Project Description :
Fossoriality, a life dedicated to living underground, has evolved several times in mammals. However, we know very little about burrowing, in large part because animals burrow in opaque substrates (soil and sand).
In the Dumont lab, we study burrowing on moles. Moles are highly specialized diggers with specialized forelimb morphologies, including robust humeri, elongated scapulae and enlarged hands with six digits. In this project, we investigate how these derived morphologies increase the efficiency of burrowing in three North American moles. By using X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology (XROMM, http://www.xromm.org/), we are able to investigate the kinematics of forearm movements in Eastern moles. We are seeking to reveal the mystery of the burrowing mechanism in moles and understand how their musculoskeletal systems evolved to adapt to life underground.
We are seeking motivated students to aid us in taking care of captive moles and working on XROMM project. The student will gain experience and training in animal care and the latest XROMM technique.
Check out our research on New York Times: