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Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie (IEA)

Dr. Kris Carlson


Phone ++41 +44 635 54 15
Fax ++41 +44 635 68 04

Research projects

My research program focuses on interpreting the behavioral signals that are present in long bone diaphyseal morphology. Why does one diaphysis exhibit a more circular shape while another diaphysis exhibits a more elliptical shape? What part of this shape variation can be reduced to locomotor differences between the two individuals? This information is vital to reconstructing hominin and fossil ape locomotor repertoires and activity patterns. Much of my current work centers on building interpretive models with African apes since they are most analogous to early hominins in terms of locomotor adaptation, and since their behavioral repertoires have been assessed in detail through observational studies. I also use experimental techniques such as force plate and kinematic analyses to assess differences between the functional requirements, or the mechanics, of arboreal and terrestrial locomotion. Understanding such differences permit more firmly grounded comparisons between ape bone morphology and locomotor behavior. In order to test correlative relationships identified among African apes, I have developed a mouse model for confirming behavioral-induced diaphyseal shape differences. In addition to understanding the behavioral basis of long bone diaphyseal morphology, I am investigating the developmental basis by observing shape changes in long bones throughout ontogeny. While much of my research program is devoted to shape properties, I also have interests in working with bone material properties (e.g., apparent density). My initial work has demonstrated that these contain behavioral signals that they may provide useful information regarding locomotor profiles. Refining these signals is another current focus of my research program.


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