Carol V. Ward, Ph.D.

Curators' Distinguished Professor

Director of Anatomical Sciences

Integrative Anatomy Program

Dept. of Pathology & Anatomical Sciences

Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Anthropology

Pronouns:  She, her

PhD 1991    The Johns Hopkins University

                      Functional Anatomy & Evolution

                      Dept. of Cell Biology & Anatomy

BS 1986      The University of Michigan

                       Anthropology & Zoology    



Office:   M308 Medical Sciences Building


Lab:      M304 Medical Sciences Building



FAX:     573-884-4612


Skype:  wardcv

Mailing Address:

Dept. of Pathology & Anatomical Sciences

M263 Medical Sciences Building

One Hospital Drive

University of Missouri

Columbia, MO  65212

Contact Information

I am interested in the evolution of apes and early hominins. My research focuses on fossils from East and South Africa, primarily Kenya. I take a mechanical approach to the interpretation of the postcranial skeleton, and use these principles to reconstruct the behavior of extinct animals. My overall research goal is to understand human origins.

I teach anatomy to undergraduate, medical, and physical therapy students. I also advise graduate students through the Integrative Anatomy group of the Pathobiology Area Program.

I study early hominins, including analysis of the earliest Australopithecus anamensis from Kanapoi, Kenya, and A. afarensis from Hadar and Dikika.  I am also involved in paleontological fieldwork in Kenya as part of the West Turkana Paleontology Project. We have active field research at the Pliocene site of Lomekwi and late Pleistocene site of Natodomeri.  I also am describing new hominin cranial and postcranial remains from the east and west sides of Lake Turkana, Kenya. 

My lab is collaborating on several projects employing novel non-landmarked based 3D analyses of continuous laser scan data to quantify shapes in damaged specimens and of complex surfaces, and to study comparative functional morphology in ways not previously possible. We are applying these techniques to the fossils being studied in the lab.

I also study the evolution of the hominoid torso, combining

CT scan data, and with more traditional analyses of pelvis,

ribs, vertebrae sternum, clavicle and scapula to discern

how torsos vary among anthropoids, and how much

integration there is among these elements. These data

will inform us about interpreting similarities and differences

in body plan in hominoids known from relatively few elements,

providing us with a more solid basis for interpreting the

evolution of the torso and locomotion in hominoids.   We are

beginning to explore using diceCT soft-tissue imaging to explore

muscle structure and function among primates.

On a smaller scale, I also am currently collaborating with

orthopedic surgeons and an engineer to use 3D image

analysis and finite element modeling to study the spinal

mechanics and a simulation-based approach using actual

human bony geometries to improve femoral instrumentation


© 2019 by Carol V Ward