Rex Mitchell

Jaws reveal Australia's ancient marsupial panda


D. Rex Mitchell, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher
Center for Anatomical Sciences
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
University of North Texas Health Science Center
Ft. Worth, TX 76107

Ph.D. Zoology (Functional Morphology), University of New England, Australia (2019).
BSc (Hons), University of New England, Australia (2015).

Curriculum Vitae


Rex Skulls 3

Rex studies the relationships between diet and skull shape and structure. His fundamental interests lie in community-level ecology and he explores this through the lens of functional morphology. By employing shape analysis (geometric morphometrics) and biomechanical modelling (finite element analysis), he examines the skull across different species to identify relationships between form and function in the vertebrate masticatory apparatus. In doing so, he aims to illustrate how various adaptations and constraints associated with craniomandibular anatomy may mediate niche dynamics and ultimately influence community structure. His primary research has examined herbivorous diprotodont marsupials, with a focus on kangaroos and their relatives (Macropodiformes).

Current Projects

  • Ontogeny and functional morphology of the rodent skull
  • Craniomandibular morphology and pathology in primates
  • Cranial morphology and feeding ecology in marsupial herbivores


Selected Publications

Mitchell, D. R. (2019). The anatomy of a crushing bite: the specialised cranial mechanics of a giant extinct kangaroo. PLOS ONE. 14(9): e0221287.

Mitchell, D. R., & Wroe, S. (2019). Biting mechanics determines craniofacial morphology among extant diprotodont herbivores: Dietary predictions for the giant extinct short-face kangaroo, Simosthenurus occidentalis. Paleobiology. 45(1): 167–181.

Mitchell, D. R., Sherratt, E., Sansalone, G., Ledogar, J. A., Flavel, R. J., & Wroe, S. (2018). Feeding biomechanics influences craniofacial morphology at the sub-species scale among Australian pademelons (Macropodidae: Thylogale). Journal of Mammalian Evolution 27, 199–209.

Mitchell, D. R., Sherratt, E., Ledogar, J. A., & Wroe, S. (2018). The biomechanics of foraging determines face length among kangaroos and their relatives. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 285(1881): 20180845.




This page was last modified on May 28, 2020