Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Hominin cranial base evolution and genes implicated in basioccipital development: Role of Pax7, Fgfr3 and Disp1 in basioccipital development and integration
by Nevell, Lisa, Ph.D., The George Washington University, 2009, 170; 3339003
Abstract (Summary)

Cranial base morphology features in some hominin species diagnoses. One of the unsolved puzzles of the hominin cranial base is the evolutionary history of the apparent convergence seen in the cranial base morphology of two hominin subclades, Homo and Paranthropus. Both subclades apparently share the same suite of cranial base characters, namely, a reduction in anteroposterior length of the cranial base, more coronally-orientated long axes of the petrous component of the temporal bones of the cranial base, and a more centrally-located foramen magnum. Did the two subclades inherit this morphology from a recent common ancestor, or is the morphology homoplasic in the two subclades?

This thesis had two main aims. The first was to provide a better comparative context for the study of hominin cranial base evolution; this forms Chapter 2 of the thesis. The second was to use animal models to investigate (A) the extent to which the cranial base is affected by morphological integration, and (B) whether three genes that have been implicated in one way, or another, in the development of the cranial base, affect its development in ways that are analogous to the differences between the cranial base of modern humans and our close living relatives, chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas. Disruption of Disp1, Pax7, or FGFr3 each resulted in an increase on the length of the basioccipital bone in newborn mice. The basioccipital responded in a highly integrated fashion to various perturbations of normal growth. Morphological integration may facilitate apparent homoplasy in the hominin cranial base.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wood, Bernard A.
Commitee: Bernstein, Robin, Keller, Charles, Lucas, Peter, Richmond, Brian, Sherwood, Chet
School: The George Washington University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Physical anthropology, Genetics
Keywords: Basioccipital development, Cranial base development, Disp1, Fgfr3, Hominin, Hominin evolution, Morphological integration, Pax7
Publication Number: 3339003
ISBN: 978-0-549-94149-1
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