Dr Thomas O'Mahoney

Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences

Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

School:Life Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Anatomy and physiology

Research Supervision:Yes

Thomas is a biological anthropologist with expertise in 3d imaging, developmental anatomy, and, palaeoanthropology. His research is interdisciplinary covering multiple aspects of human and animal anatomy with applications in both biomedical and forensic sciences.



Tom was appointed as lecturer in Biomedical Sciences in 2020.

Tom joined ARU in February 2019 after completing his PhD on morphometrics at the University of Manchester and is currently working on the project “The evolution of language: insights from laryngeal anatomy”. He oversees the 3D work packages for this and as part of this project has developed new machine-learning based workflows. He also helps to look after the Harrison Mammalian larynx collection, which is curated at the Duckworth Collection, University of Cambridge.

Tom’s research to date has been mainly focussed on human developmental, primate, and, avian anatomy as well as Palaeolithic archaeology. He is especially interested in the development of automated techniques for the processing of 3D data and increasingly, the application of machine learning to this. He is also interested in the refinement of developmental data for forensic purposes and the combination of structural and chemical signatures of bone growth and mineralisation.

Spoken Languages

English, French

Research interests

  • Evolutionary anatomy
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Geometric morphometrics
  • Human evolution
  • Advanced imaging techniques
  • Machine learning.

Areas of research supervision

Tom is interested in supervising students in the following areas:

  • Functional anatomy
  • Forensic anthropology
  • Human and primate evolution
  • 3d imaging and image processing
  • Morphometrics
  • Mammalian ecomorphology
  • Machine learning in biological systems


BSc (Hons) Crime and Investigative Studies, BSc (Hons) Forensic Science and BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science

Module leader for Preparation for Research

Module leader for Forensic Anthropology

Contributor to Mass Fatality Incidents and Applied Science for Forensic Investigators


PhD in Environmental Biology, University of Manchester

MSc in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology, University College London

BA (Hons) in Archaeology, University of Bristol

Memberships, editorial boards

Member of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Member of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution (ESHE)

Visiting Scholar – McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

2020: Erasmus+ Stafff collaborative exchange to Amsterdam Medical Centre

2015: Shapeways inc. “3D printing Lucy”.

Reviewer for: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences; American Journal of Primatology; Journal of Morphology; Archaeologies.

Consultant to Polyga inc. on research applications of 3d imaging (2 white papers/blog articles)

2019 BABAO recommendations on the ethical issues surrounding 2D and 3D digital imaging of human remains. Written as part of a working group.  https://www.babao.org.uk/assets/Uploads/BABAO-Digital-imaging-code-2019.pdf

Advisor to Turkana Basin Institute-African Fossils Project.

Contributor to Manchester Museum temporary exhibits:

  • Humans in Ancient Britain: Rediscovering Neanderthals
  • Gift for the Gods: Animal Mummies revealed (multiple venues)

Selected recent publications

Journal articles

1. O’Mahoney, T. Mcknight, L. Lowe, T. Mednikova, M. Dunn, J.C. A machine learning based approach to the segmentation of microCT data in archaeological and evolutionary sciences. Resubmitted to PeerJ, preprint available at BiorXiV: https://doi.org/10.1101/859983

2. Brassey, C. O'Mahoney, T*. Sellers, W.I. 2018. A volumetric technique for fossil body mass estimation applied to Australopithecus afarensis. Journal of Human Evolution 115:47-64 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2017.07.014 *(Joint First author, listed second)

3. Brassey, C.A., Kitchener, A. O’Mahoney, T., Manning, P., Sellers, W.I. 2016. Convex-hull mass estimates of the dodo (Raphus cucullatus): application of a CT-based mass estimation technique. PeerJ 4:e1432; https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1432

Book Chapters

1. O'Mahoney, T. 2014 “Digital recording and reconstruction of the Wilczyce perinatal skeleton”. In Schild, R. (ed). Wilczyce, a Late Magdalenian winter hunting camp in southern Poland. Warsaw: Polish Academy of Sciences Press

Recent presentations and conferences

(Since 2017)

2020 “Evolutionary developmental anatomy: insights from living and fossil perspectives.” Departmental seminar, Amsterdam University Medical Center.

2020 "Evolution of the primate vocal tract-the known, the unknown and the unknowable." Departmental Seminar, University of Oxford.

2019 POSTER: Dunn et al., Rapid evolution of the primate larynx. Cambridge Language Sciences Symposium

2019 POSTER: O’Mahoney, T. Mednikova, M. Endostructural and periosteal variation in the humerus in juvenile Pleistocene individuals. PESHE 8, Liège, Belgium.

2018 TALK: O’Mahoney, T. Data silos, dying data and realistic start-up costs-dirty secrets of the digital revolution. Digital Dilemma conference, University Conference London 6/10/18 (Also a discussant).

2018 POSTER: O’Mahoney, T. Analysis of changes in body mass through ontogeny in a captive Pan troglodytes sample PESHE 7 (meeting 13-16th September in Faro, Portugal).

2017 TALK: O’Mahoney, T. Brassey, C. Chamberlain, A. Sellers, W. A virtual reconstruction and volumetric mass estimate of AL288-1, Australopithecus afarensis PESHE Vol 6: 136

2017 TALK: O’Mahoney, T. Brassey, C. Chamberlain, A. Sellers, W. A virtual reconstruction and volumetric mass estimate of AL288-1, Australopithecus afarensis SVPCA: Birmingham