This week’s episode is coming to you from Caveat Theater in NYC, featuring Shara Bailey, a paleoanthropologist. Dr. Bailey studies dental morphology and morphometrics in order to learn more about the origin and evolution of modern humans.

 Dr. Shara Bailey

Dr. Shara Bailey

Dr. Bailey received her BA, MA, and PhD from Arizona State University. She is currently a professor at NYU and an Associated Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Through her work, Dr. Bailey has studied a large collection of both human and ape dental specimens from many points in history. Currently, Dr. Bailey is studying the “evolution of childhood” through a comparative study of different species’ baby teeth at various points in human evolution.

 

Why it matters:

Ancient teeth are able to reveal new information about the lives of early humans, including diet, age, and overall health. Dr. Bailey uses these teeth to learn more about the evolution of humans, including their taxonomy and migration patterns. With this information, scientists can discover how early humans evolved to where we are now.


 

Further reading:

Comparing the tooth shape and crown outlines of Neanderthals and humans:

http://www.academia.edu/23585426/Allometry_Merism_and_Tooth_Shape_of_the_Lower_Second_Deciduous_Molar_and_First_Permanent_Molar

 

Using early dental specimens to determine the time of arrival of modern humans in Western Europe:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25908660

 

Using an upper molar to determine the time of the first early hominid presence in Central Africa:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0084652

 

To learn more about Dr. Bailey’s External Affiliations:

Center for the Study of Human Origins

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany,

Posted
AuthorEileen Klomhaus