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Eric Delson

Professor & Chair, Department of Anthropology, Lehman College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York;

Professor, CUNY Graduate Programs in Biology (EEB subprogram) and Earth and Environmental Sciences;

Research Associate, Dept. Vertebrate Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History;

Director, New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology;

PhD, Geology, Columbia University, 1973

Fields of Study

Paleoanthropology; primate paleontology & primatology (especially Cercopithecidae); human bio-cultural evolution; Miocene, Pliocene and Pleistocene biochronology; evolutionary biology; 3D morphology & morphometrics.

Current Research Interests

My basic interest is in unraveling the evolutionary history of humans and our close relatives. The inherently interdisciplinary nature of paleoanthropology has led me to study human fossils and their archeological record and the interrelationships of living and extinct Old World monkeys and apes (and to a lesser degree that of other primates). I have used the patterns of Old World monkey evolution to clarify the chronological framework for human evolution in Africa and also to approach general questions of evolutionary processes and patterns. Current projects include the description and analysis of fossil monkeys from Africa, Europe, India and China, as well as the clarification of systematic relationships among all Catarrhini. A continuing interest is the integration of human paleontological, archeological and paleoenvironmental evidence bearing on the evolutionary history of humans. My goal is the synthesis and integration of diverse data, which has drawn me into a variety of editorial ventures.

Along with a group of colleagues and grad students (the NYCEP Morphometrics Group), I am working on several projects in the broad field of geometric morphometric analysis and 3D morphology. Our major current project is to reconstruct the shape of the cranium at various points along the evolutionary tree of Old World monkeys, combining digitizer and laser-scan data on modern and fossil skulls in a framework of statistical analysis and computer-graphic visualization.

My latest venture is a collaboration with French colleagues Claude Guérin and Martine Faure (Lyon) to re-study the late Pliocene (2 million year old) fossil mammal site of Senèze, located inside an extinct volcano in the Massif Central. we are seeking to collect new fossil specimens of rare species belonging to a well-known fauna, obtain more precise estimates of the fauna’s age and to better understand how the site was formed and what the environment was like at the time the mammals lived there.

Recent Publications

Fossil Old World monkeys (Primates: Cercopithecidae) from the Pliocene of Dorkovo, Bulgaria, by E. Delson, H. Thomas, and N. Spassov. Geodiversitas 27: 159-166, 2005.

Cranial allometry, phylogeography and systematics of large bodied papionins (Primates: Cercopithecinae) inferred from geometric morphometric analysis of landmark data, by S. R. Frost, L. F. Marcus, D. Reddy, F. Bookstein and E. Delson. Anatomical Record 275A: 1048-1072, 2003.

Fossil Cercopithecidae from the Hadar Formation and surrounding areas, Pliocene of Ethiopia, by S. R. Frost and E. Delson. J Human Evol., 43: 687-748, 2002.

Other recent publications include:

“The Sambungmacan 3 Homo erectus calvaria: a comparative morphometric and morphological analysis,” by Eric Delson, Katerina Harvati, David Reddy, Leslie F. Marcus, Kenneth Mowbray, G. J. Sawyer, Teuku Jacob and Samuel M‡rquez Anatomical Recordvol. 262: 360-377, 2001.

Body mass in Cercopithecidae (Primates, Mammalia): estimation and scaling in extinct and extant taxa, by Eric Delson, Carl J. Terranova, William L. Jungers, Eric J. Sargis, Nina G. Jablonski and Paul C. Dechow. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History 83: 1-159, 2000.

E. Delson, I. Tattersall, J. A. Van Couvering, and A. S. Brooks, Eds (2000) Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory, 2nd ed. New York: Garland.

Click here for a full bibliography and other info

Selected Older Publications

Dean, D. & Delson, E. (1995) Homo at the gates of Europe? Nature 373: 472-473

Strasser, E. & Delson, E. (1987). Cladistic analysis of cercopithecid relationships. J. Human Evol. 16, 81-99.

Delson, E. , Ed. (1985). Ancestors: The Hard Evidence. New York: Alan R. Liss Inc.

Delson, E. (1984). Cercopithecid biochronology of the African Plio-Pleistocene: correlation among eastern and southern hominid-bearing localities. Cour. Forsch.-Inst. Senckenberg 69, 199-218.

Szalay, F. S. & Delson, E. (1979). Evolutionary History of the Primates.New York: Academic Press (2nd edition in preparation).

Delson, E. & Andrews, P. (1975). Evolution and interrelationships of the catarrhine primates. In (W. P. Luckett and F. S. Szalay, eds) Phylogeny of the Primates: A Multidisciplinary Approach, pp. 405-446. New York: Plenum.

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