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Simon Neubauer, PhD student

by Simon Neubauer last modified 2009-10-06 10:46

Department of Human Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig
Phone: + 49 (0) 341 3550 751
Fax: + 49 (0) 341 3550 399

Simon Neubauer was employed as a Marie Curie doctoral fellow (EVAN Training Network) at the Department of Human Evolution of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. For his PhD project, he is working on endocranial form variation in hominoids.

As brains themselves are not preserved in the fossil record, so called endocasts (i.e. casts of the internal braincase) are used as a proxy for brain size and outer brain morphology. This project documents and compares ontogenetic as well as adult endocranial shape and size variation in humans and chimpanzees. During ontogeny, the brain grows and develops according to a species-specific pattern. This pattern contributes to adult morphology and therefore can be used to inform evolutionary analyses. Fossil hominins for which only a few specimens are preserved, can be interpreted within this framework.

For quantification of endocranial form differences and changes, CT scans of dried crania are used, virtual endocasts generated, and three-dimensional landmarks including semilandmarks on curves and surfaces measured. The coordinates of landmarks are then analyzed using geometric morphometric methods.