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Cinzia Fornai

I focus my research on the study of the dental morphology of South African hominids with particular interest to the matter of the hypothesis of the occurrence of a further new australopithecine species at Sterkfontein Member 4 and Makapansgat fossil sites. On this topic, I performed an MSc through the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg under the supervision of Professor R. J. Clarke. I have recently joined the EVAN project as a Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher at the Department of Anthropology, University of Vienna, with the aim to train in quantitative morphology of hominoid teeth, including studies in palaeoanthropology, growth and development, and the development of methods in Virtual Anthropology (VA) and Geometric Morphometrics (GMM). The main purpose of the training period at the Department of Anthropology is to develop a PhD project focused on the study of dental hominid material to contribute to our knowledge of the early stage of human evolution and possibly unravel the phyletic relationships between early hominids. In particular, I have been trained for the use of “Amira” software one of the most powerful and versatile software for visualization and manipulation of virtual images. I attended a workshop in York, UK, for the use of the newly developed EVAN “Toolkit”, a GMM and VA statistical package. I have been encouraged and financially supported to participate to meetings such as the AAPA Congresses 2010 in New Mexico, which represents one of the most important events for anthropologists and palaeoanthropologists.

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