Christopher Stockey

Postgraduate Research Student

School/Department: Geography, Geology & The Environment, School of



I am a final year PhD student investigating how different ecologies diversified throughout geological time. I analyse which ecologies were selected against in climate change driven extinction events that are similar to the current mass extinction we find ourselves in. This creates a meaningful baseline for future analysis of the effects of modern global warming - particularly when considering the stability and resilience of ecosystems as a whole rather than individual species. I perform my analyses through a suite of methods called dental topographic metrics that allow us to infer diet from 3D tooth morphology. I particularly focus on the fossil records of the first vertebrate predators a group of fish called conodonts that made up a considerable component of marine ecosystems for over 300 million years.


Chris is a palaeobiologist working to understand the interactions between life and the environment throughout Earth history. Chris addresses the critical questions of how ecologies and life modes have diversified through geological time which are most vulnerable to climate change driven extinction how resilient ecosystems are to their loss and how quickly they can recover. Chris focuses on a group of abundant and diverse jawless fish called conodonts to investigate this. He is funded funded by the CENTA NERC DTP. Chris continues to work on projects from his previous posts including the evolution of modern fish and use of palaeocolour to reconstruct the ecologies of extinct animals.


(0) Stockey, C., et al. (2022) Application of dental topographic metrics to orthopteran mandibles demonstrates their efficacy in dietary analyses of non-homologous dental tools. Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

Dearden, R.P, Stockey, C. & Brazeau, M.D. (2019) The pharynx of the stem-chondrichthyan Ptomacanthus and the early evolution of the gnathostome gill skeleton. Nature Communications, 10(1), p.2050. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-10032-3

Cuff, A., Stockey, C. & Goswami, A. (2017) The endocranial morphology of the extinct North American lion (Panthera atrox).  Brain, Behavior and Evolution. 88(3- 4), pp. 213-221. DOI:10.1159/000454705



President’s Prize. Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting 2022 best talk. Marked for quality importance impact and communication of science. From 1:20 Specimen Standoff Winner. Oxford University Museum of Natural History 2019. Winner of the best presentation at an outreach event for the general public explaining specialist science to a diverse audience. Judged by both the public and a professional committee. Best Newcomer Talk Prize. CENTA Conference 2019. Full talk. 


Full talks: Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting (2021; President’s Prize Winner [from 1:20] Progressive Palaeontology (2021 2020); CENTA Conference (2019; Best “Newcomer” Talk Prize Winner) Lightning talks: Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting (2020); Progressive Palaeontology (2019 2018) Poster sessions: EGU Galileo Conference: Mass extinctions recovery & resilience (2019) The Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting (2019 2018 2017) 
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