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Phylogeny, Selection and Selection of the genus Homo

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Phylogeny, Selection and Selection of the genus Homo
Team leader : José Braga

The late Pliocene African origin, and the subsequent early evolution and diversification of our own the genus, Homo, in the Pleistocene of Africa and Eurasia remain obscure. A simple linear model of human evolution is which the australopiths gave rise to Homo habilis, and then to Homo erectus and Homo sapiens, is not any more widely accepted.
Combining fieldworks in the Plio-Pleistocene of South Africa (see : and the Lower Pleistocene of Eritrea, with 3D phylo-morphometric comparative studies in extant hominids and fossil hominins, we investigate several aspects of the australopith (Australopithecus and Paranthropus) and early human life history package, sensory ecology, dimorphism and paleoneurology.
Accumulating data on newly discovered fossil hominin specimens and reinvestigating previously known samples representing living and fossil species by using mainly X-ray and neutron computed-microtomography, synchrontron imaging and geochemistry, we aim to discuss further hypotheses about the relative roles of selection and other evolutionary factors that may have played a pivotal role in the emergence and the spread of various types of humans from Africa all around the world.
We apply this knowledge in forensic anthropology and we develop a database of information in order to facilitate the identification of bones and body fragments, along with pathologists and other specialists.

copyright Kromdraai Research Project

Research interests :
Phylogenetics, Life history, Sensory evolution, Comparative studies, Forensic anthropology

Ongoing researches :
Early humans in Africa
Kromdraai Research Project (South Africa)
Anthropo-Archeological and Geo-Paleontological Mission in the Danakil Depression of Eritrea
Implementation of new 3D morphometric tools in the fields of evolutionary anthropology and forensic anthropology
Integrated morphometric, genetic and physiologic studies of the primate auditory system