I am interested in the processes and biological mechanisms that took place that caused the evolution and diversification of animal life on Earth. My research interests involve the study of the Ediacaran fossils preserved in the Flinders Ranges, which represent some of the earliest evidence of complex “animal” life on Earth. Limitations in the preservation of these Ediacaran fossils however, have made their interpretations a controversial topic among palaeontologists. Throughout my PhD my aim is to provide an objective perspective on these ancient fossils, and contribute towards the current knowledge of these enigmatic organisms.
My research involves investigating the palaeoecology of Ediacaran communities and the morphometrics of a specific genera Parvancorina, which is a small but numerous anchor-shaped fossil. Typical of Ediacaran fossils - there is no equivocal evidence to nominate Parvancorina within a particular clade, so one of my goals is to extract as much morphological information as possible from these fossils in a bid to find the most parsimonious and informative interpretation.
PhD in Ediacaran Palaeontology, University of Adelaide. Supervisors: Dr. Jim Gehling, Dr. Diego García-Bellido and Prof. Corey Bradshaw.
BSc Honours in Ediacaran Palaeontology, University of Adelaide, 2014
BSc (Evolutionary Biology, Molecular & Systematic Evolution), University of Adelaide, 2013
Awards & Achievements
Deans Commendation of Thesis Excellence - PhD - 2019
Faculty of Sciences Outstanding Academic Achievement Award - 2013
Coutts, F.C., Gehling, J.G. & García-Bellido, D., 2016. How diverse and complex were early animal communities? Evidence from an exceptionally preserved Ediacaran fossil bed from the Flinders Ranges, South Australia. Alcheringa: An Australiasian Journal of Palaeontology, 40(4): 407-421.
Felicity J. Coutts, Corey J.A. Bradshaw, Diego C. García-Bellido and James G. Gehling, 2018. Evidence of sensory-driven behavior in the Ediacaran organism Parvancorina: Implications and autecological interpretations. Gondwana Research 55: 21-29.
Emma Sherratt, Felicity J. Coutts, Arne R. Rasmussen, Kate L. Sanders, 2019. Vertebral evolution and ontogenetic allometry: The developmental basis of extreme body shape divergence in microcephalic sea snakes. Evolution & Development 21: 135-144.
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Entry last updated: Tuesday, 1 Oct 2019