Holly Woodward Ballard, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anatomy
My research focuses on using large-sample osteohistology to assess growth dynamics, individual variability, and survivorship in dinosaurs and other extinct vertebrates, while utilizing the bone microstructure of extant vertebrates to provide a framework for paleohistologic inferences. Histological analysis of vertebrate hard tissues is the most accurate way to obtain information regarding the growth, development, and longevity of an extinct taxon; is crucial for interpreting and understanding trends in metabolism and growth rates; and is the only way to conclusively determine skeletal maturity status. By permitting statistical quantification, my ongoing histologic sampling of specimens from a Maiasaura peeblesorum bonebed (Museum of the Rockies, Bozeman, MT) results in the most detailed life history assessment of any dinosaur to date. I also endeavor to obtain large histological sample sizes from extant species of not only archosaurs (birds and crocodiles) for which a behavioral and environmental history is known, but mammalian groups as well. This will allow me to separate and quantify variation in growth, behavioral, and physiological signals, so that these factors can be considered in an empirical context when trying to interpret fossil bone microstructure.
Woodward, H. N., J. R. Horner, and J. O. Farlow. 2014. Quantification of intraskeletal histovariability in Alligator mississippiensis and implications for vertebrate osteohistology. PeerJ 2:e422
Woodward, H. N., K. Padian, A. Lee. 2013. Chapter 7: Skeletochronology. In Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods: Advancing Methods, Analysis, and Interpretation (eds. K. Padian and E.-T. Lamm), University of California Press, Berkeley.
Huttenlocker, A., H. N. Woodward, B. K. Hall. 2013. Chapter 2: Biology of Bone. In Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods: Advancing Methods, Analysis, and Interpretation (eds. K. Padian and E.-T. Lamm), University of California Press, Berkeley.
Lee, A. H., K. Huttenlocker, K. Padian, and H. N. Woodward. 2013. Chapter 8: Analysis of Growth Rates. In Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods: Advancing Methods, Analysis, and Interpretation (eds. K. Padian and E.-T. Lamm), University of California Press, Berkeley.
Newbrey, M. G., D. B. Brinkman, D. A. Winkler, E. A. Freedman, A. G. Neuman, D. W. Fowler, and H. N. Woodward. 2013. Teleost centrum and jaw elements from the Upper Cretaceous Nemegt Formation (Campanian-Maastrichtian) of Mongolia and a re-identification of the fish centrum found with the theropod Raptorex kreigsteini. In Mesozoic Fishes 5 - Global Diversity and Evolution (eds. G. Arratia, H.-P. Schultze, and M. V. H. Wilson), Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil, Munich.
Woodward, H. N., J. R. Horner, and J. O. Farlow. 2011. Osteohistological evidence for determinate growth in the American alligator. Journal of Herpetology 45:339-342.
Woodward, H. N., T. H. Rich, A. Chinsamy, and P. Vickers-Rich. 2011. Growth dynamics of Australia's polar dinosaurs. PLoS ONE 6:e23339.
Fowler, D. W., H. N. Woodward, E. A. Freedman, P. L. Larson, and J. R. Horner. 2011. Reanalysis of "Raptorex kriegsteini": a juvenile tyrannosaurid dinosaur from Mongolia. PLoS ONE 6:e21376.
Woodward, H. N., and T. M. Lehman. 2009. Bone histology and microanatomy of Alamosaurus sanjuanensis (Sauropoda: Titanosauria) from the Maastrichtian of Big Bend National Park, Texas. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29:807-821.
Lehman, T. M., and H. N. Woodward. 2008. Modeling growth rates for sauropod dinosaurs. Paleobiology 34:264-281.