Invited Speakers

We are pleased to announce that our invited speakers at MORPH2017 are:

Radu Iovita (Assistant Professor of Anthropology, New York University)

Radu Iovita is a Palaeolithic archaeologist interested in studies of human behavioural adaptations resulting from abrupt environmental change. Radu has an extensive portfolio of research into the functional analyses of toolkits, and technological variability through the application of geometric morphometrics. More information about Radu can be found here:

Title: Coming of age in archaeological morphometrics: integrating scale, process, and behaviour

Abstract: Born out of a desire to introduce rigor into the study of artifact shapes that traditionally underpins typology, the application of geometric morphometric techniques to archaeological objects has grown and diversified in the methodological dimension. As new and improved protocols are added to the arsenal of quantitative tools, it is equally important to expand the range of topics to apply them to. In particular, this talk will review studies tying shape not only to production, but also to the function, operation, and life histories of objects, and furthermore to features at other scales than that of the artifact. An exposition of the role of morphometrics in describing and quantifying taphonomic and wear-related phenomena at microscopic scales will be followed by suggestions for future applications at the site- and landscape-scale.


Philipp Gunz (Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology)

Philipp Gunz is a physical anthropologist interested in developmental and evolutionary changes  in the growth patterns and morphology of fossils hominins, extant humans and non-human primates. Philipp’s research focuses on the application of geometric morphometrics to quantify evolutionary changes in the craniofacial and endocranial growth pattern of great apes and australopithecines, morphological integration in modern humans and Neanderthals, craniofacial variability in early Homo, and shape differences in teeth. More information on Philipp can be found here:

Title: Evolution and Development of the human face and brain

The evolutionary processes and population dynamics shaping the cranial diversity of modern humans are largely unknown.  A number of fossils from North, South, and East Africa document the early stages of our species, and fossils from the Levante document the presumed first wave of migration out of Africa.

We used 3D geometric morphometrics based on landmarks and semilandmarks to compare cranial shape in a worldwide sample of recent and fossil humans from Africa, Europe, and Asia. Given that many Homo sapiens fossils are larger than recent Homo sapiens, we use multivariate regressions of cranial shape on cranial size to quantify static allometry and visualise how evolutionary changes of cranial size within the modern human lineage affects cranial shape.

Our data support a complex evolutionary history of our species involving the whole African continent. Regarding facial shape, we find that even the early H. sapiens specimens fall within the shape variation of recent modern humans. Endocranial shape, however, changes considerably within the Homo sapiens lineage.