I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at George Washington University, in the Center for Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology (CASHP). I am a biological anthropologist who studies the key adaptations defining different stages of ape and human evolution, as well as the original selective pressures responsible for specific evolutionary transitions, such as the split between the lineages leading to chimpanzees and humans. Living apes and humans constitute a relict of a once highly diversified group. During the Miocene (23 Ma to 5.3 Ma) in Africa, Europe and Asia there was a greater diversity of apes that did not resemble or move around like any primates alive today. Thus, current debates in paleoanthropology focus on elucidating the functional morphology and shape affinities of these fossil forms. It is from some of these Miocene apes that both modern great apes and earliest hominins (earliest ancestors of the human family) evolved. Thus, only by studying the evolution of fossil apes in combination with available early hominins we will be able to provide realistic models of ape and human evolution and thus understand human origins.
My research seeks to address these issues through several major avenues of investigation:
(1) Paleontological field work to discover fossil apes and humans
(2) Novel and traditional morphometric techniques to quantitatively characterize primate morphologies
(3) Evolutionary modeling (using phylogenetic comparative methods) to elucidate the tempo and mode of ape and human evolution
(4) Implementing biological data form living primates (e.g,. locomotor behavior, molecular phylogenetics) in paleobiological inferences
Explore this site to learn more about my work, or head to the Hominid Paleobiology Lab website to learn more about this research group at CASHP.
Follow my research on ResearchGate and Google Scholar.