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Carol V. Ward, Ph.D.

Curators' Distinguished Professor

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:      M303 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 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 medical, undergraduate and physical therapy students. I also advise graduate students through the Integrative Anatomy emphasis area of the Pathobiology Area Program.

I study early hominins, including analysis of the Paranthropus and early Homo from Koobi Fora, Kenya, earliest Australopithecus anamensis from Kanapoi, Kenya, A. afarensis from Hadar and Dikika, and A. africanus from Sterkfontein, South Africa.  I am also co-director of the West Turkana Paleontology Project which conducts paleontological fieldwork in Kenya as part of the  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.  We are developing new research using contrast-enhanced CT imaging of the back and limb muscles of primates to visualize musculature and explore musculoskeletal biomechanics in three dimensions.

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 and the musculskeletal system that comprises them

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.   

On a smaller scale, I also collaborate with orthopedic surgeons

and engineers to use 3D image analysis and finite element

modeling to study the spinal mechanics and a simulation-based

approach using actual bone geometries to improve orthopedic

instrumentation design.

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