Alexander Stößel is a post-doc in the Department of Human Evolution at the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He has a background in vertebrate morphology (esp. mammals and birds) and is interested in the evolutionary morphology of the mammalian cranium. He works directly with Professor Fred Spoor on the morphology of the bony labyrinth of hominins and other primate and mammalian species. The bony labyrinth is located in the petrous temporal bone and houses the cochlea as the organ of hearing and the vestibule and semicircular canals for the perception of spatial orientation and movement. Since there is a functional link between semicircular canal shape and locomotion, studying the bony labyrinth offers the chance to learn more about the locomotor behaviour of extinct hominins and to gain insight into the evolution of bipedal posture and gait. Further interest in this region of the cranium is due to its relevance for taxonomic distinctions between hominin species. We are investigating the bony labyrinth by using CT data, 3D image processing and 3D morphometrics.
Before coming to the MPI-EVA he did his PhD at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena on the evolution and functional morphology of the locomotor system of tetrapods. For his PhD thesis he investigated bipedal locomotion of birds and the morphology and evolution of the avian hindlimb. He used an experimental approach by applying biplanar high-speed x-ray videography in order to visualize and analyze the behavior of hindlimb elements and joints during bipedal locomotion (intralimb kinematics) of three bird species. Further analyses focused on avian limb proportions.
Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
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