Wednesday, June 4, 2008

AAPA 2008

At this year's annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, I presented on the allometry of facial mobility in a symposium focusing on the muscles of facial expression. The symposium was organized by Karen Schmidt and Anne Burrows. Here's the description:

The State of the Face: An Evolutionary Update on the Muscles of Facial Expression
The structure and function of the face have long been of interest to biological anthropologists because of its pivotal role in behavioral, cognitive, and sensory adaptations. The evolution of the muscles of facial expression specifically, however, has been relatively neglected in primate and human evolutionary studies despite the role of these muscles in nonverbal communication as well as in articulatory movements of speech, audition, olfaction, tactile exploration, and social interaction. The goal of this symposium is to draw together researchers currently studying the evolution of the muscles of facial expression from comparative, developmental, histological, anatomical, and behavioral perspectives to update the biological anthropological understanding of the face. A secondary goal is to identify novel evolutionary interpretations of the structure and function of the muscles of facial expression, in both human and nonhuman primates. The role of adaptational processes in the development of species-specific features of the facial musculature will be addressed. Recent work in nonhuman primates as well as in humans will be incorporated. We also aim to identify new avenues of understanding the face that incorporate both communicative and noncommunicative functions of the muscles of facial expression and closely associated structures.

Some of the other presenters included Lisa Parr and Bridget Waller of the ChimpFACS project.