The winner of the 2023 Godfrey and Sue Hall Postgraduate Research Student Prize is Joe Bonsor, PhD student in the Department of Life Sciences.
Joe’s research ‘The true diversity of British dinosaurs’ looks at Iguanodon; the second dinosaur ever named which has since become a name for many dinosaurs that share morphological features or were found in similar places, the iguanodontians. The research has reassessed the diversity of iguanodontian dinosaurs, to place them in a broader global context, and to investigate how they lived and migrated during the Cretaceous period (145-66 million years ago). Through visiting the collections of museums to gather descriptions and measurements of specimens assigned to or closely related to Iguanodon, Joe used these data for comparative anatomical and morphometric studies, which allowed him to infer the evolutionary tree of the group and the sequence with which new attributes were acquired and evolved. As a result of his work, Joe has named a new genus and species of dinosaur, resurrected two previously supressed named genera, and supressed the names of several incorrectly identified specimens within the collections at the Natural History Museum. He has also produced a revised evolutionary history of this group using morphological character coding and completed a full redescription of an iconic British dinosaur, Mantellisaurus.
Professor Sarah Hainsworth, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Chair of the Prize Committee, said “The Committee were really impressed by the large number of high quality applications. The finalists all gave really engaging presentations and we had a long discussion about the different strengths of each presenter. It was also great to see the different ways in which the PhD researchers had delivered impact. We were delighted to announce Joe Bonsor as our overall winner. We are grateful to Sue and Godfrey Hall for their sponsorship of this prize.”
After receiving the award, Joe said, “I am very grateful to receive this award, especially given the incredible high standard of talks from all my fellow finalists. I’d like to thank Godfrey and Sue Hall, the Committee, my supervisors Matthew Wills, Paul Barrett and Susie Maidment, as well as all my lab mates and colleagues for their endless support throughout my PhD, without which this award would not have been possible”.
The Godfrey and Sue Hall Postgraduate Research Student Prize is awarded on behalf of Senate by the Godfrey and Sue Hall Postgraduate Research Student Prize Committee to a postgraduate research student based on a high standard of achievement. Sponsors of the award, Godfrey and Sue Hall said, “Joe has carried out a very impressive piece of research and worked extensively to produce evidence which has included the naming a new genus of dinosaurs. He should be congratulated on this quite amazing piece of research which has uncovered a wealth of material particularly on Iguanodon dinosaurs. We are extremely impressed in the way in which he has extended this knowledge to others through a wide range of media platforms, on YouTube and by personal contact with educational bodies worldwide. A very worthy winner!”