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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_schuheva.mpgde

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 2016PhD candidate in Palaeoanthropology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Project title: "Valuating bone growth with the use of geometric morphometrics and bone modelling"
Supervisors: Sarah Freidline, Kornelius Kupczik, Jean-Jacques Hublin

University Education

2012-2014Master 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).
Directors: Tillier A.-m., Coqueugniot H., Dutailly B.
2009-2012 Bachelor in Biology
3rd year
speciality: Cellular Biology and Physiology
University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada 

1st and 2nd year
speciality: cellular biology and physiology
University of Strasbourg, France

Complementary Trainings

March 2016Musée de l'Homme, Paris, France
Formation in primatology
Supervisors: Sabrina Krief, Audrey Maille
April 2015National Museum of Natural history, Paris, France
Morphometry and forms analysis.
Supervisor: M. Baylac
Mars-April 2013National Museum of Natural history, Paris, France
QP 29: Analysis methods in Palaeoanthropology.
Supervisors: A. Balzeau, F. Détroit, M. Friess


  • Human osteology (anatomy, determination of sex and age methods)
  • 3D imagings
  • geometric morphometric techniques
  • virtual reconstruction
  • Avizo (VSG)
  • 3DS Max
  • Morphologica
  • Landmark Ed.
  • MorphoJ
  • Statistica
  • MicroScribe
  • NextEngine
  • confocal and reflected light microscopy
  • French (native language)
  • English
  • German (basic notions)


May 2015Max Planck Institute, Leipzig, Germany
Bone remodeling of the facial skeleton in mice.
Director: S. Freidline
July 2013LCHES, Cambridge, England,United Kingdom
The use of geometrics morphometrics in Human evolution.
Directors: A. Mounier, M. Lahr
2012-15National Museum of Natural history, Paris, France
Study of the internal ear of the La Chapelle-aux-Saints man.
Director: A. Balzeau
December 2013 PACEA, Bordeaux, France
Sorting of the crematory areas of Urville-Nacqueville.
Directors: S. Rottier, J. Loyer

Professional Experience

July-August 2015Niaux cave, Niaux, France
Guide at the prehistoric cave of Niaux.
Directors: E. Demoulin, J. Azéma

Field Work Experience

June 2015Grotte 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



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   


Schuh, A., Dutailly, B., Coqueugniot, H., Santos, F., Coutinho Nogueira, D., Arensburg, B., Vandermeersch, B., & Tillier, A.-M. (2016). La mandibule de l’adulte Qafzeh 25 (Paléolithique moyen, Basse Galilée) et sa reconstruction virtuelle 3D. Implications anthropologiques. Poster presented at 1841e journées de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris, Lyon.
BibTeX   Endnote   

Meeting Abstracts

Schuh, A., & Freidline-Stimman, S. (2018). Bone modeling patterns in the midface of modern humans during ontogeny: A study of intraspecific variability. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 165(S66), 245-246.
DOI    BibTeX   Endnote   

Schuh, A., Kupczik, K., & Freidline, S. E. (2017). Ontogeny of the midface in Homo sapiens. In Proceedings of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution (PESHE) (6, pp. 173).
Open Access    BibTeX   Endnote   


Schuh, A. (2015). L'évolution humaine: de Lucy à Homo sapiens, dernières découvertes et innovations technologiques. Talk presented at Science Festival. Colmar. 2015-09-22 - 2015-09-26.
BibTeX   Endnote