PhD, University of Wisconsin, 1982
Dr. Larson is currently involved in a project that will use state-of-the-art computer modeling and lab-based experimental techniques to study the mechanics, energetics, and control of bipedal locomotion in chimpanzees. In collaboration with researchers at UMASS Amherst, a computer model of the chimpanzee musculoskeletal system will be developed that can be used to generate simulations of bipedal walking. Dr. Larson’s research will contribute to the empirically derived locomotor data set that will be used in the construction of the model. The simulated bipedalism generated from this empirically validated chimpanzee musculoskeletal model can be used to evaluate the impact of specific morphological adaptations that have been proposed to play a role in the evolution of human bipedalism. Together, these modeling and experimental investigations will be used to reconstruct the most likely manner in which the australopithecine ancestors of humans walked on two legs, and by so doing, determine if australopithecine bipedality was transitional between that of apes and humans.