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Dr Thomas O'Mahoney


Faculty of Science and Engineering
Life Sciences
Areas of Expertise:
Anatomy and physiology
Research Supervision:

Thomas is a biological anthropologist with expertise in 3D imaging, developmental anatomy, and palaeoanthropology.

His research is interdisciplinary, covering multiple aspects of human and animal anatomy with applications in both biomedical and forensic sciences.

[email protected]

View Thomas' ResearchGate profile

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Tom was appointed as Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences in 2020. His lab group focusses on developmental anatomy and imaging and makes extensive use of the School of Life Sciences' dedicated facilities for imaging and analysis.

Tom joined ARU in February 2019 after completing his PhD on morphometrics at the University of Manchester as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow on the project “The evolution of language: insights from laryngeal anatomy”. He oversees the 3D work packages for this and as part of this project has developed new machine-learning based workflows. He also helps to look after the Harrison Mammalian larynx collection, which is curated at ARU.

Tom’s research to date has been mainly focussed on human developmental, primate, and avian anatomy as well as Palaeolithic archaeology. He is especially interested in the development of automated techniques for the processing of 3D data and increasingly, the application of machine learning to this.

He is also interested in the refinement of developmental data for forensic purposes and the combination of structural and chemical signatures of bone growth and mineralisation.

Spoken Languages

  • French
  • English

Research interests

  • Evolutionary anatomy
  • Embryology and foetal anatomy
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Geometric morphometrics
  • Human evolution
  • Advanced imaging techniques
  • Machine learning

Areas of research supervision

  • Functional anatomy
  • Embryological/foetal anatomy
  • Developmental anatomy
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Human and primate evolution
  • 3D imaging and image processing
  • Morphometrics
  • Mammalian ecomorphology
  • Machine learning in biological systems



PhD in Environmental Biology, University of Manchester

MSc in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology, University College London

BA (Hons) in Archaeology, University of Bristol

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Member of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Member of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution (ESHE)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

2021: QR funding “Increasing the 3D imaging capabilities of the School of Life Sciences” (£10,000)

2020: Erasmus+ Staff collaborative exchange to Amsterdam Medical Centre

2015: Shapeways inc. “3D printing Lucy”.

Reviewer for: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences; American Journal of Primatology; Journal of Morphology; Archaeologies.

Consultant to Polyga inc. on research applications of 3d imaging (two white papers/blog articles)

2019 BABAO recommendations on the ethical issues surrounding 2D and 3D digital imaging of human remains (PDF). Written as part of a working group.

Advisor to Turkana Basin Institute-African Fossils Project.

Contributor to Manchester Museum temporary exhibits:

  • Humans in Ancient Britain: Rediscovering Neanderthals
  • Gift for the Gods: Animal Mummies revealed (multiple venues)

Selected recent publications

O'Mahoney, T. G., Lowe, T., Chamberlain, A. T., Sellers, W. I., 2022. Endostructural and periosteal growth of the human humerus. The Anatomical Record. doi: doi.org/10.1002/ar.25048

O’Mahoney, T., Mcknight, L., Lowe, T., Mednikova, M., Dunn, J. C., 2020 (preprint). A machine learning based approach to the segmentation of microCT data in archaeological and evolutionary sciences. Resubmitted to PeerJ, preprint available at BiorXiV. doi: 10.1101/859983

Brassey, C. O'Mahoney, T*. Sellers, W. I., 2018. A volumetric technique for fossil body mass estimation applied to Australopithecus afarensis. Journal of Human Evolution, 115, pp. 47-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.07.014 *(Joint First author, listed second).

Brassey, C. A., Kitchener, A. O’Mahoney, T., Manning, P., Sellers, W. I., 2016. Convex-hull mass estimates of the dodo (Raphus cucullatus): application of a CT-based mass estimation technique. PeerJ, 4, e1432. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1432

O'Mahoney, T., 2014. Digital recording and reconstruction of the Wilczyce perinatal skeleton. In: Schild, R. (Ed)., 2014. Wilczyce, a Late Magdalenian winter hunting camp in southern Poland (Warsaw: Polish Academy of Sciences Press).

Recent presentations and conferences

(Since 2020)

2022: O’Mahoney, T. Analysing growth of the human foetal scapula using geometric morphometrics. Presentation, BABAO annual meeting.

2022: Pope, C., O’Mahoney, T. An Analysis of Bone Bioerosion in a Model Mammalian Organism using Controlled Substrate Environments. Poster, BABAO annual meeting.

2022: Pereira-Marques-Filipe, B., O’Mahoney, T. A. Geometric Morphometric Approach to Ageing the Foetal Clavicle. Poster, BABAO annual meeting.

2022: Sharman, Z., O’Mahoney, T. A. Geometric Morphometric Analysis of Clavicle Growth from Birth to 18 years in Populations from Contrasting Environments. Poster, BABAO annual meeting.

2022: O’Mahoney, T. Analysing growth of the human foetal scapula using geometric morphometrics. Flash talk and poster, Anatomical Research Society Meeting, University College Dublin.

2021: O’Mahoney, T. The evolution of the primate larynx: the known, the unknown and the unknowable. Invited talk, Departmental Seminar, Northumbria University.

2021: Marques-Pereira-Filipe, B., O’Mahoney, T. Foetal development of the human clavicle: A geometric morphometric approach. Poster, Anatomical Society research meeting.

2020: Evolutionary developmental anatomy: insights from living and fossil perspectives. Departmental seminar, Amsterdam University Medical Center.

2020: Evolution of the primate vocal tract-the known, the unknown and the unknowable. Departmental Seminar, University of Oxford.