• David Almeida - Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
    "A transdisciplinary study of human evolution and diversity not only helps us understand how and why we became who we are, it is necessary for determining how we function day-to-day. My research examines the effects of biological and self-reported indicators of daily stress on health. How we experience and respond to daily life challenges is intricately tied to the evolution of human diversity."
    David Almeida - Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
  • Eric Plutzer - Professor of Political Science
    "For problems ranging from infectious disease to racial tensions in American cities, understanding that evolution matters but that genes are not deterministic and differ in their effects depending on social behavior and environment is a powerful way to better understand and solve many human challenges. Interdisciplinary research holds great promise for using our knowledge of evolution effectively to improve the human condition."
    Eric Plutzer - Professor of Political Science
  • Peter Hatemi - Professor of Political Science
    "If we are to make any headway in fighting diseases, reducing inequalities and the internecine fighting that appears to emerge so endemically when resources are scarce, values differ, and political approaches conflict, we must utilize multiple approaches, methods, be transdisciplinary and take into account the nature of human diversity, at every level, from our genes to our social identifications."
    Peter Hatemi - Professor of Political Science
  • Heather Toomey Zimmerman - Associate Professor of Education
    “Bringing together multiple disciplines to understand how people learn and reason about complex topics such as human evolution is important for today’s schools, museums, and other educational settings. The Center offers multiple perspectives of how research in this area is conducted, which will enhance young people’s views of how scientific knowledge is developed and of human diversity.”
    Heather Toomey Zimmerman - Associate Professor of Education
  • Nina Jablonski – CHED Director and Evan Pugh Professor of Anthropology
    Human beings are products of rich and complex interactions between biology and culture that have developed over millions of years. Human evolutionary history informs our understanding of human behavior and culture, and vice versa. Examining only one side of this set of reciprocal interactions risks missing the plot entirely.
    Nina Jablonski – CHED Director and Evan Pugh Professor of Anthropology
  • Mark Shriver - Professor of Biological Anthropology
    "Our Center is important for two reasons: 1) There are many interesting questions yet to answer about human evolution and physical, behavioral, and genetic variation, and 2) There seems to be a continuing divide between what anthropologists know and how they think about human evolution and diversity and how the general public and academic colleagues in other fields think about these topics."
    Mark Shriver - Professor of Biological Anthropology
You are here: Home / Projects / Evolution and Development of the Human Wrist

Evolution and Development of the Human Wrist

Evolution and Development of the Human Wrist


Amount funded:  $20,000

 

Project Personnel:

PI:  Philip Reno, Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts

Co-PI:  Istvan Albert, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Eberly College of Science

Co-PI:  Aimin Liu, Department of Biology, Eberly College of Science

Co-PI:  Leah Bug, Center for Science and the Schools, College of Education

 

Biological anthropology is poised to take advantage of emerging experimental techniques and comparative functional genomics to identify the genetic and developmental basis for evolutionarily relevant morphological traits. The wrist is uniquely qualified for such an analysis given its importance to primate locomotor and human manipulative capabilities. One of the most pronounced, yet understudied, aspects of the human wrist is the dramatic reduction of the pisiform. Pisiform reduction is noteworthy because it occurs within the context of the derived superposition of the pisiform on the triquetral, typical of great apes, compared to the ancestral pisiform-ulnar contact that characterizes monkeys, Early Miocene hominoids (Proconsul), and mice. A plausible developmental mechanism exists for human pisiform reduction: the loss of the growth plate and one of the two centers of ossification found in other mammals. Better understanding of the genes and enhancers involved in mammalian wrist morphogenesis and their conservation across hominoids can address targeted hypotheses concerning the developmental basis and evolutionary trajectories for ape and human morphology.

Center for Human Evolution and Diversity

403C Carpenter Building, University Park, PA 16802

Phone_Icon.png (814) 867-0454