The Smaers lab is dedicated to the macroevolutionary study of the mammalian brain and skeletal system. The lab investigates comparative differences in neural structure and skeletal morphology, and draws information from recent advances in molecular phylogenetic inference to estimate how traits have changed across millions of years of evolution. The primary objective is to elucidate the evolutionary pathways that underlie present-day variation, and investigate how anatomical changes in deep time relate to diversity, adaptation and function. Central research questions include: Which mechanisms of change underlie extant diversity? Are some species/traits more ‘evolvable’ than others? The empirical focus lies with traits that are of key relevance to understanding mammalian, primate, and human evolution. Core topics include the evolution of the primate and mammalian brain, the macroevolutionary morphology of the mammalian skeletal system, and phylogenetic comparative methodology.