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Philip Anderson

Associate Professor

Primary Affiliation

Photoacoustic Imaging


Status Affiliate Faculty

Home Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior




  • Biography

    Philip Anderson is an associate professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior. He is an Evolutionary Biologist and Paleontologist who studies comparative evolutionary biomechanics in both vertebrates and invertebrates. 


    • B.S., Carleton College, MN
    • Ph.D., University of Chicago, IL
  • Honors
  • Research

    Teaching Interests:

    • Biomechanics

    • Comparative Anatomy

    Philip Anderson's research involves experimental and theoretical biomechanical analyses in conjunction with evolutionary comparative methods on both living and extinct taxa to address how fundamental laws of physics influence evolutionary processes. This work is question-based and has involved a range of organismal groups from fossil fishes and early tetrapods to modern mammals and crustaceans. Current focuses include: combining kinematics and fracture mechanics to examine the evolution of biological cutting/puncture systems; biomechanical and morphological diversification in deep time; and evolution of multi-part biomechanical systems.

  • 2021

    • Clark, DL, Hauber, ME & Anderson, PSL 2021. Nest substrate and tool shape significantly affects the mechanics and energy requirements of avian eggshell puncture. Journal of Experimental Biology, 224 (8). DOI: 10.1242/jeb.238832
    • Higham, T. E., Ferry, L. A, Schmitz, L., Irschick, D. J., Starko, S., Anderson, P. S. L., et al. 2021. Linking ecomechanical models and functional traits to understand phenotypic diversity. TREE. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2021.05.009


    • Anderson, PSL, Rivera, MD & Suarez, A 2020, '“Simple” Biomechanical Model for Ants Reveals How Correlated Evolution among Body Segments Minimizes Variation in Center of Mass as Heads Get Larger', Integrative and comparative biology, vol. 60, no. 5, pp. 1193-1207. DOI: 10.1093/icb/icaa027
    • Crofts, SB, Smith, SM & Anderson, PSL 2020, 'Beyond Description: The Many Facets of Dental Biomechanics', Integrative and comparative biology, vol. 60, no. 3, pp. 594-607. DOI: 10.1093/icb/icaa103


    • Anderson, PSL, Crofts, SB, Kim, JT & Chamorro, LP 2019, 'Taking a stab at quantifying the energetics of biological puncture', Integrative and comparative biology, vol. 59, no. 6, pp. 1586-1596. DOI: 10.1093/icb/icz078
    • Crofts, SB, Lai, Y, Hu, Y & Anderson, PSL 2019, 'How do morphological sharpness measures relate to puncture performance in viperid snake fangs?', Biology Letters, vol. 15, no. 4, 20180905. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0905


    • Anderson, PSL 2018, 'Making a point: Shared mechanics underlying the diversity of biological puncture', Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 221, no. 22. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.187294
    • Baumgart, A & Anderson, P 2018, 'Finding the weakest link: Mechanical sensitivity in a fish cranial linkage system', Royal Society Open Science, vol. 5, no. 10, 181003. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.181003
    • Crofts, SB & Anderson, PSL 2018, 'The influence of cactus spine surface structure on puncture performance and anchoring ability is tuned for ecology', Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 285, no. 1891, 20182280. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.2280


    • Hu, Y, Nelson-Maney, N & Anderson, PSL 2017, 'Common evolutionary trends underlie the four-bar linkage systems of sunfish and mantis shrimp', Evolution, vol. 71, no. 5, pp. 1397-1405. DOI: 10.1111/evo.13208