Human evolution and evolutionary medicine

Evolutionary biology and medicine share an interest in variation. In medicine, this is mainly the pathological portion of variation in human populations, in evolutionary biology this is the full variation within humans and across other animals. Studying normal traits and how they arise in evolution can substantially contribute to the understanding of pathological deviations. As most human traits are shared with other vertebrates and especially mammals, the comparative approach enables identification of human specific modifications and informs the choice of appropriate animal models. Currently, the work in our group focuses on the peculiarities of human birth, aiming to explain the evolutionary factors and constraints that have led to the comparatively close and vulnerable feto-pelvic fit during human parturition.

 Related projects

  • FWF Richter-Programm V 826 (2020 to present)
    Why is childbirth so difficult in humans? (PI Barbara Fischer)
    Keywords: birth, evolutionary medicine, human evolution, pelvis, obstetrics
  • FWF Meitner-Programm M 2772 (2019 to present)
    The dilemma of human childbirth and the pelvic floor (PI Katya Stansfield) [abstract]
    Keywords: biomechanics, FEA, obstetric dilemma, pelvic floor, evolution
  • FWF project P 29397 Stand-Alone (2016 - 2019)
    Developmental canalization in the human head (PI Philipp Mitteröcker)
    Keywords: morphometrics, cranial growth, theoretical biology, genetic mapping, fluctuating asymmetry, orthodontics