Yale Peabody Museum Summer Internships
One of several skulls of the primitive theropod dinosaur Coelophysis to be used in this study.

3D Analysis of Dinosaur Skulls and the Origin of Birds

Advisor: Professor Bhart-Anjan S. Bhullar

Bhullar Lab, Geology & Geophysics / Vertebrate Paleontology / Vertebrate Zoology


Length: 8 weeks in the summer


Project Description:

Research in the Bhullar Lab is focused on reptilian evolution, especially the dinosaur-bird transition. We approach questions about major transitions in dinosaur evolution using a diversity of approaches, including molecular developmental biology and cutting-edge 3D x-ray analysis of fossils. Students working in the lab join a vibrant community of postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduates pursuing a range of projects, and have the opportunity to learn a multitude of techniques and, if they wish, to become involved in a number of different projects. Projects typically lead to one or more high-impact scientific publications on which interns are authors.


This internship will provide the opportunity to delve deeply into evolutionary and functional aspects of dinosaur skull anatomy. The selected student will help to conduct CT scans of several carnivorous dinosaur skulls, including juveniles, which we have hypothesized will show more birdlike or avian features. Combining traditional examination of the actual fossils, several of which are Yale Peabody Museum specimens, and advanced 3D analysis of CT scan data, the student will work with Professor Bhullar to determine ways in which the shapes of skull bones change during growth, and the ways in which the exteriors and interiors of dinosaurian skulls presage those of birds. No previous analyses have involved three-dimensional analysis of such exquisitely preserved skulls, especially from species that arose at the dawn of the age of dinosaurs. We expect many new insights to emerge from the proposed work with regard to the evolution of dinosaurs and the origin of birds. Previous work by the lab on this topic has been reported in online, radio, and print news sources like NPR, BBC, and The New York Times.


Stipend: $3000


CLICK HERE to apply!