Researchers at UCD


Gareth Dyke

Senior Lecturer

School Of Biology & Environment Science

Tel: +353 1 7162195


I studied for a joint honours degree in Geology and Biology at the University of Bristol and graduated in 1997 (first class honours). For my PhD (also at the University of Bristol, Earth Sciences) I worked on aspects of the fossil birds known from the Lower Eocene London Clay Formation of the UK (mostly the coast of Kent and Essex) and obtained this in 2000. For two years (2000-2002) I was a postdoctoral researcher (Frank Chapman Fund) at the American Museum of Natural History (Ornithology) before moving to Ireland in late 2002.

I am a Senior Lecturer ('Tenured Associate Professor) at University College Dublin.

In 2010-2011 I am a Senior Research Fellow at Queens University Belfast (School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology).



Peer Reviewed Journals

Wang, X., Csiki, Z., Ősi, A., and Dyke, G.J.; (2011) 'The first definitive record of a fossil bird from the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of the Haţeg Basin, Romania'. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 31 (1):227-230. [DOI] [Details]
Belevedere, M., Dyke, G.J., Hadri, M., and Ishigaki, S.; (2011) 'The oldest evidence for birds in Northern Gondwana?: Small tridactyl footprints from the Middle Jurassic of Msemrir (Morocco)'. Gondwana Research, 19 (2):542-549. [DOI] [Details]
Nudds, R.L., Kaiser, G.W. and Dyke, G.J. ; (2011) 'Scaling of primary feather length in birds'. PLoS ONE, 6(2) e15665 . [DOI] [Details]
Wang, X, Nudds, R.L., and Dyke, G.J.; (2011) 'The primary feather lengths of early birds with respect to avian wing shape evolution'. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24 (6):1226-1331. [DOI] [Details]
Kurochkin, E.N. and Dyke, G.J. ; (2011) 'The first fossil owls (Aves: Strigiformes) from the Paleogene of Asia and a review of the fossil record of Strigiformes'. Paleontological Journal, 45 (4):85-97. [DOI] [Details]
Wang, X., Dyke, G.J., Codrea, V., Godefroit, P. and Smith, T.; (2011) 'A euenantiornithine bird from the Late Cretaceous Haţeg Basin of Romania'. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, . [DOI] [Details]
Wilson, L.E., Chin, K., Cumbaa, S. and Dyke, G.J.; (2010) 'A high latitude hesperornithiform (Aves) from Devon Island: palaeobiogeography and size distribution of North American hesperornithiforms'. Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 9 (1):9-23. [DOI] [Details]
Nudds, R.L. and Dyke, G.J.; (2010) 'Narrow primary feather rachises in Confuciusornis and Archaeopteryx suggest poor flight ability'. Science, 328 :887-889. [Details]


Dyke, G.J.; (2010) Winged Victory: Modern birds, long thought to have arisen only after the dinosaurs perished, turn out to have lived alongside them. Scientific American 6th July 2010: Media Available Online [Details]


Research Interests

My research addresses the evolutionary history of birds and their dinosaurian relatives and encompasses phylogenetics, anatomy, functional morphology, palaeoecology, taphonomy, sedimentology and aerodynamics as well as the analysis and interpretation of large fossil-record datasets. My research prospectus is grounded in the fossil record - the most important dataset recording the history of life on Earth - but draws extensively on living animals.


(1) Phylogenetics of birds

Research on the fossil record of birds has yielded descriptions of new taxa and new characters that add critical information bearing on the shape of tree-of-life at several scales - dinosaurs, archaic fossil birds and modern avian phylogenetics. A large proportion of my publications record new fossils, either collected on my palaeontological expeditions or examined in museums worldwide.

(2) Functional morphology of Aves and non-avian dinosaurs

My research aims to unravel sequences of character evolution within, and between, the major avian lineages, as well as amongst non-avian theropod dinosaurs. Particular emphasis is placed on the appearance and refinement of the modern avian wing and aerodynamics (wing proportions, wing beat evolution) and skeletomuscular control. Much of my quantitative work is based on large measurement data sets, assembled by examination of living and fossil Aves and dinosaurs.

(3) Palaeoenvironments of fossil vertebrates

Much of my research effort - aimed at collecting and interpreting fossil vertebrates, particularly birds and dinosaurs - is based around fieldwork. I am interested in collecting and describing new taxa, but also in unravelling where, and how, these animalslived (palaeoecology). With emphasis on the transition in bird evolution across the end-Cretaceous extinction horizon (the well-known Cretaceous-Tertiary, or KT, boundary, 65 million years ago), I have worked on fossils collected in the last six years in the US, Mongolia, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Russia, Morocco and Libya.

For a complete list of my publications, please go to:

Please email me ( for PDFs of reprints.