My PhD research focuses on the tail anatomy of non-avian theropod dinosaurs, which includes the big carnivores like Tyrannosaurus and Albertosaurus. I perform dissections on modern animals and look for relationships between tail bone structure (which would be preserved in the fossil record) and tail musculature and flexibility. Some dinosaur tail muscles were connected to their leg bones (as well as to their hips), so my work has direct implications for assessments of dinosaur speed. I am also concerned with charting evolutionary trends in tail morphology across the theropod lineage and with the specialization of different tail forms in different theropod groups.
I am originally from North Carolina and completed an undergraduate degree at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. My undergraduate research included paleoecology assessments of Triceratops-tooth-rich microsites in the Lance Formation of Wyoming along with a critical evaluation of the presumed relationship between foot size (relative to body mass) and habitat preference, based on the footprints of present African mega fauna that I measured on the Serengeti Plain of Tanzanian. My senior honors project was a study on the Ediacaran (Precambrian) fauna of the Boston Basin.
W. Scott Persons, Post-Doc
Office: Z 413, Biological Sciences
Phone: 1 (780) 492-1252