Wroe, S. and  Kullmer, O. 2015. To meat or not to meat? New perspectives on Neanderthal ecology. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 156, 43-71.


Aquilina, P, Wroe, S., Clausen, P, Chamoli, U, Parr, W (2014). Finite Element Analysis of Patient-Specific Condyle Fracture Plates. Cranial Maxillofac Trauma Reconstruction. 4, 251-232.

Parr, W.C., Soligo, C., Chaterjee, H.J., Cornish, R.A., and Wroe, S. (2014) Three-dimensional shape variation of talar surface morphology in hominoid primates. Journal of Anatomy. 225, 42-59.

Aquilina P, Wroe, S., Clausen P, Chamoli U, Parr W (2014). A biomechanical comparison of three 1.5mm plate and screw configurations and a single 2.0mm plate for internal fixation of a mandibular condylar fracture. Craniomaxillofacial Trauma and Reconstruction, 7, 218-223.

Attard, M. R. G., Parr, W. C. H., Wilson, L. A. B., Archer, M., Hand, S. J., Rogers, T. L., Wroe, S. (2014) Virtual Reconstruction and Prey Size Preference in the Mid Cenozoic Thylacinid, Nimbacinus dicksoni (Thylacinidae, Marsupialia). PLoS ONE, 9 (4), e93088


D'Anastasio, R., Wroe, S., Tuniz, C., Mancini, L., Cesana, D.T., Dreossi, D., Ravichandiran, M., Attard, M., Parr, W.C.H., Agur, A. and Capasso, L. (2013). Micro-Biomechanics of the Kebara 2 Hyoid and Its Implications for Speech in Neanderthals. PLoS ONE, 8, e82261. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., Field, J., Archer, M., Grayson, D. K., Price, G.J., Louys, J., Faith, J.T., Webb, G.E., Davidson, I., and Mooney, S. (2013). Climate change frames debate over the extinction of megafauna in Sahul (Pleistocene Australia-New Guinea) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 110: 8777-8781. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., Field, J., Archer, M., Grayson, D. K., Price, G.J., Louys, J., Faith, J.T., Webb, G.E., Davidson, I., and Mooney, S. No empirical evidence for human overkill of megafauna in Sahul. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, published ahead of print July 25, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1310440110. Web (Extract).

Parr, W., Chamoli, U., Walsh, W., Jones, A., and Wroe, S. (2013) Finite element micro-modelling of a human ankle bone reveals the importance of the trabecular network to mechanical performance: and new methods for the generation and comparison of 3D models. Journal of Biomechanics, 46: 200-205. Web (Abstract).

Wroe S., Chamoli U., Parr W., Clausen P., Ridgely R., Witmer L. (2013) Comparative Biomechanical Modeling of Metatherian and Placental Saber-Tooths: A Different Kind of Bite for an Extreme Pouched Predator. PLoS ONE 8, e66888. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Walmsley, C. W., Smits, P. D., Quayle, M. R., McCurry, M. R., Richards, H. S., Oldfield, C. C., Wroe, S., Clausen, P. D., and McHenry, C. R. (2013) Why the Long Face? The Mechanics of Mandibular Symphysis Proportions in Crocodiles: PLoS ONE, 8, e53873. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Field, J., Wroe, S., Trueman, C., Garvey, J., & Wyatt-Spratt, S. (2013) Looking for the Archaeological Signature in Australian Megafaunal Extinctions. Quaternary International, 285, 76-88. Web (Abstract).

Aquilina P., Wroe, S., Clausen P., Chamoli U., Parr W. (2013) Finite element analysis of three patterns of internal fixation of mandibular condyle fractures. The British Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, 51: 326-331. Web (Abstract).

Ferrara T., Boughton P., Slavich E., and Wroe S. (2013) A novel method for single sample multi-axial nanoindentation of hydrated heterogeneous tissues based on testing great white shark jaws. PLoS ONE Volume 8 | Issue 12 | e82261. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Lawn, B., Bush, M., Barani, A., Constantino, P., and Wroe, S. (2013) Inferring Biological Evolution from Fracture Patterns in Teeth. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 338, 59-65. Web (Abstract).

Aquilina P, Wroe, S., Clausen P, Chamoli U, Parr W (Accepted 16/10/13). A biomechanical comparison of three 1.5mm plate and screw configurations and a single 2.0mm plate for internal fixation of a mandibular condylar fracture. Craniomaxillofacial Trauma and Reconstruction.


Parr, W., Wroe, S., Chamoli, U., Richards, H. S., McCurry, M., Clause, P. D., and McHenry, C. R. (2012) Toward integration of geometric morphometrics and computational biomechanics: New methods for 3D virtual reconstruction and quantitative analysis of Finite Element Models: Journal of Theoretical Biology, 301: 1-14. Web (Abstract).

Evans, S, Parr, W., Clausen, P., Jones, A., & Wroe, S. (2012). Finite Element Analysis of a micromechanical model of bone and a new 3D approach to validation. Journal of Biomechanics, 45: 2702-2705. Web (Abstract).

Field, J., & Wroe, S. (2012) Aridity, Faunal Adaptations and Australian Late Pleistocene Extinctions. World Archaeology, 44: 46-74. Web (Abstract).

Oldfield, C.C., McHenry, C.R., Clausen, P.D., Chamoli, U., Parr, W.C.H., Stynder, D.D., Wroe, S. (2012) Finite Element Analysis of ursid cranial mechanics and the prediction of feeding behaviour in the extinct giant Agriotherium africanum. Journal of Zoology, 286: 163-170. Web (pdf).

Curnoe, D., J., X., Herries, A., Kanning, B., Tacon, P., Zhende, B., Fink, D., Yunsheng, Z., Hellstrom, J., Yun, L., Cassis, G., Bing, S., Wroe, S. (2012). Human remains from the Pleistocene-Holocene transition of southwest China suggest a complex evolutionary history for East Asians. PLoS ONE 7(3): e31918. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031918. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).


Chamoli, U. and Wroe, S. (2011) Allometry in the distribution of material properties and geometry of the felid skull: why larger species may need to change and how they may achieve it. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 283: 217-226. Web (Abstract).

Goswami, A., Milne, N., and Wroe, S. (2011) Biting through constraints: Cranial morphology, disparity and convergence across living and fossil carnivorous mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 278: 1831-1839. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

D'Amore, C. D., Moreno, K., McHenry, C. R., and Wroe, S. (2011) The effects of biting and pulling on the forces generated during feeding in the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). PLoS ONE, 6(10): e26226. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Attard, M., Chamoli, U., Ferrara, T., Rogers, T., Wroe, S. (2011) Skull mechanics and implications for feeding behaviour in a large marsupial carnivore guild: the thylacine, Tasmanian devil and spotted-tailed quoll. Journal of Zoology,  285: 292-300. Web (Abstract).

Ferrara, T. L., Clausen, P., Huber, D. R., McHenry, C. R., Peddemours, V., Wroe, S. (2011) Mechanics of biting in great white and sandtiger sharks. Journal of Biomechanics, 44: 430-435. Web (Abstract).

Tsafnat, N., & Wroe, S. (2011) An Experimentally Validated Micromechanical Model of a Rat Vertebra Under Compressive Loading. Journal of Anatomy, 218: 40-46. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).


Wroe, S., Ferrara, T., McHenry, C., Curnoe, D., Chamoli, U. (2010). The craniomandibular mechanics of being human. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 277: 3579-3586. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Degrange, F. J., Tambussi, C. P., Moreno, K., Witmer, L. M. & Wroe, S. (2010 ) Mechanical Analysis of Feeding Behavior in the Extinct Terror Bird Andalgalornis steulleti (Gruiformes: Phorusrhacidae). PLoS ONE 5, e11856. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Cosgrove, R., Field, J., Garvey, J., Brenner-Coltrain, J., Goede, J., Charles, B., Wroe, S., Pike-Tay, A., Grün, R., Aubert, M., & W., O'Connell, J. (2010) Overdone overkill – the archaeological perspective on Tasmanian megafaunal extinctions. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37: 2486-2503. Web (Abstract).


Fry, B. G., Wroe, S., Teeuwisse, W., Matthias J., Osch, P., Moreno, K., et al. 2009. A central role for venom in predation by Varanus komodoensis (Komodo Dragon) and the extinct giant Varanus (Megalania) priscus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 106, 8969-8974. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).


Wroe, S. 2008. Cranial mechanics compared in extinct marsupial and extant African lions using a finite-element approach. Journal of Zoology, 274:332-339. Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., Huber, D.R., Lowry, M.B., McHenry, C.R., Moreno, K., Clausen, P.D., Ferrara. T.L. 2008. 3D computer analysis of white shark jaw mechanics: how hard can a great white bite? Journal of Zoology 276: 336–342. Web (Abstract).

Weisbecker, V., Goswami, A. Wroe, S., Sánchez-Villagra, M. 2008. Ossification heterochrony in the mammalian skeleton and the marsupial-placental dichotomy. Evolution 62: 2027–2041. Web (Abstract).

Moreno, K., Wroe, S., Clausen, P. D., McHenry, C. R., D'Amore, D. C.; Rayfield, E. J., and Cunningham, E. 2008. Cranial performance in the Komodo dragon as revealed by high-resolution 3-D finite element analysis. Journal of Anatomy, 212:736-746. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Bourke, J., Wroe, S., Moreno, K., McHenry, C., Clausen, P. 2008. Effects of Gape and Tooth Position on Bite Force in the Dingo. PLoS ONE 3(5):e2200. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Field, J., Fillios, M., and Wroe, S. 2008. Contextualizing Chronologies for the Human Megafauna Overlap in Australia. Earth Science Reviews, 89: 97-115. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., Lowry, M. B., and Anton, M. 2008. How to build a mammalian super-predator? Zoology, 111:196-203. Web (Abstract).

Clausen, P. D., Wroe, S.; McHenry, C. R.; Moreno, K; Bourke, J. 2008. The vector of jaw muscle force as determined by computer generated 3D simulation: A test of Greaves' model.  Journal of Biomechanics, 41: 3184-3188. Web (Abstract).


Wroe, S., Clausen, P., McHenry, C., Moreno, K., and Cunningham, E. 2007. Computer simulation of feeding behaviour in the thylacine and dingo: a novel test for convergence and niche overlap. Proceedings of the Royal Society (London), Series B, 274: 2819-2828. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., and Milne., N. 2007. Convergence and remarkably consistent constraint in the evolution of carnivore skull shape. Evolution, 61: 1251-1260. Web (Abstract).

McHenry, C., Wroe, S., Clausen, P., Moreno, K., and Cunningham, E.2007. Super-modeled sabercat, predatory behaviour in Smilodon fatalis revealed by high-resolution 3-D computer simulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 104: 16010-16015. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Christiansen, P., and Wroe, S. 2007. Bite forces and evolutionary adaptations to feeding ecology in carnivores. Ecology, 88: 347-358. Web (Abstract).

Wroe, S., Moreno, K., Clausen, P., McHenry, C., and Curnoe, D. 2007. High-resolution computer simulation of hominid cranial mechanics. The Anatomical Record, 290: 1248-1255. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

Wroe, S. 2007. High-resolution 3-D computer simulation of feeding behaviour in marsupial and placental lions. Journal of Zoology,  274:332-339. Web (pdf).


Wroe, S., Field, J., and Grayson, D. K. (2006). Megafaunal extinction: climate, humans and assumptions. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 21: 61-62. Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., and Field, J. (2006). A review of the evidence for a human role in the extinction of Australian megafauna and an alternative interpretation. Quaternary Science Reviews, 25: 2692-2703. Web (Abstract).


Wroe, S., McHenry, C., and Thomason, J. (2005). Bite club: Comparative bite force in big biting mammals and the prediction of predatory behaviour in fossil taxa. Proceedings of the Royal Society (London), Series B, 272: 619-625. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).

McHenry, C., Cook, A., and Wroe, S. (2005). Bottom feeding plesiosaurs. Science, 310: 75. Web (Abstract).

Trueman, C. N., Field, J. H, Dortch, J., Charles, B., and Wroe, S. (2005). Prolonged co-existence of humans and megafauna in Pleistocene Australia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 182: 8381-8385. Web (Full Text). Web (pdf).


Wroe, S., Argot, C., Crowther, M., and Dickman, C. (2004). On the rarity of big fierce carnivores. Proceedings of the Royal Society (London), Series B, 271: 1203-1211. Web (Abstract). Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., Field, J., Fullagar, R., and Jermiin, L. (2004). Megafaunal extinction in the Late Quaternary and the global overkill hypothesis. Alcheringa, 28: 291-331Web (Abstract). Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., Crowther, M., Dortch, J., and Chong, J. (2004). The size of the largest marsupial and why it matters. Proceedings of the Royal Society (London) Series B (Suppl.), 271: S34-S36. Web (Abstract). Web (pdf).


Wroe, S., Myers, T., Seebacher, F., Kear, B., Gillespie, A., Crowther, M., and Salisbury, S. (2003). An alternative method for predicting body-mass: The case of the marsupial lion. Paleobiology, 29: 404-412. Web (Abstract).

Johnson, C., and Wroe, S. (2003). Causes of extinctions of vertebrates during the Holocene of mainland Australia: arrival of the dingo or human impact? The Holocene, 13: 109-116. Web (Abstract). Web (pdf).


Wroe, S. (2002). A review of terrestrial mammalian and reptilian carnivore ecology in Australian fossil faunas and factors influencing their diversity. Australian Journal of Zoology, 50: 1-24. Web (Abstract). Web (pdf).


Wroe, S. (2001). Maximucinus muirheadae, gen. et sp. nov. (Thylacinidae, Marsupialia), from the Miocene of Riversleigh, northwestern Queensland, with estimates of body weights for fossil thylacinids. Australian Journal of Zoology, 49: 603-614. Web (Abstract). Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., and Musser, A. (2001). The skull of Nimbacinus dicksoni (Thylacinidae, Marsupialia). Australian Journal of Zoology, 49: 487-514. Web (Abstract).


Mackness, B. S., Wroe, S., Muirhead, J., Wilkinson, C., and Wilkinson, D. (2000). First fossil bandicoot from the Pliocene Chinchilla Local Fauna. Australian Mammalogy, 22: 133-136. Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., and Mackness, B. S. (2000). A new genus and species of dasyurine dasyurid (Marsupialia) from the Pliocene Chinchilla Local Fauna of Southeastern Queensland. Alcheringa, 24: 319-325. Web (Abstract).

Wroe, S., Ebach, M., Ahyong, S., Muizon, C. de, and Muirhead, J. (2000). Phylogeny of Australian marsupicarnivores: a parsimony-based analysis using cranial and dental data. Journal of Mammalogy, 88: 1008-1024. Web (pdf).

Krajewski, C., Wroe, S., and Westerman, M. (2000). Molecular evidence for phylogenetic relationships and the timing of cladogenesis in dasyurid marsupials. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 130: 375-404. Web (Abstract). Web (pdf).


Wroe, S. (1999). The geologically oldest dasyurid (Marsupialia) from the Miocene of Riversleigh, north-western Queensland. Palaeontology, 42: 501-527. Web (Abstract). Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., Myers, T. J., Wells, R. T., and Gillespie, A. (1999). Estimating the weight of the Pleistocene marsupial lion (Thylacoleo carnifex, Thylacoleonidae: Marsupialia): implications for the ecomorphology of a marsupial super-predator and hypotheses for the impoverishment of marsupial carnivore faunas. Australian Journal of Zoology, 47: 489-498. Web (Abstract).

Godthelp, H., Wroe, S., and Archer, M. (1999). A new marsupial from the early Eocene Tingamarra Local Fauna of Murgon, Southeastern Queensland: a prototypical Australian marsupial? Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 6: 289-313. Web (pdf).


Wroe, S. (1998). A new 'bone-cracking' dasyurid (Marsupialia), from the Miocene of Riversleigh, north-western Queensland. Alcheringa, 22: 277-284. Web (Abstract).

Wroe, S., Brammall, J., and Cooke, B. (1998). The skull of Ekaltadeta ima (Marsupialia, Hypsiprymnodontidae?): An analysis of some marsupial cranial features and a reinvestigation of propleopine phylogeny, with notes on the inference of carnivory in mammals. Journal of Paleontology, 72: 738-751. Web (Abstract). Web (pdf).

Wroe, S., and Mackness, B. S. (1998). Revision of the Pliocene dasyurid, Dasyurus dunmalli (Dasyuridae, Marsupialia). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 42: 605-612.

Muirhead, J., and Wroe, S. (1998). A new genus and species, Badjcinus turnbulli (Thylacinidae, Marsupialia), from the late Oligocene of Riversleigh, northwestern Australia, and an investigation of thylacinid phylogeny. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 18: 612-626. Web (pdf).


Wroe, S. (1997). A re-examination of proposed morphology-based synapomorphies for the families of Dasyuromorphia (Marsupialia): Part I, Dasyuridae. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 4: 19-52. Web (pdf).

Wroe, S. (1997). Mayigriphus orbus, a new species of dasyuromorphian (Marsupialia) from the Miocene of Riversleigh, north-western Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 41: 439-448. Web (pdf).

Wroe, S. (1997). Stratigraphy and phylogeny in the giant extinct rat-kangaroo Ekaltadeta (Propleopinae, Hypsiprymnodontidae, Marsupialia). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 41: 449-456. Web (pdf).


Wroe, S. (1996). An investigation of phylogeny in the giant rat kangaroo Ekaltadeta (Propleopinae, Potoroidae, Marsupialia). Journal of Paleontology, 70: 677-686. Web (pdf).

Wroe, S. (1996). Muribacinus gadiyuli (Thylacinidae, Marsupialia), a very plesiomorphic thylacinid from the Miocene of Riversleigh, Northwestern Queensland, and the problem of paraphyly for the Dasyuridae. Journal of Paleontology, 70: 1032-1044. Web (pdf).


Wroe, S., and Archer, M. (1995). Extraordinary diphyodonty-related change in dental function for a tooth of the extinct marsupial Ekaltadeta ima (Propleopinae, Hypsiprymndontidae). Archives of Oral Biology, 40: 597-603.Web (pdf).

Related Links

Palaeoscience Research Centre