Function, Evolution and Anatomy Research (FEAR) Lab

The Function, Evolution and Anatomy Research Lab


Our primary interest is to improve our understanding of relationships between shape and function in living and fossil animals. We use computer based 3D modelling (Finite Element Analysis) and geometric morphometrics to predict and analyse mechanical behaviour in skulls and other biological structures.

In addition to providing detailed information on how animals are adapted to particular behaviours and predictions for behaviour in fossil species, we apply these techniques to answer a wide range of biomedical questions. Other areas on which we have published and maintain an active interest in include vertebrate palaeontology, extinction of the Australian megafauna and marsupial carnivore phylogeny and biogeography.


Our Research

A list of current and recent projects is provided on the FEAR web site.

Research Student Opportunities

Below are some project ideas, if you are thinking of doing some research with our lab. Most projects involve collaborating with zoologists and palaeontologists working at UNE or elsewhere, using modern methods to address important research questions arising in functional anatomy, zoology and evolution. No prior experience in zoology is required—just a willingness to learn! Contact us for more information on these opportunities.

Further details on each topic can be found on the FEAR web site:

  • Giants and dwarfs: Skull form and function in Irish Elk and Mediterranean island deer.
  • Reconstructing the skull of the giant Haast's eagle.
  • Scale related effects on the vertebrate skeleton.
  • Toward a more accurate computer model of bone.
  • Functional morphology of the 'giant killer rat-kangaroo'.

Further Information

Our People

We are 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.

Find out more


Related book chapters and reviewed journal articles published by Lab members are listed on the FEAR web site.


If you are interested in some of the projects we are undertaking or have ideas that fall into similar areas, please contact:

Stephen WroeAssociate Professor Stephen Wroe
Phone: +61 2 6773 3261
Mobile: +61 4 3234 9049

Room 116, Lower Ground Floor,
Earth Sciences Building (C02),
University of New England,
Armidale NSW 2351 Australia

Visit the extended FEAR website