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Dr Davide Foffa

Research Fellow

Dr Davide Foffa
Research Fellow
Research interests/expertise: Vertebrate palaeontology. Triassic terrestrial ecosystems; anatomy, systematics, ecology, and macroevolution of Mesozoic marine reptiles using micro-CT techniques, biomechanics, quantitative multivariate analyses.

Davide Foffa is a Research Fellow funded by the Royal Commission of the Exhibition of 1851.

Dr Foffa studied Geological Sciences as an undergraduate at University of Pisa, Italy. He then moved to the UK for a MSc in Palaeobiology at the University of Bristol. In 2018 he completed a PhD at the University of Edinburgh. Dr Foffa has then moved to the National Museums Scotland as Postdoctoral Research Fellow funded by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851

Dr Foffa's primary research focuses on the ecology and evolution of Mesozoic vertebrate ecosystems. His research is interdisciplinary and involves a wide range of topics with a focus on Triassic terrestrial and Jurassic marine faunas, which he investigates using both quantitative and qualitative techniques (taxonomy, systematics, µCT scanning techniques, comparative anatomy, biomechanics) on a variety of Mesozoic vertebrate groups (i.e. pseudosuchians, avemetatarsalians, thalattosuchians, plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, lepidosauromorphs). Particular areas of interests are: the origins, evolution and changes in taxonomic and ecological diversity through time, geographical and climate patterns of diversity.

Dr Foffa’s current project at National Museums Scotland focuses on the Triassic ‘Elgin Reptiles’ and the origins of modern fauna. The ‘Elgin reptiles’ from the Late Triassic Lossiemouth Sandstone Formation of Northern Scotland are thought to be the closest relatives to modern reptile lineages. Unfortunately, these animals are poorly known because of their preservation, which makes it difficult to study with traditional methods. Using µCT scanning techniques this project aims to obtain new data to better understand the origins, anatomy, and phylogenetic relationships and ecology of these important specimens.

For further information visit:

Ten Selected Publications

  1. Foffa D., Butler R.J., Nesbitt S.J., Stig W., Barrett P.M., Brusatte S.L., Fraser N.C. 2020. Revision of Erpetosuchus (Archosauria: Pseudosuchia) and new erpetosuchid material from the Late Triassic ‘Elgin Reptile’ fauna based on µCT scanning techniques. Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
  2. Foffa D., Johnson M.M., Young M.T., Steel L., Brusatte S.L. 2019. Revision of the Late Jurassic deep-water teleosauroid crocodylomorph Teleosaurus megarhinus Hulke, 1871 and evidence of pelagic adaptations in Teleosauroidea. PeerJ 7:e6646
  3. Foffa D., Young M.T., Stubbs T.L., Dexter K.G., Brusatte S.L. 2018. The long-term ecology and evolution of marine reptiles in a Jurassic seaway. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2: 1548–1555
  4. Foffa D., Young M.T., Brusatte S.L. 2018. Filling the Corallian gap: new information on Late Jurassic marine reptile faunas from England. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 63: 287–313
  5. Foffa D., Young M.T., Brusatte S.L., Graham M.R., Steel L. 2017. A new metriorhynchid crocodylomorph from the Oxford Clay Formation (Middle Jurassic) of England, with implications for the origin and diversification of Geosaurini. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology 16: 1123-1143
  6. Foffa D., Young M.T., Brusatte S.L. 2015. Evidence of macrophagous teleosaurid crocodylomorphs in the Corallian Group (Oxfordian, Late Jurassic) of the UK. PeerJ 3:e1497
  7. Foffa D., Young M.T. 2014. The Cranial Osteology of Tyrannoneustes lythrodectikos (Crocodylomorpha: Metriorhynchidae) from the Middle Jurassic of Europe. PeerJ 2:e608
  8. Foffa D., Cuff A.R., Sassoon J., Rayfield E.J., Mavrogorodato M.N., Benton M.J. 2014. Functional anatomy and feeding biomechanics of a giant Upper Jurassic pliosaur (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) from Weymouth Bay, Dorset, UK. Journal of Anatomy 225: 209-219   
  9. Foffa D., Cuff A.R., Sassoon J., Mavrogorodato M.N., Benton M.J. 2014. Complex rostral neurovascular system in a giant pliosaur. Naturwissenschaften 101: 453-456
  10. Foffa D., Whiteside D., Viegas P.A., Benton M.J. 2014. New vertebrate findings from the original Thecodontosaurus-bearing rocks of Durdham Down quarry, Clifton (Bristol, UK). Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 125: 317–328

For further publications see: National Museums Scotland Research Repository and Google Scholar

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