Paleoanthropologists believe the discovery marks a new link between the traits of the more rugged Australopithecus africanus that was present 1 million years earlier and the later taxon Homo habilis that eventually evolved into Homo erectus.
"Being a member of the team interpreting the Malapa fossils is an extraordinary privilege in that I have an opportunity to be at the forefront of paleoanthropology," Carlson said. "I feel a duty to the field to proceed with cautious scientific analysis, but yet there is also the undeniable excitement of being able to study and interpret previously unknown morphologies and constellations of traits."
As a core member of the Malapa team Carlson led the analyses of particular components of the discoveries and was responsible for directing all virtual work involving the fossils, as well as several aspects of structural interpretation of morphology in the fossils. Currently a senior researcher and research associate in IU Bloomington's Department of Anthropology, Carlson received his MA and PhD in anthropology from IU after receiving BS degrees in anthropology and anthropology-zoology from the University of Michigan. He completed post-doctoral work in the Department of Anatomical Sciences, Stony Brook University, and in the Anthropologisches Institut und Museum, Universitt Zrich.
Some of his areas of specialization include the examination of morphological variability in extant and fossil ape limb anatomy, experimental analyses of primate gait kinetics and kinematics, and studying form-function relationships in vertebrate limb anatomy. Through examination of computed tomography scans (CT) scans of bone cross sections Carlson can use mathematical models to estimate bone strengths of primates, modern hunter-gatherers and other mammals.
IU anthropology Professor Kevin Hunt, Carlson's adviser when the student receive
|Contact: Steve Chaplin|