Carol V. Ward, Ph.D.
Curators' Distinguished Professor
Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Anthropology
Pronouns: She, her
PhD 1991 The Johns Hopkins University
Dept. of Cell Biology & Anatomy
BS 1986 The University of Michigan
Anthropology & Zoology
Office: M308 Medical Sciences Building
Lab: M303 Medical Sciences Building
Dept. of Pathology & Anatomical Sciences
M263 Medical Sciences Building
One Hospital Drive
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65212
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 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