PhD, City University of New York, 2007
Karen Baab is a biological anthropologist with broad interests in human evolution and the evolution of the primate skull. Much of her research has focused on identifying patterns of temporal and spatial variation in the hominin skull, particularly Homo erectus. This is the first human ancestor documented outside of the African continent, nearly 1.8 million years ago. Homo erectus represents a geographically widespread species found in Africa, Eurasia, and island Southeast Asia whose fossil record spans nearly two million years.
She uses 3D geometric morphometrics to quantify the shape of the skull and to explore evolutionary change in both size and shape. Using geometric morphometric techniques, she has explored the relationship between cranial size and shape (allometry) and its implications for Homo floresiensis ("the Hobbit"). She has also documented a relationship between the shape of the cranium and the expression of cranial robusticity in a global sample of modern humans. Ongoing work includes the investigation of phylogeny, size, and diet in shaping the lemuriform skull, including the giant subfossil species.