Louise Chantale Viola
I am a Ph.D. student in physical anthropology affiliated with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and the Department of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
My interest lies in exploring alternative hypotheses of Eurasian and African middle Miocene hominoid diversification and dispersal. Specifically, my doctoral research focuses on determining the origin of African middle Miocene hominoids and understanding how these forms are phylogenetically related to contemporaneous and later Miocene Eurasian fossil apes. My investigation will primarily focus on a three-dimensional morphometric analysis of postcanine dentition to determine whether populations of Griphopithecus from Slovakia and Turkey represent the initial phase in a dietary shift that permitted the initial dispersal of hominoids into Eurasia at the end of the early Miocene, and the subsequent radiation of hominoids of modern aspect throughout Eurasia and back into Africa during the middle Miocene.
Although there is general consensus amongst most researchers that East African early Miocene hominoids represent stem apes (ancestors of all living apes and their fossil relatives), there seems to be a diversity of opinion regarding the origin of East African middle Miocene hominoids and how these forms are related to one another as well as contemporaneous and later Eurasian fossil apes. This temporal period is by far the most poorly understood of the Miocene epoch and yet, an accurate interpretation of the evolutionary origins of middle Miocene hominoids will likely prove crucial in resolving the nature and timing of appearance of initial members of the African Ape-Human clade in the fossil record.
Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
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