Dr. Schwartz is interested in the evolutionary history of primate and human growth and development as evidenced from developing tooth tissues. Teeth grow in an incremental manner, like trees and shells, preserving a record of their growth in the form of daily lines. The rate at which teeth grow is very closely linked to all kinds of important biological variables such as brain size, gestation length, longevity, etc. Recently, Dr. Schwartz has been studying how using information on the time and timing of dental development can help us understand the evolutionary history of the extended growth period so unique to modern humans. Current work using the incremental structures in teeth is also addressing fundamental questions related to the developmental bases of canine sexual dimorphism during primate evolution and the role dental development plays in life history evolution.
His work bridges the gap between comparative anatomy/morphology and evolutionary developmental biology. In conjunction with new discoveries in genetics and developmental biology, the type of information produced in his lab provides an exciting way of exploring the mechanisms that underlie morphological change during evolution. The techniques routinely used in his lab involve the preparation of histological thin sections of modern and fossil teeth for transmitted and polarized light microscopy . Additionally, scanning electron microscopy and computed tomography are used to examine non-invasively the internal structures of fossil teeth.
In addition to labwork, Dr. Schwartz goes to the field to collect original fossil hominid material. He is one of the co-directors of the Paleoanthropology Field School in Makapansgat, South Africa (website address forthcoming) run jointly between Arizona State University and the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
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Schwartz GT, Miller ER, Gunnell GF (2005)
Developmental processes, life history and canine dimorphism in primate evolution. Journal of Human Evolution. (Download pdf)
Godfrey, L.R., G.M. Semprebon, G.T. Schwartz, D.A. Burney, W.L. Jungers, E.K. Flanagan, F.P. Cuozzo, and S.J. King (2005)
New insights into old lemurs: The trophic adaptations of the Archaeolemuridae. International Journal of Primatology 26 (5).
Schwartz GT, Liu W, and Zheng L (2003)
Preliminary investigation of dental microstructure in the Yuanmou hominoid (Lufengpithecus hudienensis) Yunnan Province, China. Journal of Human Evolution 44,189-202. (Download pdf)
Schwartz GT, Jungers WL, Samonds KE, Godfrey LR and Simons EL (2002)
Dental microstructure and life history in subfossil Malagasy lemurs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99, 6124-6129. (Download pdf)
Schwartz GT & Dean MC (2001)
The ontogeny of canine dimorphism in extant hominoids. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 115, 269-283. (Download pdf)
Schwartz GT, Reid DJ and Dean MC (2001).
Developmental aspects of sexual dimorphism in hominoid canines. International Journal of Primatology 22, 837-860. (Download pdf)
Schwartz GT (2000a)
Taxonomic and functional aspects of the patterning of enamel thickness distribution in extant large-bodied hominoids. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 111, 221-244. (Download pdf)
Schwartz GT (2000b)
Enamel thickness and the helicoidal wear plane in modern human mandibular molars. Archives of Oral Biology 45, 401-409. (Download pdf)
Reid DJ, Schwartz GT, Chandrasekera MS, and Dean MC (1998)
A histological reconstruction of dental development in the common chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes. Journal of Human Evolution 35, 427-448. (Download pdf)
Schwartz GT, Thackeray JF, Reid C and van Reenan JF (1998)
Enamel thickness and the topography of the enamel-dentine junction in South African Plio-Pleistocene hominids with special reference to the Carabelli trait. Journal of Human Evolution 35, 523-542. (Download pdf)
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Gary T. Schwartz
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