Professor John R. Hutchinson

I’m a biologist originally from the USA who now resides in the UK as a dual citizen, and a Professor of Evolutionary Biomechanics at The Royal Veterinary College. I received my BS degree in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin in 1993, then obtained my PhD in Integrative Biology at the University of California with Kevin Padian in 2001, and rounded out my training with a two-year National Science Foundation bioinformatics Post Doc at the Biomechanical Engineering Division of Stanford University with Scott Delp. I started at the RVC as a Lecturer in Evolutionary Biomechanics in 2003 in the Department of Veterinary Basic Sciences and was promoted to Reader in 2008, then Professor in 2011. I work in the Structure & Motion Lab.

My interests are in the evolutionary biomechanics of locomotion, especially in large terrestrial vertebrates. I’ve studied birds, extinct dinosaurs and their relatives, elephants, and crocodiles. I study how locomotion works in individual species in order to reconstruct how locomotion has evolved across vast phylogenetic spans. In particular, I’m curious how body size influences locomotor abilities and how anatomy and function are related (or not). I have worked with a wide range of land vertebrates, and I use as many techniques as my team can muster. Dinosaurs (including birds), elephants, crocodiles, early tetrapods and more species have been favourite subjects of my research. Broiler chickens are of interest to me because I find birds fascinating, because broilers have been evolved into very strange and interesting forms with complex problems, and because I want to help animals live better lives — working under the constraints of the real world and its many exigencies.

I am an Associate Editor for Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences),  the new open access journal PeerJ, and the ISRN Evolutionary Biology journal. From 2012-2013 I am a Senior Research Fellow funded by the Royal Society Leverhulme Trust. I have won the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology’s Romer Prize (2000), am an elected Fellow of the Linnean Society and Society of Biology, and was awarded the Charles Darwin lecture at the British Science Festival in 2012 as well as the RCVS Share Jones Lecture in Veterinary Anatomy in 2011.