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20172018

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Personal profile

Achievements

Following my passion and interest about paleontology and dinosaur evolution, I first attended the Bachelor courses in Natural Sciences at the University of Bologna (Italy). I graduated with the maximum score of 110/110 summa cum laude, presenting a historical and osteological revision of the beautiful specimen of the hadrosauroid Ouranosaurus nigeriensis Taquet, 1976. After that, the strong desire of knowledge drove me to enrol in the Organismic Biology, Evolution and Paleobiology Master at the Universität Bonn (Germany). I graduated with 1.3 (A), with the first histological analysis of pneumatic bones in saurischian dinosaurs. From October 2016 to September 2017 I have been a researcher at the VUB-Free University of Brussels, working on hadrosaur material with the people of the AMGC Research Group.

In 2010 and 2011 I searched for hadrosaurs fossils in the Pirenei Mountains, together with a crew of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain). In 2015, the hot, dry environment of the Nevada desert conquered my heart, while looking for marine reptiles with prof. Martin P. Sander, my MSc supervisor. In 2017, I partecipated in a private fieldwork in the Jurassic Morrison Formation in Wyoming, USA. 

Research Interests

Dinosaur palaeobiology is an affascinating field, that captivated my interested since I was a child. Thanks to my PhD research, I am covering a field that was never discussed in as much detail as others (like locomotion, metabolism, reproduction etc): the study of palaeopathological lesions and diseases, also called palaeopathology.

These specific type of fossils are extremely common in the ornithopod dinosaurs, herbivorous animals that roamed the Earth from the Middle Jurassic to the very end of the Cretaceous, 66 million of years ago. They speciated in a wide range of forms, from small bipedal and agile animals to large, heavy-built yet elegant species highly specialized in chewing the vegetation. They were also social animals, froming large herds of hundreds of individuals, and most likely this is the explanation for the elevated numbers in pathological lesions. 

Research Statement

The scope of my PhD is to understand the pathological rates in the ornithopod dinosaurs.

Palaeopathologies have always been considered as curiosities, single case-studies that could reveal aspects in the life-history of a single individual. But what if we take the next step? Can we postulate hypotheses about pathological rates in the entire population, between populations that lived in different environments, or even between different species in a phylogenetic sense?

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