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by MPEA last modified 2009-10-17 17:27

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology,
Dept. of Human Evolution
Phone: + 49 - 341 - 3550 - 350
Fax: + 49 - 341 - 3550 - 399



The Dept. of Human Evolution at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, was founded in 2004 as part of a multidisciplinary facility aiming to investigate human biological and cultural evolution. Research focuses on the divergence of an ape/human ancestor and on Late Pleistocene hominids, including early modern humans and Neandertals, incorporating perspectives from the fields of paleoanthropology, archaeology, zoo-archaeology, developmental biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and cultural anthropology. The department is committed to developing innovative and improved methodologies for studying fossil and modern biological specimens, including 3-D morphometry, virtual anthropology, and skeletal histology. It is also deeply involved in fieldwork and has a section dedicated to archeological sciences (dating methods, stables isotopes, fossil bio-molecules). MPEA has extensive experience in the application of geometric morphometrics to problems in paleoanthropology, in 3D reconstruction of fossil specimens, in comparison of 3D representations of fossil and modern human crania, postcrania and soft tissues, and in dental histological research. We are currently expanding our large collections of landmark, semilandmark and CT scans from human fossil specimens and modern human comparative collections.

Scientific staff:


Prof.Dr. Jean-Jacques HUBLIN

professor of anthropolgy

Scientist in charge for EVAN

Paleoanthropology, hominid ontogeny, brain evolution and ontogeny, fossil reconstruction


Dr. Katerina HARVATI

Research scientist

Paleoanthropology, geometric morphometrics, human variation, genetic and environmental influence on morphology



Software engineer

Biomathematics, programming



researcher, cognitive neurology

Brain evolution and ontogeny


Dr. Timothy WEAVER

postdoctoral fellow

Paleoanthropology, geometric morphometrics, biomechanics, genetic and environmental influence on morphology, ontogeny


Dr. Tanya SMITH

research scientist

Dental histology, primate ontogeny and life-history


Dr. Philipp GUNZ

postdoctoral fellow

Biomathematics, geometric morphometrics



researcher in anthropology

Brain ontogeny and evolution, evolution of life history


Dr. Fernando Víctor RAMIREZ-ROZZI

researcher in anthropology

Dental histology, hominid life-history and evolution


Maximilian von HARLING


Brain evolution, endocranial morphology and variation




Dental development, evolutionary history of primates

Nandini SINGH


Patterns of cranial integration in hominoids



Coqueugniot H., Hublin J.-J., Veillon F., Houet F., Jacob T. (2004) Early brain growth in Homo erectus : Implications in cognitive skills. Nature, 431:453-6


Harvati K., Frost S.R. and McNulty K.P. (2004). Neanderthal taxonomy reconsidered: Implications of 3D primate models of intra- and inter-specific differences.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 101:1147-1152.


Weaver TD (2003). The shape of the Neandertal femur is primarily the consequence of a hyperpolar body form. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100:6926-6929.

Nicholson E. and Harvati K. (2006). Quantitative Analysis of Human Mandibular Shape Using
Three-Dimensional Geometric Morphometrics
. American Journal of Physical Anthropology (early view).


Transportable, high-resolution, industrial computed tomography (CT) scanner (BIR, Lincolnshire USA); micro-CT scanner; portable 3-D laser scanner; virtual reality laboratory; dental histology lab (annular saw, polishing machine, transmitted light and stereo microscopy); 3D printer; 3D-digitisers (Microscribe 2GX); software modules for advanced morphometric analysis, programming software (Mathematica, Matlab, C++), 3D-software packages (Amira 3.2, Voxelmann), unix workstations, CT-, MR- and surface data of modern and fossil humans.

Regular teaching programme:

Human Paleontology and Prehistoric Archaeology

Comparative Primatology

Evolutionary Genomics / Ancient DNA

Molecular Anthropology