Laura Hemmingham

Laura Hemmingham

Profile Display Name:

Laura Hemmingham

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2020 (Cohort 7)

Research interests:

Conservation Palaeobiology; Palaeoecology; Palaeobiology; Evolution and Adaptation

Hobbies and interests:

Being outdoors!

PhD Project
PhD Title

Dietary flexibility, niche differentiation and ecological resilience in the Quaternary Cervidae

Research Theme

Past Life and Environments

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution



Determining diet provides the foundation for understanding palaeoecological dynamics, including niche differentiation and community structure, and can be used to interpret ecological resilience throughout climate and environmental change. Dental Microwear Analysis (DMA) is a well-established technique of examining tooth enamel for distinctive microscopic scars made by certain food groups, which provides high-resolution insights into the organism’s dietary behaviour during the final weeks before death. This project will focus on Cervidae (deer), a widespread group in the Quaternary (last 2.6 million years), a period characterised by climate fluctuations and biotic turnovers, designating it a valuable period in which to study palaeoecological dynamics. This study will combine DMA with dental mesowear (providing longer-term dietary signals) alongside seasonality indications (obtained from tooth eruption and occlusal wear) to develop robust inferences about the feeding ecology and niche differentiation for Quaternary cervid species. These niche understandings will then be applied to a broader question of habitat suitability for Eld’s deer (Rucervus eldii), a species which is currently considered Endangered by the IUCN. This project will aim to model habitat with the aim to understand current, historical and potential future ranges of Eld’s deer.

Policy Impact
Background Reading
  • Publications


    Conferences and Workshops
    • Natural History Museum Annual Student Coference (June 2022). Poster: Wisdom from the teeth: What reindeer were eating during the Late Pleistocene.
    DTP Activities

    Social Links
    University Departmental Website:

    Personal Website:





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