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Geometric morphometrics and the primate arm


Habiba Chirchir, a student in the Brains, Bodies, & Ecology IGERT, conducted research this past summer at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Working with Dr. Philip Gunz at the MPI, Chirchir’s research introduces a new measurement protocol for the humerus and ulna that relies on a combined set of traditional and 3D landmarks. Their protocol tests whether coordinate data can be used to reconstruct incomplete fossil specimens in order to assess limb proportions. The protocol, which is able to predict bone lengths even if the bone is incomplete and no adequate reference sample exists, promises to revolutionize the study of limb proportions in the fossil record. Additional collaborators on this project are Brian Richmond at the George Washington University and Matthew Tocheri at National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.