The Human Paleontology Lab

Skull

The UNLV Human Paleontology Laboratory is directed by Brian Villmoare. Our research focuses on the human fossil record, with an emphasis on using modern technologies and quantitative methods to infer the patterns, adaptive influences, and evolutionary constraints that shaped the craniofacial evolution of early human ancestors.

Current Laboratory Projects

  • Computed tomography analysis of internal craniofacial structure of Australopithecus and Paranthropus
  • Facial biomechanics of Australopithecus afarensis
  • Morphological integration and evolutionary constraints in early hominin evolution
  • Mouse models to identify genetic modules
  • Adaptation and evolution in the 2.0–3.0 MY interval, and cladogenesis between the Homo and Paranthropus lineages
  • Early hominin social structure based on sexual dimorphism and group composition based on the Ilaret footprint site

Field Research

Brian Villmoare is currently the co-director (with ASU Professors Kaye Reed and Christopher Campisano) of the Ledi-Gerary Project in the Afar Region of Ethiopia. This project focuses on the transition in human evolution during the 2.0–3.0 million-year interval. Villmoare is also a senior researcher with the Koobi Fora Field Project in the Turkana and is interested in the behavioral and social inferences that can be made from the Ilaret hominin footprint locality.