Pliocene site of Senèze

Eric Delson has co-directed field research at the Pliocene site of Senèze, France, in collaboration with colleagues from the Universities of Lyon. This work involves the re-excavation of a previously known, rich paleontological site, in order to clarify its age, taphonomy and paleoenvironment and to collect further remains of rare taxa such as carnivores and primates. Numerous NYCEP graduate students and faculty, CUNY undergraduates and several dozen French students have participated in this project since it began in 2001. Improving communication between French and US students, and training them in modern paleontological methods, were additional major goals of the project, which has now stopped for several years of analysis preparatory to publication. See PDF.

The NYCEP Morphometrics Group

The NYCEP Morphometrics Group is directed by Eric Delson (CUNY & AMNH), with major input from Jim Rohlf (SUNY, CUNY adjunct) and Will Harcourt-Smith (CUNY & AMNH) in collaboration with a number of recent NYCEP graduates and current students. It was initially funded by NSF grant ACI 99-82351 (PIs Delson, David Reddy and the late Leslie Marcus) and has continued with support from NSF BCS 04-52961 and IIS 05-13660 and 11-16921, as well as NYCEP IGERT awards. The morphometrics group is developing new approaches to the 3-D analysis of morphology for application to studies of phylogeny, systematics, biogeography and ontogeny. It has produced a number of dissertations, ranging from Neanderthal taxonomy to Miocene ape phylogeny to australopith limb bones to platyrrhine craniodental morphology, and it has supported five postdoctoral associates. Ongoing projects include: a morphometric database for different types of metric data (caliper measurements, 3-d coordinates) and metadata (locality, altitude, age, sex, stratigraphy, etc.) across higher primates; visualization of phylogenetic change and 3D reconstruction of inferred "ancestors" on a phylogenetic tree; techniques to analyze 3-d outlines and surfaces, especially of the elbow and ankle; and visualization of shape change in high dimensional data. One of the many collaborative projects that have been produced by this research program involved then-recent Ph.D.s Katerina Harvati, Stephen Frost and Kieran McNulty, who combined their data on a wide array of primate crania as models for inter- and intra- specific morphological variation; they applied this variation standard to a comparison between Neanderthals and modern humans in order to test the proposed subspecific status of this fossil human group (see PNAS paper). Numerous students have been involved in morphometrics research, either in internships or as part of their doctoral projects. Baab, Cooke, Freidline, Frost, Halenar, Harvati, McNulty, Pagano, Robinson and Tallman have completed their PhDs (see NYCEP Alumni Pages), while morphometric dissertations are in progress by Astorino, Getahun, Gladman, Klukkert, Mazelis, O'Shea and Webb (see NYCEP Student Pages).

Last Update: June 23rd 2017
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