The Honors and AP Biology classes at Indian Hills learned about fieldwork at Laetoli and in Romania researching early hominids with Dr. Chris Robinson, a paleoanthropologist from CUNY through the Skype A Scientist program as part of their evolution unit of study. Dr. Robinson shared his research experiences which have primarily focused on using three-dimensional geometric morphometrics to explore shape differences in the mandible, teeth, and cranium of fossil hominins and extant hominoids; A. anamensis-A. afarensis lineage. His other major research focus is working with U.S. and Romanian colleagues at Early Pleistocene field sites in the Oltet River Valley in Romania. His team has identified several fossil-bearing localities and documented additional mammalian species in museum collections that have increased our understanding of the paleoenvironmental conditions in Eastern Europe at this critical time period in hominin evolution (i.e., approximately when early hominins are first dispersing out of Africa). The team’s research has involved analyzing data from micro- and mesowear, stable isotopes, ecomorphology, and taphonomy from a number of Romanian sites, which has enabled us to refine paleoenvironmental models. Robinson has contributed his research experience on mammalian, especially giraffid, evolution to analyzing the material recovered from these sites.
He has published articles in Journal of Human Evolution, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Journal of Anatomy, Anatomical Record, Journal of Morphology, South African Journal of Science and the Quaternary International.