Soledad De Esteban-Trivigno
Since I was a student I was mystified for how evolution works. I would like to understand how evolution operates to generate / restrict morphological diversity. For me (a palaeontologist’s point of view with few or no access to genetic data) that mean to analyse changes in morphology in the light of phylogenetic and functional constrains.
At the end of my degree I became fascinated by xenarthrans, as they are so unique, mostly unknown, strange mammals. In consequence, I did my PhD developing ecomorphological analysis and body mass estimation on mainly Pleistocene gliptodonts and ground sloths. As so many ecological and physiological characteristics correlate with body mass, accurate estimations are very important in palaeontology.
Now I keep working with them, trying to identify patterns of integration in the xenarthran skull with the help of geometric morphometrics methods, with the aim of understand why they had (and have) this huge disparity in comparison with other clades of mammals.
Despite my personal obsession with xenarthrans, I like to collaborate with colleagues working with other vertebrates, always a good occasion to get new points of view, and to learn more about animal diversity and evolution.
Research topics: Body mass estimation, geometric morphometrics, finite element analysis, comparative phylogenetic methods, integration and modularity, ecomorphology, functional analysis, Xenarthra.