Opendata, web and dolomites


Testing the locomotor superiority hypothesis for early dinosaurs

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 DAWNDINOS project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the DAWNDINOS project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "DAWNDINOS" about.

optimizing    computational    compare    dismissed    combining    dinosaurs    animals    hypothesis    extinct    unify    estimate    evolve    made    patterns    diversity    digital    causally    taxa    function    archosaurs    simulations    jurassic    limited    optimize    running    underlying    synthesis    form    biomechanical    walking    movement    ruling    predict    refine    frontiers    evolutionary    determinants    anatomy    links    pushes    birds    disparity    superiority    biotic    rigorous    unfairly    overcoming    experimental    inquiries    question    motions    skeletal    obstacle    validate    activations    limb    qualitative    triassic    ten    experimentally    palaeoecology    forces    extant    subjective    metrics    turning    jumping    integrative    survival    morphological    revolutionize    actual    traits    moved    locomotor    muscle    biomechanics    inferences    fit    relates    bipedal    assumptions    tools    phenotypes    time    seek    crocodiles    lengths    evolution    did    first    perhaps    behaviours    biogeography    coordinated    performance    functional    untested    aiding    reptiles    advantages    environments    simulation    3d   

Project "DAWNDINOS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: LONDON
postcode: NW1 OTU

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 2˙498˙718 €
 EC max contribution 2˙498˙718 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-AdG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-10-01   to  2021-09-30


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    THE ROYAL VETERINARY COLLEGE UK (LONDON) coordinator 2˙498˙718.00


 Project objective

I seek to unify evolutionary and biomechanical research by achieving a “functional synthesis” in evolution that causally links phenotypes (anatomy) to actual performance. Did early, bipedal dinosaurs evolve advantages in their locomotor performance over other Late Triassic archosaurs (“ruling reptiles”)? This “locomotor superiority” hypothesis was first proposed to explain what made dinosaurs distinct from other Triassic taxa, perhaps aiding their survival into the Jurassic. However, the hypothesis remains untested or unfairly dismissed. I will test this question for the first time, but first I need to develop the best tools to do so. Extant archosaurs (crocodiles and birds) allow us to experimentally measure key factors (3D skeletal motions and limb forces; muscle activations) optimizing performance in walking, running, jumping, standing up, and turning. We will then use biomechanical simulations to estimate performance determinants we cannot measure; e.g. muscle forces/lengths. This will refine our simulations by testing major assumptions and validate them for studying extinct animals, overcoming the obstacle that has long limited researchers to qualitative, subjective morphological inferences of performance. Next, we will use our simulation tools to predict how ten Late Triassic archosaurs may have moved, and to compare how their performance in the five behaviours related to locomotor traits, testing if the results fit expected patterns for “locomotor superiority.” My proposal pushes the frontiers of experimental and computational analysis of movement by combining the best measurements of performance with the best digital tools, to predict how form and function are coordinated to optimize performance. Our rigorous, integrative analyses will revolutionize evolutionary biomechanics, enabling new inquiries into how behaviour relates to underlying traits or even palaeoecology, environments, biogeography, biotic diversity, disparity or other metrics.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Peter J. Bishop
Testing the function of dromaeosaurid (Dinosauria, Theropoda) ‘sickle claws’ through musculoskeletal modelling and optimization
published pages: e7577, ISSN: 2167-8359, DOI: 10.7717/peerj.7577
PeerJ 7 2019-11-14
2017 Alejandro Otero, Vivian Allen, Diego Pol, John R. Hutchinson
Forelimb muscle and joint actions in Archosauria: insights from Crocodylus johnstoni (Pseudosuchia) and Mussaurus patagonicus (Sauropodomorpha)
published pages: e3976, ISSN: 2167-8359, DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3976
PeerJ 5 2019-06-13
2019 Alejandro Otero, Andrew R. Cuff, Vivian Allen, Lauren Sumner-Rooney, Diego Pol, John R. Hutchinson
Ontogenetic changes in the body plan of the sauropodomorph dinosaur Mussaurus patagonicus reveal shifts of locomotor stance during growth
published pages: , ISSN: 2045-2322, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44037-1
Scientific Reports 9/1 2019-06-06
2018 Ashley M. Heers, Jeffery W. Rankin, John R. Hutchinson
Building a Bird: Musculoskeletal Modeling and Simulation of Wing-Assisted Incline Running During Avian Ontogeny
published pages: , ISSN: 2296-4185, DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2018.00140
Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 6 2019-06-06
2019 Andrew R. Cuff, Monica A. Daley, Krijn B. Michel, Vivian R. Allen, Luis Pardon Lamas, Chiara Adami, Paolo Monticelli, Ludo Pelligand, John R. Hutchinson
Relating neuromuscular control to functional anatomy of limb muscles in extant archosaurs
published pages: 666-680, ISSN: 0362-2525, DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20973
Journal of Morphology 280/5 2019-06-06
2019 Paolo Monticelli, Hayley L. Ronaldson, John R. Hutchinson, Andrew R. Cuff, Dario d’Ovidio, Chiara Adami
Medetomidine–ketamine–sevoflurane anaesthesia in juvenile Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) undergoing experimental surgery
published pages: 84-89, ISSN: 1467-2987, DOI: 10.1016/j.vaa.2018.09.004
Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia 46/1 2019-06-06
2018 Richard G. Ellis, Jeffery W. Rankin, John R. Hutchinson
Limb Kinematics, Kinetics and Muscle Dynamics During the Sit-to-Stand Transition in Greyhounds
published pages: , ISSN: 2296-4185, DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2018.00162
Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 6 2019-06-06

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