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Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie (IEA)

Dr. Karin Isler

Senior Lecturer

Phone ++41 44 635 54 33
Fax ++41 44 635 68 04
Email kisler*

My main research topic is the evolution of primate locomotion, with emphasis on the emergence of bipedalism in early hominids. Although there are by now quite a few postcranial remains of our ancestors or closest relatives, a functional understanding of their morphological features is often lacking. Partly this is due to the fact that the relationship of form and function in living primates is also unknown or subject of speculation. To furthen our understanding of the precursors of habitual bipedal walking in humans, I therefore study the kinematics of locomotion in extant primates, especially in hominoids such as gibbons, orang-utans, bonobos and gorillas. Recent projects entail the comparison of different climbing types in spider and woolly monkeys, and the arboreal locomotion of black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys in the wild. For any meaningful interspecific comparison and conclusion about the evolution of locomotor behaviour, it is extremely important to gain knowledge about the extent of intraspecific variation by including animals of different sex and age groups that locomote freely in large, semi-natural enclosures or in the wild. Further, as a trained mathematician I'm interested in the exploration of quantitative methods for evolutionary anthropology.

Research Projects

  • Analysis of locomotion in primates
  • Life history and brain size


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Unterseiten von Dr. K. Isler