Dr. Philipp Gunz is a physical anthropologist with a primary research interest in paleoanthropology, who works as a Research Fellow at the Department of Human Evolution.
He studies developmental and evolutionary changes in the growth patterns and morphology of fossil hominins, extant humans and non-human primates. Philipp works both in the area of «virtual paleoanthropology» where he applies computer modelling techniques to reconstruct partial and damaged fossils for further analysis, and in the application of statistical methods to analyze shapes of fossil and living primates (geometric morphometrics).
His research focuses on the application of geometric morphometrics to quantify large scale evolutionary changes in the craniofacial and endocranial growth pattern of great apes and australopithecines, morphological integration in modern humans and Neanderthals, craniofacial variability in early Homo, and subtle shape differences among teeth. Together with Philipp Mitteroecker from the University of Vienna he has developed new techniques to measure and compare curve and surface information from biological forms (“semilandmarks”).
He obtained his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Vienna, Austria in 2005. The dissertation research involved the virtual reconstruction of broken and incomplete fossil crania using computer tomographic data. He developed the theoretical framework and the necessary algorithms and software to correct taphonomic distortions and estimate missing parts, aiming to make the reconstruction process as transparent and reproducible as possible.
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