W. Andrew Barr (2014) edit
University of Texas at Austin
Functional Morphology
Statistical Methods
Current position: Assistant Professor
Current affiliation: George Washington University
Research website: Link
Research description: I am a paleoanthropologist interested in understanding the environmental context of early human evolution. Global climate change is often framed as a major driver of human adaptation and evolution. However, despite much theorizing, we have surprisingly limited direct evidence of the impact of global climate on evolutionary events such as the origin of Homo and the split between the hominin and panin lineages. I conduct fieldwork and apply quantitative analytical methods in the lab aimed at filling these knowledge gaps. Currently I am exploring a new probable late Miocene field project in Laikipia, Kenya, which is unique because of its geographic position outside the Great Rift Valley. I also have an active fieldwork program at Koobi Fora (Turkana Basin, Kenya) and in the Afar Region of Ethiopia (Mille-Logya). In the lab I use 3D scanning and principles of ecological functional morphology to understand the locomotor and dietary adaptations of the fauna I recover in the course of my fieldwork. I study the morphological adaptations of African fauna (antelope in particular) in order to reconstruct past human environments. This ecomorphological research relies heavily on 3D imaging and 3D data analysis. I have recently applied these methods to reconstruct past hominin habitats in the Omo Shungura Formation in southwestern Ethiopia.
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