David J. Green, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


   Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine
   College of Dental Medicine - Illinois
   Midwestern University
   Department of Anatomy
   Science Hall 542-J

   555 31st Street
   Downers Grove, IL 60515

   Office: (630) 515-6062
   e-mail: dgreen1@midwestern.edu

 

EDUCATION

Ph.D. Hominid Paleobiology The George Washington University 2010
B.A. Biological Anthropology and Anatomy Duke University 2003

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RESEARCH SUMMARY

Human evolution and comparative postcranial anatomy

I am interested in the comparative anatomy of the shoulder girdle among hominoid (humans and apes) primates. Humans do not use their upper limbs for locomotion, but it is becoming apparent that this is a relatively recent phenomenon in our evolutionary history. One of my main research goals is better understand the nature of the transition to dedicated bipedal locomotion by investigating the evidence for climbing adaptations among early hominin taxa, particularly members of the genus Australopithecus (which includes the famous "Lucy" skeleton) and early representatives of our genus Homo.

I am affiliated with the Evolutionary Studies Institute and the Centre of Excellence in PalaeoSciences at the University of the Witwatersrand and was a member of the research team that recently announced the discovery of a new species, Homo naledi, from the Rising Star Cave near Johannesburg, South Africa. This work garnered significant media attention and was the subject of the October 2015 cover story of the National Geographic Magazine. This research was also featured in a NOVA/National Geographic special. In November, I was interviewed about my involvement in the discovery for an episode of the Calumet Roundtable and just recently, Discovery Magazine named the H. naledi find the #2 science story of 2015.

The focus of work in my lab has been continued analysis of an extensive developmental comparative morphometric dataset from over 1,200 fossil and extant hominoid scapulae collected from various museums throughout the US, UK, and Africa. Recently, we have been working to implement new methods (including three-dimensional geometric morphometrics) to better understand scapular shape variation among living taxa in order to extend these analyses to the fossil record.

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Research Projects

Project I:

Comparative scapular morphology and development. Scapular morphology is hypothesized to be closely related to locomotor behaviors among primates. Further elucidation of morphological differences among hominoid primates ought to have important implications for the hominin fossil record. This project investigates scapular shape variation among living hominoid primates (I also have an extensive dataset of rhesus macaques, and Old World Monkey). Methodological approaches include two-dimensional morphometrics of scapular shape and three-dimensional geometric morphometrics of scapular fossa shape. This dataset includes both juvenile and adult specimens, so we have investigated differences among adults and within taxa throughout development. Future analyses will be devoted to investigating 3D scapular fossa development, sexual dimorphism, and subspecific scapular shape variation.

Overlapping supraspinous fossa curves following Procrustes superimposition procedure; the thicker lines depict group mean shapes: blue lines - Homo; orange - Pongo; gray - Gorilla; red - Pan; green - Hylobates. Anchor points are depicted relative to the mean curve shape of Pan. Curves are depicted in superior view (left) and oblique dorsal (right) views (from Green et al., 2015).
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Green D.J., Spiewak T.A.*, Seitelman B.C., Gunz P. 2016. Scapular shape of the African ape/modern human last common ancestor. J. hum. Evol. 94:1-12.

"Audioslide" presentation

Green D.J., Sugiura Y.*, Seitelman, B.C., Gunz P. 2015. Reconciling the convergence of supraspinous fossa shape among hominoids in light of locomotor differences. Am. J. phys. Anthropol. 156: 498-510.

Green D.J., Serrins J.D.*, Seitelman B.C., Martiny A.R., Gunz P. 2015. Geometric morphometrics of hominoid infraspinous fossa shape. Anat. Rec. 298: 180-194.

Green D.J. 2013. Ontogeny of the hominoid shoulder: the influence of locomotion on morphology. Am. J. phys. Anthropol. 152: 239-260.

*MWU student contributor

 

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Project II:

Hominin fossil discovery and description. The 2006 announcement of a nearly complete Australopithecus afarensis child from Dikika, Ethiopia that preserves both complete scapulae initially spurred my interest in shoulder morphology. I am most fortunate to be involved in continued study of this fossil, in addition to new fossils from Koobi Fora, Kenya, and The Rising Star Cave in South Africa.

Cover image from the 26 October 2012 issue of Science: "Skull and shoulders of "Selam" - a 3.3-million-year-old female child Australopithecus afarensis from Dikika, Ethiopia. The upside-down view reveals her palate, vertebral column, and both shoulder blades (in this orientation, the scapula on the right measures 60 millimeters across). The scapulae were recently freed from their sandstone matrix and are described in the Report on page 514. The scapulae display several apelike characteristics, implying that A. afarensis was still a capable climber. Image: Zeresenay Alemseged/Dikika Research Project."

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Cover image from the 26 October 2012 issue of Science: "Skull and shoulders of "Selam" - a 3.3-million-year-old female child Australopithecus afarensis from Dikika, Ethiopia. The upside-down view reveals her palate, vertebral column, and both shoulder blades (in this orientation, the scapula on the right measures 60 millimeters across). The scapulae were recently freed from their sandstone matrix and are described in the Report on page 514. The scapulae display several apelike characteristics, implying that A. afarensis was still a capable climber. Image: Zeresenay Alemseged/Dikika Research Project."

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SELECTED PUBLICATIONS

Berger L.R. et al. 2015. Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa. eLife 4:e09560.

Calumet Roundtable interview

Green D.J., Alemseged, Z. 2012. Australopithecus afarensis scapular ontogeny, function, and the role of climbing in human evolution. Science. 338: 514-517.

Listen to the Podcast

Larson Perspective piece

Gordon A.D., Green D.J., Richmond B.G. 2008. Strong postcranial size dimorphism in Australopithecus afarensis: results from two new resampling methods for multivariate data sets with missing data. Am. J. phys. Anthropol. 135: 311-328.

Green D.J., Gordon A.D. 2008. Metacarpal proportions in Australopithecus africanus. J. hum. Evol. 54: 705-719.

Green D.J., Gordon A.D., Richmond, B.G. 2007. Limb-size proportions in Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus africanus. J. hum. Evol. 52: 187-200.

 

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Project III:

Comparative clavicular morphology and development. The Dikika baby also preserves both clavicles, and so I am planning to continue examining the pectoral girdle through a systematic, ontogenetic investigation of clavicular morphology. This study will focus primarily on clavicular curvature and length to better reconstruct the orientation of the pectoral girdle about the thorax. This study will hopefully provide the tools needed to reconstruct pectoral girdle configuration in fossil taxa, particularly if only portions of the scapula or clavicle are preserved. This study will rely heavily on three-dimensional data analysis drawn from both surface and CT scans.

A 3D model of a female chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) from the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian).

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MICELLANEOUS PUBLICATIONS

Hatala K.G., Roach N.T., Ostrofsky K.R., Wunderlich R.E., Dingwall H.L., Villmoare B.A., Green D.J., Harris, J.W.K., Braun D.R., Richmond B.R. 2016. Footprints reveal direct evidence of group behavior and locomotion in Homo erectus. Sci Reports. 6:28766.

Live Science news article

Rabey K.N., Green D.J., Taylor A.B., Begun D.R., Richmond B.R., McFarlin S.C. 2015. Locomotor activity influences muscle and bone growth but not muscle attachment site morphology. J. hum. Evol. 78: 91-102.

Green D.J., Richmond B.G., Miran S.L. 2012. Mouse shoulder morphology responds to locomotor differences in climbing and running. J. Exp. Zool. Part B (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 318: 621-638.

Green D.J., Hamrick M.W., Richmond B.G. 2011. The effects of hypermuscularity on shoulder morphology in myostatin-deficient mice. J. Anat. 218: 544-557.

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For more information on my research, please follow me on ResearchGate and Google Scholar.

 

CURRENT TEACHING ACTIVITIES

Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine

College of Dental Medicine-Illinois

College of Health Sciences