Dr Philip Cox
Lecturer in Physiology, HYMS, Hull



Phil studied for his PhD in the Museum of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, where he investigated the variation in the bony morphology of the mammalian orbital region. He subsequently moved to the Department of Musculoskeletal Biology, University of Liverpool where he undertook two consecutive postdoctoral positions: the first studying the morphological variation of the semicircular canals and extraocular muscles across mammals; and the second investigating the biomechanics of gnawing and chewing in rodents.


Current postion

Lecturer in Physiology at Hull York Medical School, Centre for Anatomical and Human Sciences



Phil’s research is principally concerned with the functional morphology and evolution of the skull in mammals, particularly rodents. He is interested in the influence that the masticatory muscles have on the shape of the skull and how different skull shapes have evolved. His research makes use of shape analysis techniques, such as geometric morphometrics, and computer modelling techniques, such as finite element analysis. He is currently collaborating with researchers from the Universities of Hull, Liverpool, Bristol and Cambridge in the UK, and also scientists at the Natural History Museum in Paris and Shinshu University in Japan.


  • Biomechanics of feeding in squirrels, guinea pigs and rats
  • Morphology of the masticatory muscles in hystricomorph rodents
  • Development of the skull in rats
  • Biomechanics of the proximal phalanx in horses


Full publications list

O'Hare LMS, Cox PG, Jeffery N, Singer R (2012). Finite element analysis of stress int eh equine proximal phalanx, Equine Veterinary Journal, DOI: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2012.00635.x

Hautier L, Lebrun R, Cox P G (2012). Patterns of Covariation in the Masticatory Apparatus of Hystocognathous Rodents: Implications for Evolution and Diversification, Journal of Morphology, DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20061

Cox PG, Rayfield EJ, Fagan MJ, Herrel A, Pataky TC, Jeffery N (2012). Functional evolution of the feeding system in rodents. PLoS ONE  7 (4): e36299.

Cox PG, Fagan MJ, Rayfield EJ, Jeffery N (2011). Finite element modelling of squirrel, guinea pig and rat skulls: using geometric morphometrics to assess sensitivity. Journal of Anatomy 219: 696-709.

Cox PG, Jeffery N (2011). Reviewing the morphology of the jaw-closing musculature in squirrels, rats and guinea pigs with contrast-enhanced microCT. Anatomical Record Part A 294: 915-928. [cover article]

Jeffery NS, Stephenson R, Gallagher JA, Jarvis JE, Cox PG (2011). Micro-computed tomography with iodine staining resolves the arrangement of muscle fibres. Journal of Biomechanics 44: 189-192.

Jeffery N, Cox PG (2010). Do agility and skull architecture influence geometry of the mammalian vestibulo-ocular reflex? Journal of Anatomy 216: 496-509.

Cox PG, Jeffery N (2010). Semicircular canals and agility: the influence of size and shape data. Journal of Anatomy 216: 37-47.

Cox PG, Jeffery N (2008). Geometry of the semicircular canals and extraocular muscles in rodents, lagomorphs, felids and modern humans. Journal of Anatomy 213: 583-596.

Cox PG (2008). A quantitative analysis of the eutherian orbit: correlations with masticatory apparatus. Biological Reviews 83: 35-69. [cover article]

Cox PG, Jeffery N (2007). Morphology of the mammalian vestibulo-ocular reflex: the spatial arrangement of the human fetal semicircular canals and extraocular muscles. Journal of Morphology 268: 878-890.

Cox PG (2006). Character evolution in the orbital region of the Afrotheria. Journal of Zoology 269: 514-526


Contact details

Dr Philip Cox
Lecturer in Physiology
Centre for Anatomical and Human Sciences, HYMS
University of Hull
Cottingham Road