PhD entitled: “Patterns of variation of the dental topography in extant and extinct mammals »

Please find enclosed a proposal for a Ph. D. dissertation entitled: “Patterns of variation of the dental topography in extant and extinct mammals: Tridimensional characterization and developmental, functional and phylogenetic implications”; The Ph. D. will be achieved at iPHEP (UMR CNRS 7262, Institut de Paléoprimatologie et Paléontologie Humaine, UFR Sciences, Université de Poitiers), starting in October 2013 (3-years length).

This Ph. D. will be supervised by Pr. P. Vignaud, Dr. F. Guy, and Dr. V. Lazzari.

The candidate should provide to the supervisors (contacts here below): a curriculum vitae, a cover letter outlining his/her motivations and a transcript (master degree) before May the 10th, 2013. All the eligible candidates will be interviewed by a jury (phone) in the middle of May 2013 (the schedule will be precised to applicants).


Subject summary
Tooth is a central element in many fields of investigation as a key tissue for taxonomic identification, phylogenetic or biological inferences. In this regard, many aspects of the teeth size and shape have been considered by researchers over the last century, from detailed description of the occlusal morphology to the characterization of the underlying developmental processes of the tooth form, including quantification of various dimensional aspects of the teeth by a wide variety of descriptors.
The aim of the research project is to develop a range of original tridimensional morphological and topographical descriptors of the dental tissues (enamel and enamel dentine junction) to be applied to the understanding of evolutionary and functional aspects of the emergence of key dental patterns – at the level of enamel and enamel dentine junction – among selected mammals (e.g., muroids and anthropoids).
The Ph. D. student will conduct his/her analysis from 3D X-ray microtomographic data of extant and extinct mammal teeth. A set of original tools for data processing will be applied to the each tooth in order to extract the quantitative descriptors of the enamel and enamel-dentine junction topography. The Ph. D. student will have to 1) acquire his/her own data – microtomographical acquisition of a suitable teeth sample (especially premolars and molars); 2) develop and improve the existing tools developed at iPHEP; 3) finally obtain a comprehensive topographical and morphological characterization of the dental tissues – and of their relationships – to be interpreted in evolutionary (including paleobiogeographical and chronological aspects) and functional contexts.

The required capabilities include: dental anatomy, mammal systematics and evolution, statistical analysis, aptitude in programming and computer graphics.


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