Welcome to the homepage of the research group of Dr Richard Butler, based within the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, where we form part of the Geosystems Research Group and the Palaeobiology research theme. We are also associated with the Lapworth Museum of Geology. More information on our research at Birmingham is available here.
Above: a skull of the basal archosauromorph reptile Proterosuchus fergusi from the Early Triassic of South Africa (left). Bone histology of a new species of archosauromorph, Aenigmastropheus parringtoni, from the Late Permian of Tanzania (right).
Our research group focuses on the early evolutionary radiations of Archosauromorpha and Archosauria, major groups of vertebrates that include birds, dinosaurs, crocodilians, pterosaurs and many other extinct clades. Our work combines quantitative analysis of macroevolutionary and biogeographical patterns with cutting edge approaches to phylogeny (evolutionary trees), taxonomy and anatomy. Our aim is to provide new insights into how archosauromorphs radiated over the 50 million years of Triassic, following the devastating end-Permian mass extinction, to shape and dominate terrestrial ecosystems for nearly 150 million years (from the Late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous). We are also researching a diverse range of other topics relating to the evolutionary history of Mesozoic vertebrates, particularly dinosaurs.
Our research is currently funded primarily by awards to Richard Butler from the European Research Council (Starting Grant), Emmy Noether Program of the German Research Foundation, and a Career Integration Grant through the Marie Curie Actions. We also receive funding from a variety of other sources, including National Geographic, Synthesys, NERC and the Jurassic Foundation.