Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Our research focuses on the evolutionary origins of human bones and their associated modern day orthopaedic problems. We are particularly interested in the evolutionary adaptations that have resulted in the current human skeleton.

Schematic model of a skeleton of the future.

In 2015, Paul Monk combined the collections for the Trillenium Human Project - to 3D print the skeleton of the future.

3D scans have been combined into a mathematical model, or morph. The morphs have been used not only to track the changes in shape through evolution but also to provide interesting insights into what shapes might be expected in the future.

The results of our work and the historical specimen resources available to the team means that this area of work is being expanded because this theme of research does offer the potential to improve treatments and prevent some of our worldwide orthopaedic problems. 

Trillenium hip

The group was established in 2009 by Paul Monk, working closely with Zoology Professor Fritz Vollrath. Early studies looked at knee evolution, the origins of anterior knee pain and instability, and the evolution of hip arthritis. Early support from the Academy of Medical Sciences allowed collaboration with the Natural History Museums of London and Oxford.

In 2013 Prof Jonathan Rees joined the group helping investigations into shoulder evolution, to better understand some of the modern shoulder problems that now exist and their potential relationship to evolutionary changes. As a fellow of Pembroke College' his involvement led to support from the Smithsonian UK Trust, and has resulted in an international collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute, Washington. Further expansion of the collections has grown to over 200 specimens.

Related research themes