The DAWNDINOS research team works within the Structure & Motion Lab at the Royal Veterinary College and is based at its Hertfordshire campus. The SML addresses key questions about how living and extinct animals are structured, how they move, how movement is controlled and what limits performance.

John Hutchinson

John Hutchinson_2John is a biologist originally from the USA who now resides in the UK as a dual citizen, and a Professor of Evolutionary Biomechanics at The Royal Veterinary College. He received his BS degree in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin in 1993, then obtained his PhD in Integrative Biology at the University of California with Kevin Padian in 2001, and rounded out his training with a two-year National Science Foundation bioinformatics Post Doc at the Biomechanical Engineering Division of Stanford University with Scott Delp. John started at the RVC as a Lecturer in Evolutionary Biomechanics in 2003 in the Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences and was promoted to Reader in 2008, then Professor in 2011.

His interests are in the evolutionary biomechanics of locomotion, especially in large terrestrial vertebrates. He’s studied birds, extinct dinosaurs and their relatives, elephants, and crocodiles and looks at how locomotion works in individual species in order to reconstruct how locomotion has evolved across vast phylogenetic spans. In particular he’s interested in how body size influences locomotor abilities and how anatomy and function are related (or not). John has worked with a wide range of land vertebrates, and uses as many techniques as his team can muster. Dinosaurs (including birds), elephants, crocodiles, early tetrapods and more species have been favourite subjects of his research.

John is an Associate Editor for Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences),  the new open access journal PeerJ, and the ISRN Evolutionary Biology journal. From 2012-2013 he was a Senior Research Fellow funded by the Royal Society Leverhulme Trust. He won the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology’s Romer Prize (2000), and was elected Fellow of the Linnean Society and Society of Biology, and was awarded the Charles Darwin lecture at the British Science Festival in 2012 as well as the RCVS Share Jones Lecture in Veterinary Anatomy in 2011.



Vivian Allen


Vivian is a research scientist specialising in computerised methods for studying the evolution of locomotion. After a BSc in Archaeology and Geology and an MSc in Palaebiology at the University of Bristol, Vivian completed a PhD in the biomechanics of dinosaur locomotion under Prof John Hutchinson in 2011. Prior to joining the DawnDinos team he  worked on the biomechanics of sprawling locomotion in lizards and crocodiles at the Unversity of Jena, and on the function and evolution of sesamoids bones in birds at the RVC.


Selected publications:

  1. Hutchinson, J.R. and Allen, V., 2009. The evolutionary continuum of limb function from early theropods to birds. Naturwissenschaften96(4), pp.423-448.
  2. Allen, V., Paxton, H. and Hutchinson, J.R., 2009. Variation in center of mass estimates for extant sauropsids and its importance for reconstructing inertial properties of extinct archosaurs. The Anatomical Record292(9), pp.1442-1461.
  3. Allen, V., Bates, K.T., Li, Z. and Hutchinson, J.R., 2013. Linking the evolution of body shape and locomotor biomechanics in bird-line archosaurs. Nature497(7447), pp.104-107.
  4. Allen, V., Molnar, J., Parker, W., Pollard, A., Nolan, G. and Hutchinson, J.R., 2014. Comparative architectural properties of limb muscles in Crocodylidae and Alligatoridae and their relevance to divergent use of asymmetrical gaits in extant Crocodylia. Journal of anatomy225(6), pp.569-582.

Andrew Cuff

Andrew PictureAndrew is a postdoctoral researcher in biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College. He received his PhD from the University of Bristol after studying the functional mechanics of ornithomimosaur dinosaurs. Andrew has worked on a wide range of species including fish, mammals, dinosaurs (both avian and non-avian), and crocodiles. Using a combination of skeletal morphology, dissections, experiments, and computer modelling of modern animals, his research helps to understand not just living species but make more accurate reconstructions of extinct species and answering of broader evolutionary questions.

 Selected Publication : https://peerj.com/manuscripts/3519/

Krijn Michel

Profile_Krijn1Krijn did his MSc in Marine Biology in 2010 at the University of Groningen, where he was involved in research studies on filter feeding in Ghost Shrimp. He also studied the effect of knocking out the lateral line sensory system in swimming Golden Shiners, under the supervision of Dr Matthew McHenry at UC Irvine.

His interest and collaborations led him to pursue a PhD in the Functional morphology at the University of Antwerp supervised by Dr Sam Van Wassenbergh and Prof Peter Aerts. He studied the biomechanics involved in the fish feeding system, in fish known to feed on land.

Krijn joined the RVC’s structure and motion lab in December 2015 to aid in the study of locomotion and morphology in salamanders. Currently, Krijn is working on the DAWNDINOS project under John Hutchinson as well as providing technical support for the project.

 Louise Kermode

Louise July_2_2017Louise is the research administrator working on the ERC funded DAWNDINOS project and provides project management to support the research team on a wide range of activities. She is responsible for reporting on  project progress to the European Research Council, organising science outreach events and maintaining the team’s website. Louise has a background in project management and knowledge transfer within a research environment having previously worked in a similar capacity in the RVC‘s Pathobiology and Population Sciences dept. Louise has a BSc and Master’s degree in human & animal nutrition from Kings College, London.