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Dr Phil Cox

Tel: 01904 321744    |    |   @drphilcox

Hull York Medical School, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD

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I am currently a Lecturer in Physiology in the Centre for Anatomical and Human Sciences which is part of the Hull York Medical School and the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. I studied comparative mammalian functional morphology for my PhD in the University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge. After receiving my doctorate, I moved to the University of Liverpool to undertake a postdoctoral research project on the vestibulo-ocular reflex in mammals with Dr Nathan Jeffery. I remained in Liverpool to conduct a second postdoc, this time on the biomechanics of rodent skulls, before moving to York in January 2012.

My research is principally concerned with the mammalian skull and how it has been shaped by both evolution and function. I am particularly interested in how the forces generated by feeding can influence cranial morphology. I investigate these issues using a number of techniques such as geometric morphometrics and finite element analysis. I am fascinated by all mammals, and much of my work has taken the form of large studies comparing the different eutherian orders. However, my current research is particularly focused on the rodents, as they display unique and highly specialised adaptations of the teeth and masticatory muscles. My research can be followed on Google Scholar and Researchgate.

PhD Students

Philip Morris

Project title: 'The functional constraints of rodent-like feeding systems'

(co-supervised with Dr Sam Cobb)


Ewan Chipping

Project title: 'The functional morphology of British aurochs'

Sophie Macaulay

Project title: 'The evolution of locomotion in Archosauria'

(main supervisor Dr Karl Bates at the University of Liverpool)

Ryan Marek

Project title: 'The evolution of feeding ecology in birds'

(main supervisor Dr Karl Bates at the University of Liverpool)

If you are interested in doing a PhD with me, please get in touch at the above email address


MSc in Human Anatomy & Evolution

Module lead: Primate Ecology & Evolution

Co-ordinator for research projects

Undergraduate Medical Curriculum


Lead for Phase 1 Biopracticals (York)

SSIP in Anatomy: 'A Vertebrate History of Man'

Public engagement

I have given a number of public lectures and teaching sessions for the following organisations:

Cambridge Science Festival

The Prince's Teaching Institute

National Science Learning Centre


PhD positions

I am currently advertising two PhD positions:

"Functional morphology, ecological diversity, and extinction of the multituberculates"

This is a NERC-funded PhD position co-supervised by Sam Cobb (University of York) and Karl Bates (University of Liverpool) and is part of the 'Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment' doctoral training programme.

"Functional morphological adaptation to a changing environment in Pleistocene dormice"

This is an internally funded Graduate Teaching Assistant position, co-supervised by Nathan Jeffery (University of Liverpool) and Tori Herridge (Natural History Museum). The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to teaching support in the medical school (anatomy in the medical curriculum and MSc in Human Anatomy and Evolution).