Systematics and Comparative Morphology
(Director, Bernard Wood). Research focuses on improving our ability to a) recognize hominin species and genera, and b) reconstruct higher primate phylogeny using evidence from the fossil record. Recent research has included investigating the molecular control of regions prone to homoplasy (e.g., teeth, cranial base), using dental histology to determine if apparently similar morphology at the macrostructural level has the same microstructural basis, using micro-CT to image the EDJ and compare its performance for taxonomy and systematics to that of the outer enamel surface, comparative models to explore whether the genetic basis of integration can be used to identify characters that are unlikely to be affected by homoplasy, and using the comparative anatomy of soft tissues to determine whether hard-tissues are especially prone to homoplasy.
Major equipment: Most of our research is done in collaborating laboratories in Finland, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US
Sample publications: Systematics Wood, B and Baker, J ‘Evolution in the genus Homo’. (2012) Ann. Rev. Ecol., Evol. and Syst. 42: 47–69; Comparative morphology Diogo, R. and Wood, B. ‘Soft-tissue anatomy of the primates: phylogenetic analyses based on the muscles of the head, neck, pectoral region and upper limb, with notes on the evolution of these muscles.’ (2012) J. Anat., 219: 273-359.