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The NYCEP Morphometrics Group (NMG) is a loose association of researchers who share an interest in analyzing morphological evolution of primates using three-dimensional geometric morphometric (3D GM) methods. GM is an approach to the quantitative interpretation of form utilizing coordinate data, which thus retains the relative placement of structures under study (see Rohlf and Marcus, 1993) (PDF 716 kB).

The NMG grew out of a collaboration between Leslie Marcus and Eric Delson aimed at comparing the craniofacial morphology of cercopithecine monkeys in a phylogenetic framework. Projects now involve a wide range of living and fossil primate taxa, as well as many different skeletal elements. First funded by a CUNY cross-campus collaboration grant, Marcus and Delson worked with David Reddy on a consultancy basis. Delson, Marcus and Reddy then applied through the AMNH for an NSF Computer Science Initiative in the analysis of large data sets and were funded from 1999-2004 to develop GM tools and analyses, as well as a database system to allow easy access to the masses of data involved. A 2005 grant from NSF Physical Anthropology supported a project on joint surface congruence in the hominoid ankle. (PDF)

A second grant from NSF Computer Science (to a collaborative team including a UC-Davis group led by Nina Amenta; Jim Rohlf; and NMG) supported research (still on-going) on the statistical interpolation of intermediate morphology in Old World monkey cranial evolution. A preliminary approach to that work was submitted as an abstract (PDF 3.9 MB) to the IEEE Visualization conference and as a video to the NSF/AAAS Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge, where it was awarded Honorable Mention (as described in the summary PDF 705 kB). This and later grants also supported the construction of the PRIMO database (http://primo.nycep.org), where researchers can freely download data taken from collections of extant and fossil primates (including humans) around the world.

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Updated: 08 November 2012