Dr. Pittman, Michael

Wing of a feathered dinosaur
Profile photo of Dr. Michael Pittman

Dr. Pittman, Michael

Research Assistant Professor

I’m a multi-disciplinary vertebrate palaeontologist from HK. I earned a BSc in geology from UCL in 2006 before progressing to an MSc in geoscience (palaeobiology) in 2007. I pursued a PhD on ‘the evolution and biomechanics of dinosaurian tails’ with Prof. Paul Upchurch and Prof. John R Hutchinson (RVC) completing in 2012.

My primary research interests are the evolution of dinosaurs (particularly of theropods and avian origins), laser-based fossil imaging and the evolutionary biomechanics of vertebrates (especially of dinosaurs). Much of my work focuses on Chinese fossils that I study with Prof. Xu Xing (IVPP, China) e.g. the bird-like dinosaurs Linheraptor and Jianianhualong.

I lead the Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory which includes two PhD students, a number of undergraduate and Master's students as well as research associates. I produced and instruct HKU's free online course Dinosaur Ecosystems.

3917 7840
HOC304 Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory
ResearchGate / Google Scholar / ORCiD / @PalaeoPittman / Facebook / HK Geopark articles


EASC3402    Petrology (with Profs. Guochun Zhao & Min Sun)
HKU MOOC   Dinosaur Ecosystems (with Prof. Xu Xing; started Feb 8th 2017; 10,000+ learners from                       120+ countries)  Enrol now  Facebook  Twitter     

Selected Publications

  1. 2017     Xu, X.*, Currie, P.*, Pittman, M.*, Xing, L.D., Meng, Q.J., Lü, J.C., Hu, D.Y. & Yu, C.Y. Mosaic evolution in an asymmetrically feathered troodontid dinosaur with transitional features. Nature Communications, 8: 14972 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14972 (HKU press release; IF: 11.33; *joint-first-authors)
  2. 2017     Wang, X.L.*, Pittman, M.*, Zheng, X.T., Kaye, T.G., Falk, A.R., Hartman, S.A. & Xu. X. Basal paravian functional anatomy illuminated by high-detail body outline. Nature Communications, 8: 14576 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14576 (HKU press release; IF: 11.33; *joint-first-authors)
  3. 2016     Vinther, J., Nicholls, R., Lautenschlager, S., Pittman, M., Kaye, T.G., Rayfield, E., Mayr, G., Cuthill, I.C. 2D Camouflage in an ornithischian dinosaur. Current Biology, 26(18): 2456-2462 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.06.065 (University of Bristol-HKU press release; IF: 9.57)  
  4. 2016     Mayr, G., Pittman, M., Saitta, E., Kaye, T.G. & Vinther, J.  Structure and homology of Psittacosaurus tail bristles. Palaeontology, 59(6): 793-802 DOI: 10.1111/pala.12257  (University of Bristol-HKU press release; IF: 2.31)
  5. 2015    Kaye, T.G., Falk, A.R., Pittman, M., Sereno, P.C., Martin, L.D., Burnham, D.A., Gong, E.P., Xu, X. & Wang, Y.N. Laser stimulated fluorescence in paleontology. PLOS ONE, 10(5): e0125923. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0125923 (Burke Museum-HKU-University of Kansas press release; IF: 3.53)