Slender skinks: The evolution of elongated and limbless lizard bodies

Gronovi's Dwarf Burrowing Skink (Scelotes gronovii)  Image by Marius Burger (Public Domain)

Image by Marius Burger (Public Domain)

The loss of legs has evolved many times in squamates - that's lizards and snakes - and with this is usually an elongate, slender body.

This project will examine the vertebral column diversity using the sphenomorphine skinks as an excellent evolutionary experiment to test how and why this body form has evolved. 

This project will train you in cutting-edge morphometric methods, the statistical analysis of shape, and give you experience in museum collections. 

Supervisor Dr Emma Sherratt is an expert is the statistical analysis of shape, and co-supervisor Professor Mark Hutchinson is a world-leading herpetologist and honorary researcher at the South Australian Museum.

Relevant references for this project include:


Dr Emma Sherratt


Dr Emma Sherratt

Co-supervisor: Professor Mark Hutchinson - South Australian Museum

Research area: Quantitative Morphology Group, School of Biological Sciences

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Evolution and Palaeobiology

Tagged in Honours projects - Evolution and palaeobiology, Honours projects - Ecology and environmental science, Honours projects - Emma Sherratt