Chris Robinson is a Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center, and the Chairperson of the Biological Sciences department at Bronx Community College. He is also a consultant for the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
His research is primarily focused on using three dimensional geometric morphometrics to explore shape differences in the mandible, teeth, and cranium of fossil hominins and extant hominoids. He is a co-PI with Drs. W. Kimbel, Z. Alemseged, C. Ross, A. Taylor, and C. Ward on an NSF funded project that quantifies the magnitude and nature of external and internal morphological variation in mandibles of extant hominoids and the A. anamensis-A. afarensis
lineage. His team uses finite-element analysis to test hypotheses regarding the biomechanical significance of variation in mandibular morphology in these taxa and to evaluate the extent to which this and variation in the spatial positioning and size of masticatory system components explains changes in mandibular shape in hominin evolution. Additional projects related to mandibular morphology and early hominins include exploring the evolution of the chin, focusing on how changes in the symphyseal morphology in early hominins may have been influential in this process, and examining the controversial hypothesis that Australopithecus sediba
is the ancestor of our genus.
His other major research focus is working with US and Romanian colleagues at Early Pleistocene field sites in the Olteţ 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
the Quaternary International
Terhune, C. E., Curran, S., Croitor, R., Drăgușin, V., Gaudin, T., Petculescu, A., Robinson, C., Robu, M., & Werdelin, L. (2020). Early Pleistocene fauna of the Olteţ River Valley of Romania: Biochronological and biogeographic implications. Quaternary International 553: 14-33.
Croitor, R., & Robinson, C. (2020). A revision of “Cervus” punjabiensis Brown, 1926 (Cervidae, Mammalia) from the Upper Siwaliks of Chandigarh, India. Quaternary International 550: 147-158.
Robinson, C., & Yoakum, C. B. (2019). Variation in accessory mental foramen frequency and number in extant hominoids. The Anatomical Record.
Robinson, C., Campbell, T. L., Cote, S., & de Ruiter, D. J. (2018) Temporal ranges and ancestry in the hominin fossil record: The case of Australopithecus sediba. South African Journal of Science, 114(3-4), 1-7.
Terhune C.E., Ritzman T.B., Robinson C.A. (2018) Mandibular ramus shape variation and ontogeny in Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis. Journal of Human Evolution 121, 57-71 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.03.009
Robinson, C. A., Terhune, C. E. (2017) Error in geometric morphometric data collection: combining data from multiple sources. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 164(1) 62-75. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.23257
Ritzman, T.B., Terhune, C.E., Gunz, P., & Robinson, C. A. (2017) Mandibular ramus shape of Australopithecus sediba suggests a single variable species. Journal of Human Evolution 100:54-64.
Terhune, C. E., Robinson, C. A. & Ritzman, T. B. (2014) Ontogenetic variation in the mandibular ramus of great apes and humans. Journal of Morphology 275:661-677.
Robinson, C. A. (2012) Analysis of three-dimensional mandibular shape in Pan. Journal of Human Evolution 63: 191-204.
Robinson, C. A. Giraffidae. (2011) In: (T. Harrison, Ed.) Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli: Human Evolution in Context. Volume 2: Fossil Hominins and the Associated Fauna, pp. 339-362.
Singleton, M., Rosenberger, A., Robinson, C. & O’Neill, R. (2011) Allometric and metameric shape variation in Pan mandibular molars: A digital morphometric analysis. The Anatomical Record 294: 322-334.