Hominid Paleobiology Laboratory

Hominid Paleobiology Laboratory

Research interests 

The work of the Hominid Paleobiology Laboratory focuses on increasing our understanding of human evolution by exploring new sources of evidence, analyzing the existing fossil record and by exploiting the comparative method in innovative ways. Extant apes and modern humans are relics of a diverse radiation of Miocene (23 Ma to 5.3 Ma) apes, and one of these –yet unidentified– fossil apes was the common ancestor of chimpanzees/bonobos and modern humans.
 
Bernard Wood’s research interests are all related in one way or another with improving our ability to recognize species in the fossil record and doing a better job of reconstructing their phylogenetic relationships by identifying sources of homoplasy. Wood’s other research interests, and those of his advisees, include understanding the comparative context of species diversity and adaptive shifts within the hominin clade, improving our understanding of the evolution and comparative context of hominin dental morphology, the molecular evolution of the nuclear receptors and assessing patterns of molecular sequence change to identify candidate genes, primate comparative anatomy, and promoting access to data and information about museum collections of higher primates.

Equipment

The Hominid Paleobiology Laboratory has a large cast collection and library that includes many seminal publications about the hominin and ape fossil record. It also houses a large collection of digital datasets (from linear measurements to CT-scans) of modern human and other primate skeletons, and it is equipped with a wide range of morphometric equipment for data collection (e.g., surface scanners, digital calipers) and analysis (imaging workstations). It is also host to the Human Origins Database.

Recent/current members

Sergio Almécija (Assistant Research Professor of Anthropology)
Eve Boyle (PhD student)
Lawrence Fatica (PhD student)
Kelly Ostrofsky (PhD student)
Alexander Prucha (PhD student)
Cassandra Turcotte (PhD student)
Daniel Wawrzyniak (PhD student)
Bernard Wood (University Professor of Human Origins)

Research fellows

Paul Constantino (St. Michael’s College, Colchester, VT)
Rui Diogo (Howard University, Washington, DC)
Adam Gordon (University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, NY)
Kes Schroer (Dartmouth University, Hanover, New Hampshire)
Matt Skinner (University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)

Sources of funding

National Science Foundation
Wenner-Gren Foundation
Mathers Foundation
Leakey Foundation
American Association of Physical Anthropologists

Publications (since 2010)

Peer-Reviewed Publications

           In Press

Diogo R, Wood B. In press. Origin, development and evolution of primate muscles in the context of anatomical variations and anomalies in modern humans. In: Boughner J, Rolian C, eds. Evolutionary Developmental Anthropology: A Post-Genomic Approach to Understanding Primate and Human Evolution. Wiley-Blackwell.

Richmond BG, Roach NT, Ostrofsky KR. In press. Evolution of the Ealry Hominin Hand. In Kivell T, Lemelin P, Richmond BG, Schmitt D, eds. The Evolution of the Primate Hand: Perspectives from Anatomical, Developmental, Functional and Paleontological Evidence. Springer.

 

2016

Baker J, Wood B, Karpinski BA, LaMantia A-S, Maynard TM. Testicular receptor 2, Nr2c1, is associated with stem cells in developing olfactory epithelium and other cranial sensory and skeletal structures. Gene Expression Patterns 20: 71-79.

Boyle EK, Wood B. 2016. Hominin taxic diversity: Fact or fantasy? American Journal of Physical Anthropology 159: 37-78.

 

2015

Boyle EK, DeSilva J. 2015. A large Homo erectus talus from Koobi Fora, Kenya (KNM-ER 5428), and Pleistocene hominin talar evolution. PaleoAnthropology 2015: 1-13.

Collard M, Wood B. 2015. Defining the genus Homo. In: Henke W, Tattersall I, eds. Handbook of Paleoanthropology, Volume 3. Phylogeney of Hominins. Springer.

Hockings KJ, McLennan MR, Carvalho S, Ancreanaz M, Bobe R, Byrne RW, Dunbar RIM, Matsuzawa T, McGrew WC, Williamson EA, Wilson ML, Wood B, Wrangham RW, Hill CM. 2015. Apes in the Anthropocene: Flexibility an dsurvival. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 30: 215-222.

Ostrofsky KR, Churchill SE. 2015. Sex determination by discriminant function analysis of lumbar vertebrae. Journal of Forensic Science 60: 21-28.

Schroer K, Wood B. 2015. Modeling the dental development of fossil hominins through the inhibitory cascade. Journal of Anatomy 226: 150-162.

Schroer K, Wood B. 2015. The role of character displacement in the molarization of hominin mandibular premolars. Evolution 69: 1630-1642.

Wood B. 2015. Human Evolution. In Losos J, ed. Oxford Bibliographies in Evolutionary Biology. Oxford University Press.

Wood B. 2015. Humanity’s Origins. Ciencia & Ambiente 48: 67-77.

Wood B. 2015. Humanity’s Origins. In: Sloan PR, McKenny J, Eggleson K, eds. Darwin in the Twenty-First Century: Nature, Humanity, God. University of Notre Dame Press.

Wood B, Grabowski M. 2015. Macroevolution in and around the hominin clade. In: Serrelli E, Gontier N, eds. Macroevolution, Explanation, Interpretation and Evidence. Springer.

 

2014

Crevecoeur I, Skinner MM, Bailey SE, Gunz P, Bortoluzzi S, Brooks AS, Burlet C, Cornelissen E, De Clerck N, Maureille B, Semal P, Vanbrabant Y, Wood B. 2014. First early hominin from Central Africa (Ishango, Democratic Republic of Congo). PLoS ONE 9: e83652.

Patterson DB, Faith JT, Bobe R, Wood B. 2014. Regional diversity patterns in African bovids, hyaenids, and felids during the past 3 million years: The role of taphonomic bias and implications for the evolution of Paranthropus. Quaternary Science Reviews 96: 9-22.

Wood B. 2014. Unreasonable expectations. Antiquity 226: 150-162.

 

2013

Cerling TE, Manthi FK, Mbua E, Leakey LN, Leakey MG, Leakey, RE, Brown FH, Grine FE, Hart JA, Kalem P, Riche H, Uno KT, Wood BA. 2013. Stable isotope-based diet reconstructions of Turkana Basin hominins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 110: 10501-10506.

Diogo R, Peng Z, Wood B. 2013. First comparative study of morphological and molecular evolutionary rates within primates: Implications for the tempo and mode of human evolution. Journal of Anatomy 222: 410-418.

Diogo R, Wood B. 2013. The broader evolutionary lessons to be learned from comparative and phylogenetic analysis of muscle morphology. Biological Reviews 88: 944-954.

Gordon AD, Marcus E, Wood B. 2013. Great ape skeletal collections: Making the most of scarce and irreplaceable resources in the digital age. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 57: 2-32.

Gordon AD, Wood B. 2013. Evaluating the use of pairwise dissimilarity metrics in paleoanthropology. Journal of Human Evolution 65: 465-477.

Grine FE, Delanty MM, Wood BA. 2013. Variation in mandibular postcanine dental morphology and hominin species representation in Member 4, Sterkfontein, South Africa. In: Reed KE, ed. The Paleobiology of Australopithecus. Springer.

Schroer K, Wood B. 2013. Evolution of hominin postcanine macromorphology: A comparative meta-analysis. In: Scott GR, Irish JD, eds. Anthropological Perspectives on Tooth Morphology: Genetics, Evolution, Variation. Cambridge University Press.

Sponheimer M, Alemseged Z, Cerling TE, Grine FE, Kimbel WH, Leakey MG, Manthi FK, Reed K, Wood BA, Wynn JG. 2013. Isotopic evidence of early hominin diets: Past, present, and future. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 110: 10513-10518.

Sponheimer M, Alemseged Z, Cerling TE, Grine FE, Kimbel WH, Leakey MG, Lee-Thorp JA, Manthi FK, Reed KE, Wood BA, Wynn JG. 2013. Reply to Fontes-Villalba et al.: “On a reluctance to conjecture about animal food consumption. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 110: E4056.

Strait DS, Constantino P, Lucas PW, Richmond BG, Spencer MA, Dechow PC, Ross CF, Grosse IR, Wright BW, Wood BA, Weber GW, Wang Q, Byron C, Slice DE, Chalk J, Smith AL, Smith LC, Wood S, Berthaume M, Benazzi S, Dzialo C, Tamvada K, Ledogar JA. Diet and dietary adaptations in early hominins: The hard food perspective. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 151: 339-355.

Williams SA, Ostrofsky KR, Frater N, Churchill SE, Schmid P, Berger LR. 2013. The vertebral column of Australopithecus sediba. Science 340: 1232996.

Wood B, Schroer K. 2013. Paranthropus. In: Begun D, ed. Companion to Paleoanthropology. Wiley-Blackwell.

 

2012

Diogo R, Matthews LJ, Wood B. 2012. A major reason to study muscle anatomy: Myology as a tool for evolutionary, developmental, and systematic biology. Biological Systematics 1: 1000102.

Diogo R, Richmond BG, Wood B. 2012. Evolution and homologies of modern human hand and forearm muscles: Thumb movements and tool use. Journal of Human Evolution 63: 64-78.

Diogo R, Wood B. 2012. Violation of Dollo’s Law: Evidence of muscle reversions in primate phylogeny and their implications for the understanding of ontogeny, evolution and anatomical variations of modern humans. Evolution 66: 3267-3276.

Ferrero EM, Pastor JF, Fernandez FDP, Cachorro MB, Diogo R, Wood B. 2012. Comparative anatomy of the lower limb muscles of hominoids: Attachments, relative weights, innervation and functional morphology. In: Hughes EF, Hill ME, eds. Primates: Classification, Evolution, and Behavior. Nova Science Publishers.

Lacruz RS, Ramirez Rozzi FV, Wood BA, Bromage TG. 2012. Molar development and crown areas in early Australopithecus. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 148: 632-640.

Strait DS, Weber GW, Constantino P, Lucas PW, Richmond BR, Spencer MA, Dechow PC, Ross CF, Grosse IR, Wright BW, Wood BA, Wang Q, Byron C, Slice DE. 2012. Microwear, mechanics and the feeding adaptations of Australopithecus africanus. Journal of Human Evolution 62: 165-168.

Wood BA, Baurenfeind AL. 2012. Evidence for the production of speech in the fossil record. In: Tallerman M, Gibson K, eds. Oxford Handbook of Language Evolution. Oxford University Press.

Wood B, Schroer K. 2012. Reconstructing the diet of an extinct hominin taxon: The role of extant primate models. International Journal of Primatology 33: 716-742.

 

2011

Diogo R, Wood B. 2011. Soft-tissue anatomy of the primates: Phylogenetic analyses based on the muscles of the head, neck, pectora region and upper limb, with notes on the evolution of these muscles. Journal of Anatomy 219: 273-359.

Potau JM, Artells R, Bello G, Muñoz C, Monzó M, Pastor JF, de Paz F, Barbosa M, Diogo R, Wood B. 2011. Expression of myosin heavy chain isoforms in the supraspinatus muscle of different primate species: Implications for the study of the adaptation of primate shoulder muscles to different locomotor modes. International Journal of Primatology 32: 931-944.

Wood B, Baker J. 2011. Evolution in the genus Homo. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 42: 47-69.

Wood B, Harrison T. 2011. The evolutionary context of the first hominins. Nature 470: 237-352.

Wood B, Leakey M. 2011. The Omo-Turkana Basin fossil hominins and their contribution to our understanding of human evolution in Africa. Evolutionary Anthropology 20: 264-292.

 

2010

MacLatchy LM, DeSilva J, Sanders WJ, Wood B. 2010. Hominini. In: Werdelin L, Sanders WJ, eds. Cenozoic Mammals of Africa, University of California Press.

Skinner MM, Gunz P, Wood BA, Hublin J-J. 2010. How many landmarks?? Assessing the classification accuracy of Pan lower molars using geometric morphometric analysis of the occlusal basin as seen at the enamel-dentine junction. In: Koppe T, Meyer G, Alt KW, eds. Comparative Dental Morphology, Karger.

Wood B. 2010. Reconstructing human evolution: Achievements, challenges, and opportunities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. 107” 8902-8909.

Wood B. 2010. Systematics, Taxonomy, and Phylogenetics: Ordering Life, Past and Present. In: Larson CS, ed. Companion to Physical Anthropology. Wiley-Blackwell.

 

Student Conference Abstracts

2016

Boyle EK, Bernardoni DM, Schneider AL. 2016. The effect of natural substrate inclination on foot strike position in a habitually unshod population. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Peña A. 2016. A 2D geometric morphometric analysis of changes in the basicranium in relation to trunk posture in mammals. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Powell VCR, Almécija S, Barr WA. 2016. Patterns of variation in the hominoid appendicular skeleton: Implications for fossil hominins. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Roach NT, Hatala KG, Ostrofsky KR, Villmoare B, Reeves JS, Du A, Braun DR, Harris JWK, Behrensmeyer AK, Richmond BG. 2016. Homo erectus paleoecology and behavior based on 1.5 million year old footprints from northwestern Kenya. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Swanson ZS, DeSilva JM, Boyle EK, Joseph KM, McNutt EJ. 2016. Variation in lateral plantar process position and functional implications in living humans. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

 

2015

Boyle EK, Zipfel B, DeSilva JM. 2015. Variation in lateral plantar process morphology and implications for bipedalism in Australopithecus. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Ostrofsky KR, Richmond BG. Manual proportions in Australopithecus: A comparative analysis including new material from Sterkfontein. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Powell VC. 2015. Plantar pressure distribution patterns during carrying: Implications for inferring behavior form fossil footprints. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Richmond BG, Roach NT, Hatala KG, Ostrofsky K, Behrensmeyer AK, Bobe R, Braun DR, Reeves J, Kiura P, Villmoare B. 2015. What can footprint assemblages tell us about early hominin habitat preferences and social behavior? American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Richmond BG, Roach NT, Hatala KG, Ostrofsky K, Behrensmeyer AK, Reeves J, Bobe R, Kiura P, Harris JWK, Braun DR. 2015. Hominin paleoecology and use of lake margin environments in the early Pleistocene. European Society for the Study of Human Evolution.

Roach NT, Hatala KG, Ostrofsky KR, Reeves J, Behrensmeyer AK, Richmond BG. 2015. Hominin paleoecology and land use based on 1.5 Ma footprint surfaces at Ileret, Kenya. Paleoanthropology Society.

Turcotte CM, Potau J, Diogo R. 2015. Muscle functional morphology of comparative primate locomotor modes: Implications for the study of human fossils. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Turcotte CM, Potau J, Diogo R. 2015. Muscle functional morphology of comparative primate locomotor modes: Implications for the study of human fossils. Anatomical Society.

 

2014

Ostrofsky KR, Williams SA, Churchill SE, Berger LR, Richmond BG. 2014. Australopith lumbar vertebral morphology: Insights from Australopithecus sediba. American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Powell VCR, Grabowski MW, Roach NT, Richmond BG. 2014. Morphologic integration in the hominoid shoulder and forelimb. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Richmond BG, Hatala KG, Behrensmeyer AK, Bobe R, Braun DR, Dingwall HL, Green DJ, Kiura P, Ostrofsky K, Roach NT, Villmoare BA, Wunderlich RE, Harris JWK. 2014. Hominin size, behavior, and ecology based on 1.5-million-year-old footprint assemblages from Ileret, Kenya. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Richmond BG, Hatala KG, Behrensmeyer AK, Bobe R, Braun DR, Dingwall HL, Green DJ, Kiura P, Ostrofsky K, Roach NT, Villmoare BA, Wunderlich RE, Harris JWK. 2014. Hominin size, behavior, and ecology based on 1.5-million-year-old footprint assemblages from Ileret, Kenya. European Society for the Study of Human Evolution.

 

2013

Ostrofsky KR, Churchill SE. 2013. Sex determination by discriminant function analysis of lumbar vertebrae. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

Williams EM, Gordon AD, Powell VR, Brooks AS, Richmond BG. 2013. Acheulean and Oldowan tool manufacture upper limb strategies. Paleoanthropology Society.

Williams SA, Churchill SE, Ostrofsky KR, Schmid P, Frater N, Berger LR. 2013. The number of vertebrae in early hominins: Insights from Australopithecus sediba. American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

 

Contact Details

University Professor of Human Origins
Phone: 202-994-6077
 
Main Office:
Science and Engineering Hall
800 22nd St NW, Suite 6000
Washington, DC 20052