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Research Focus - Overview

Research Focus

To address our mission the Department of Human Evolution is developing research expertise in a number of areas.  To date, these include the following:

bones - climate studieDiet, climate and migration studies using isotope analysis. We undertake isotope analysis of teeth and bone to reconstruct hominin and animal diets, migrations, and the palaeoenvironments in which they lived (Climate studies). Additionally, we are developing new methods of extracting proteins from bone and teeth (Proteomics) and the isotope analysis of single-compounds.


artifactsArtifact Analysis. Analysis of existing stone tool assemblages as well as those excavated by our department are yielding insights into the role this technology played in hominin's adaptation to their natural and cultural environment. more


cast collection of fossil hominin specimensComparative Anatomy. We are involved in the comparative analysis of Plio-Pleistocene fossil hominins. The department has a large collection of fossil hominin casts and a collection of wild chimpanzees from the Taï forest.  Additionally, we are building a virtual collection of comparative fossil and recent human and non-human primate material. more


Researcher in a archaeological laboratoryDating.  The department has a complete thermoluminescence laboratory and is involved in dating Middle Paleolithic and early Upper Paleolithic sites from Europe and North Africa (Luminescence Dating Laboratory).  In conjunction with our facilities for protein extraction (Proteomics) and stable isotope analysis (Palaeodietary research), we have a program of AMS dating of bone samples (Radiocarbon dating laboratory).


bonesFaunal Analysis. We are in the process of building an actual and a virtual faunal reference collection while we investigate hominin subsistence strategies in the late Middle Paleolithic and early Upper Paleolithic in Europe and North Africa more.


Researcher in the fieldField Work. In addition to analyzing existing data sets, often with new techniques, it is important to generate new data sets.  Thus the department is currently doing fieldwork in three areas (Dikika, Ethiopia; Jebel Irhoud, Morocco; Les Cottés, France; and Jonzac, France) and is involved in several other field projects. more


Tooth MicrostructureMicrostructures Analysis - We have built a state of the art facility for examining the microstructure of fossil teeth to better understand growth and development from an evolutionary perspective. more


virtual paleoanthropologyVirtual Paleoanthropology. We have put in place a number of scanning technologies to obtain three dimensional data sets of fossil hominins and the computer software and hardware technologies needed for their manipulation, analysis and visualization in three dimensions.  more


3 D Morphometrics3D Morphometrics. In conjunction with our virtual paleoanthropology focus (above), we are pursuing the analysis the hominin fossils using three dimensional coordinates to represent anatomical landmarks of evolutionary or behavioral/biomechanical interest.  more