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Professor David Martill

Professor of Palaeobiology

David Martill


I am a reader in palaeobiology. I work mainly on the palaeobiology of pterosaurs and exceptional preservation of fossil vertebrates. I am particularly interested in cretaceous with projects on the dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight and the palaeoecology of the Crato Formation, Brazil.

Research Interests

The preservation of fossil soft tissues: mechanisms and palaeobiology

Work concentrating mainly on phosphatised soft tissues with high fidelity morphological resolution. Investigating chemistry and rates of process. Comparisons with recent material and actualistic experiments. Also work on preservation of organically preserved soft structures of Mesozoic marine reptiles and birds (especially feathers).

Palaeoecology of the Crato lagoon, Araripe Basin, N. E. Brazil

The Crato Formation conservation Lagerst├Ątte is one of the most productive sites for Gonwanan insects and pterosaurs. Currently investigating the extent of fossil bearing horizons, facies relationships of its members and distribution of taxa geographically and temporally.

Trophic structure of marine mudrock sequences

Investigating complexity of ancient food webs in palaeoenvironmnetal settings where fossil record is considered good to exceptional. Using exceptional fossils (e.g. with stomach contents preserved), comparative anatomy and paradigm approaches. Geochemistry, including trace element and stable isotope methods. Concentrating on Jurassic Oxford Clay and Kimmeridge Clay formations.

The palaeobiology of pterosaurs

Investigating modes of bone growth and palaeophysiology of pterosaurs using exceptionally preserved examples from the Cretaceous Crato and Santana formations of the Araripe Basin, Brazil. Additional work using pterosaurs from northern Chile and Isle of Wight, UK.

The diversity of dinosaurs

Studies concentrate on diversity and morphology of local Early Cretaceous dinosaur faunas of the English Weladen Group. Also work on South American dinosaur faunas and biogeography of Early Cretaceous dinosaur.

Diversity of Pterosaurs

A joint project with palaeontology artist Luis Rey detailing the diversity of the Pterosauria.

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