Fellows at the Center for Human Origins!CHO scientists research all aspects of human evolution!
Cynthia Beall is a physical anthropologist whose research focuses on human adaptation to high-altitude hypoxia, particularly the different patterns of adaptation exhibited by Andean, Tibetan and East African highlanders. Her current research deals with the genetics of adaptive traits and evidence for natural selection, with the role of nitric oxide in oxygen delivery at high altitude and with the human ecology of high-altitude Tibetan nomads. Professor Beall is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.
Yohannes Haile-Selassie's paleoanthropological work centers on the Afar region of Ethiopia. He and his team scour large areas looking for fossil remains dating less than 10 million years old. Their goal is to find specimens of human ancestors, but they also reconstruct fossil material of other animals to investigate the ecology of the region when our ancestors walked there, and determine what species our ancestors consumed or competed with. Dr. Haile-Selassie has been head of the Department of Physical Anthropology since 2002, and received his Ph.D. from UC-Berkeley before joining the museum staff. In June, 2010, Haile-Selassie was the lead author of a scientific paper analyzing the team's new discovery-- the oldest-known Australopithecus afarensis skeleton. This new and much larger male specimen is nicknamed "Kadanuumuu," meaning "big man" in the Afar language. Haile-Selassie and his team's analysis demonstrates that A. afarensis was fully upright 3.6 million years ago, walking in nearly the same way modern humans do
CHO director Bruce Latimer is Professor of Anthropology, Anatomy, and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University. Physical anthropologist Latimer is internationally recognized as an expert on the evolution of human locomotion. His research has helped shape our present understanding of the evolutionary processes that led to the ability of humans to walk upright on two feet. Latimer is among a group of scientists who analyzed the famous 3.2 million-year-old "Lucy" fossil skeleton. In the fall of 2009, Latimer and other members of an international scientific team announced the discovery and identification of a new species of early human ancestor, Ardipithecus ramidus. In June, 2010, Latimer and and an international team of scientists announced the discovery and analysis of the oldest-known Australopithecus afarensis skeleton, which has led to the biggest leap forward in understanding this species since the initial "Lucy" discovery. This new and much larger male specimen is nicknamed "Kadanuumuu," meaning "big man" in the Afar language.
Patricia Princehouse is an evolutionary biologist and historian of science. She earned her masters from Yale and a PhD from Harvard, where she worked with Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin. She has conducted fieldwork on primate evolution in Africa and North America, and also has research interests in what artificial life and digital organisms can tell us about patterns and processes of evolution. Princehouse has received many teaching awards, and in 2003 was honored by the National Center for Science Education's "Friend of Darwin" award for helping preserve the integrity of Ohio's public school science curriculum. She is currently working on a book titled Darwin's Mutant Phoenix.
Scott W. Simpson
Scott Simpson has analysed some of the oldest specimens of fossil hominids, including Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus garhi, Ardipithecus ramidus, and Ardipithecus kadabba. Simpson is centered in Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine, and has conducted some of his best-known field work in Gona, Ethiopia. Among other issues, Simpson's current work concerns the locomotor capacities of early Homo erectus.
Linda Spurlock is an expert on relating human health with natural history, human evolution and environmental change. As director of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's health initiative, she has particular interests in health literacy and how people fit into the natural world. Spurlock has a Ph.D. in biomedical science from Kent State University. An artist as well as a scientist, forensic facial reconstruction is among Spurlock's areas of expertise and she frequently collaborates with paleoanthropologists to recreate faces and other anatomical features of extinct hominids. She and other members of an international team reconstructed the new Ardipithecus ramidus skeleton published in 2009. She is currently involved in similar such projects in which her gift promises to provide unique understanding --a window on the past unobtainable by other scientific methods. One that also informs our present and our future.
Glenn Starkman is a professor of physics and astronomy, director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics, and director of the Institute for the Sciences of Origins at Case Western Reserve University. His research extends from searching for habitable planets around other stars to understanding the shape of the universe, from looking for miniature black holes in particle accelerators to extending and testing Einstein's General Theory of Relativity.
Fossil Hunter: Scott Simpson
CHO & ISO Fellow Scott Simpson has analysed numerous specimens of fossil hominids, including Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus garhi, Ardipithecus ramidus, Ardipithecus kadabba, and Homo erectus. A world-famous paleoanthropologist, Dr. Simpson is centered in Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine, and has conducted some of his best-known field work in Gona, Ethiopia.