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Alexandra Schuh

Doctoral Student

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Evolution
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: 0049 (0) 341 3550 364
e-mail: alexandra_schuh@[>>> Please remove the text! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

I am a PhD student in the IMPRS program at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in the Department of Human Evolution.

I am broadly interested in the evolution and origins of modern humans. For my master’s thesis project at the University of Bordeaux, I worked on the virtual reconstruction of a new specimen from the Qafzeh site (Israel, 90-100 ka; mandible Qafzeh 25), which provided new data on the morphological variability from the Middle Palaeolithic in the Levant.

For my PhD project, I focus on facial ontogeny to try to understand how large-scale changes in facial growth and development are linked with specific patterns at the microstructural levels. For this purpose, I am using methods in 3D imaging (CT scans and semilandmarks techniques) to analyse differences in shape, and surface histology (confocal microscopy) to observe the cellular activity at the surface of the bone, a process called bone modelling. The first step in this project is to work on a large ontogenetic sample to have a better understanding of the variability within the species Homo sapiens in terms of bone modelling patterns, in order to apply these findings to the fossil record. A second step is the quantification of these processes, to help us understand how they are changing through time.

 As it is already known that bone modelling patterns are species specific, the study of cellular activity through ontogeny is of particular interest in terms of phylogeny. Indeed, by combining these two approaches we can better differentiate morphological features that develop homologously between taxa from those that may look similar, but result from different ontogenetic processes.

I also have experience in field work, mostly excavating in cave environments.

Curriculum Vitae

Current Position

May 2016 Ph.D. candidate, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology,  Leipzig School of Human Origins, Leipzig, Germany
Thesis title: Quantification of maxillary growth processes using surface histology and geometrics morphometrics
Supervisors: Freidline S.E, Kupczik K., Hublin J.-J.  
(Submission: November 2020; defense date to define)

University Education

2012-2014 Master degree in biological Anthropology and Prehistory
speciality: biological Anthropology
University of Bordeaux, France
Master thesis: The use of three dimensional imaging methods for the virtual reconstruction of  the Qafzeh's 25 mandible (unpublished fossil, Middle Palaeolithic, Israel).
Supervisors: Tillier A.-M., Coqueugniot H., Dutailly B.
2009-2012 B.A. Biology (specialty: Cellular Biology and Physiology)
2009-2011: University of Strasbourg, France
2011-2012: International exchange with the University of Montreal, Canada

Complementary Trainings

Mai/June 2020 Bone histology – virtual sessions
Supervisor: Miszkiewicz J.
May 2017 Advanced R programming
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Supervisor: Stephens C.
May 2016 Advanced data visualisation with R
University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany
Supervisor: Neumann C.
March 2016 1. Non-human primate behaviour and anatomy, human evolution
2. Non-human primates and humans from today: interactions and conservation 

National Museum of Natural history, Paris, France
Supervisor: Krief S., Maille A.
April 2015 Morphometry and forms analysis
National Museum of Natural history, Paris, France
Supervisor: Baylac M.
March-April 2013 Analyses and methods in Palaeoanthropology
National Museum of Natural history, Paris, France
Supervisor: Balzeau A., Détroit F., Friess M.
Sept./Dec. 2011 Histological analysis of nerves in foetal opossums
University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada
Supervisor: Pflieger J.F.


  • Human osteology (anatomy, determination of sex and age methods)
  • 3D imaging
  • geometric morphometric techniques
  • virtual reconstruction
  • bone histology
  • Avizo (VSG)
  • 3DS Max
  • Morphologica
  • Landmark Ed.
  • MorphoJ
  • Statistica
  • RStudio
  • Geomagic Studio
  • Viewbox
  • MicroScribe
  • NextEngine
  • SmartZomm 5 digital microscope
  • Arctec Space Spider
  • Diondo d3 high resolution micro-CT
  • Nanofocus confocal microscope
  • French (native language)
  • English
  • German (basic notions)


May 2015 Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
Title: Bone modeling of the facial skeleton in mice
Supervisors: Freidline S., Kupczik K.
July 2013 Leverhulme Center for Human Evolutionary Studies, Cambridge, UK
Title: The use of geometric morphometrics in human evolution
Supervisors: Mounier A., Mirazón-Lahr M.
2012-15 National Museum of Natural history, Paris, France
Title: Study of the inner ear of the la Chapelle-aux-Saints Neanderthal
Supervisor: Balzeau A.
December 2013 PACEA, Bordeaux, France
Title: Sorting the crematory areas of Urville-Nacqueville
Supervisors: Rottier S., Loyer J.


2016 Poster prize, Annual meetings of the Anthropological Society of Paris, Lyon, France

Field Work Experience

June 2015 Grotte de Sirogne, Rocamadour, France.
Middle Palaeolithic.
Director: P. Bayle
July 2014  La Colline du Château, Nice, France.
Middle Age.
Director: A. Civetta
June 2013

La Caune de l'Arago, Tautavel, France.
Middle Palaeolithic.
Director: A.-m. Moigne

Amelestoy, Pyrénées Atlantiques, France.
Bronze Age.
Director: P. Courtaud

Other employments

July-August 2015 Niaux cave, Niaux, France



Schuh, A., Kupczik, K., Gunz, P., Hublin, J.-J., & Freidline, S. E. (2021). Quantifying maxillary development in chimpanzees and humans: an analysis of prognathism and orthognathism at the morphological and microscopic scales. Journal of Human Evolution, 157: 103031.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   


Schuh, A., Gunz, P., Villa, C., Kupczik, K., Hublin, J.-J., & Freidline, S. E. (2020). Intraspecific variability in human maxillary bone modeling patterns during ontogeny. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 137, 655-670.
Open Access    DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   


Schuh, A., Kupczik, K., Gunz, P., Hublin, J.-J., & Freidline, S. E. (2019). Ontogeny of the human maxilla: A study of intra-population variability combining surface bone histology and geometric morphometrics. Journal of Anatomy, 235(2), 233-245.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   


Schuh, A., Dutailly, B., Coutinho Nogueira, D., Santos, F., Arensburg, B., Vandermeersch, B., Coqueugniot, H., & Tillier, A.-M. (2017). La mandibule de l’adulte Qafzeh 25 (Paléolithique moyen, Basse Galilée). Reconstruction virtuelle 3D et analyse morphométrique. Paleorient, 43(1), 49-59.
BibTeX   Endnote   

Conference abstracts

Aug. 2020 Schuh A., & Freidline S.E. High-resolution imaging of bone formation and resorption on the surface of fossilized bones. European Association of Archaeologists (abstract accepted, session cancelled due to COVID outbreak)
Sept. 2019  Schuh A., Maureille B., Toussaint M., Abrams G., Bonjean D., Gunz P., Hublin J.-J., & Freidline S.E. Neanderthal maxillary ontogeny at the micro- and macroscopic scales: an integrative approach to study facial growth. 9th European Society for the study of Human Evolution, Liège, Belgium
Jan. 2019  Schuh A., Kupczik K., Hublin J.-J., & Freidline S.E. Variabilité intra-spécifique des processus de modelage osseux durant la croissance de l’os maxillaire chez H. sapiens. 1844th Annual meetings of the Anthropological Society of Paris, Paris, France
Sept. 2018 Freidline S.E., Schuh A., Martinez-Maza C., Gunz P., & Hublin J.-J. Modern human facial and mandibular growth at the micro and macroscopic levels: marrying bone modeling and geometric morphometric techniques. 8th European Society for the study of Human Evolution, Faro, Portugal
Sept. 2018 Schuh A., Villa C., Kupczik K. & Freidline S.E. Ontogeny of the human maxilla: a study of intra specific variation using surface histology and geometric morphometrics. 8th European Society for the study of Human Evolution, Faro, Portugal
Apr. 2018   Schuh A., & Freidline S.E. Bone modeling patterns in the midface of modern humans during ontogeny: a study of intraspecific variability. American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Austin, USA
Oct. 2017 Schuh A., Kupczik K. & Freidline S.E. The relationship between maxillary bone growth and dental eruption in humans. International Symposium on Dental Morphology, Bordeaux, France
Sept. 2017  Schuh A., Kupczik K., & Freidline S.E. Ontogeny of the midface in H. sapiens: building an integrative growth model for paleoanthropological studies using bone modelling and geometric morphometrics. 7th European Society for the study of Human Evolution, Leiden, Netherlands
Jan. 2016 Schuh A., Dutailly B., Coqueugniot H., Santos F., Coutinho Nogueira D., Arensburg B., Vandermeersch B., Tillier A.-M. La mandibule de l’adulte Qafzeh 25 (Paléolithique moyen, Basse Galilée) et sa reconstruction virtuelle 3D. Implications anthropologiques. 1841st Annual meetings of the Anthropological Society of Paris, Lyon, France

Invited talks/Public lectures

2017  Evolution and ontogeny of the face: what can we learn from the microstructures at the surface of the bones? University of Cape Town (26th of July), Iziko Museums of South Africa (27th of July), Cape Town, South Africa
2015 L’évolution humaine: de Lucy à Homo sapiens, dernières découvertes et innovations technologiques. Science festival of Colmar, France

Teaching experience

2019 - present Molecular Anthropology Course, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany        
Lectures on human evolution for undergraduate students in Biology (University of Leipzig)
2018 - present International Max Planck Research School, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Lectures in the Palaeoanthropology module on craniofacial development for graduate students