Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNew York, Hunter College, City U. of
Grant numberGr. 9297
Approve DateApril 19, 2016
Project TitlePugh, Kelsey D., City U. of New York, Hunter College, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Early Hominin Evolution Within the Broader Context of Mid-Late Miocene Hominoid Phylogeny,' supervised by Dr. Christopher C. Gilbert
KELSEY D. PUGH, then a graduate student at City University of New York, Hunter College, New York, New York, received funding in April 2016 to aid research on ‘Early Hominin Evolution Within the Broader Context of Mid-Late Miocene Hominoid Phylogeny,’ supervised by Dr. Christopher C. Gilbert. The living great apes, humans, and their fossil relatives (Family Hominidae) are among the most intensively studied mammalian groups, yet many aspects of their shared evolutionary history are not well understood. Phylogenetic relationships’ how species are related to one another- among fossil hominids, as well as between fossil and living hominids, are poorly resolved despite the numerous recent fossil discoveries due in part to a lack of comprehensive analyses. Moreover, previous phylogenetic studies have examined hominin or ape phylogeny in isolation, rather than evaluating early hominin evolution within the larger Mid-Late Miocene ape radiation. The main objective of this project is to perform a phylogenetic analysis of all known Mid-Late Miocene hominoid taxa, including the earliest potential hominins Ardipithecus, Orrorin, and Sahelanthropus using updated character analysis and tree inference methods. Data collection for this project is nearing completion, and parsimony and Bayesian inference will follow finalization of the character matrix. Bayesian hypothesis testing of proposed scenarios of biogeography and locomotor evolution, as well as ancestral state reconstruction, will follow. An understanding of phylogeny is essential to many of the larger questions we seek answers to in paleoanthropology, providing the necessary foundation to frame both taxonomic and paleobiological questions.