Dr Sam Giles

Dr Sam Giles

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow

Sam Giles is a vertebrate palaeontologist with an interest in the anatomy, relationships, and macroevolution of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic fossil fishes. Her research uses x-ray imaging (CT scanning) to unlock the external and internal anatomy of living and fossil vertebrates. She is interested in the origins and evolutionary success of different bony vertebrate groups and the evolution of key features in the vertebrate body plan. Her work has led to major revisions in our understanding of origins of gnathostomes, osteichthyans, and teleosts, some of the most species-rich vertebrate clades.


2015 – PhD, University of Oxford
2011 – MSci Geology, University of Bristol


2018 – Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow, University of Birmingham and Academic Keeper (Research) of the Lapworth Museum of Geology

2017 – 2018 Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow, University of Oxford

2015 – 2019 Junior Research Fellow, Christ Church, Oxford


Sam contributes to the Year 1 Research Skills module and contributes to supervision of undergraduate research projects.

Postgraduate supervision

Sam welcomes enquiries from prospective doctoral researchers.


  • Systematics, relationships and anatomy of jawed vertebrates (fishes)
  • Placoderm and early jawed vertebrate morphology
  • Bony fish (particularly ray-finned fish) phylogeny
  • Palaeozoic and Mesozoic ray-finned fish macroevolution
  • Neopterygian and teleost interrelationships
  • Early vertebrate histology
  • Inner ear evolution in fishes
  • CT scanning