Wall Lab

Projects

Integrative Studies of Mammalian Feeding – The Feeding Experiments End-User Database (Feed)

In collaboration with many experimental functional anatomists and physiologists in the U.S.

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Energetic Costs of Feeding in Primates

This is a long-term project to collect novel data on the energetic costs of feeding behaviors in primates.  Animals eat because they need energy to live and reproduce, but we know almost nothing about how much it costs primates to eat or how these costs are related to the evolution of feeding structures.  Respirometry measurements combined with simultaneous digital video recordings are being collected for 14 primate species ranging in size from 60 g (Microcebus murinus) to 80,000 g (human).  We are quantifying how the energetic costs of...

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Evolution of Human Diet

This is a collaborative project with Greg Wray (Duke, Dept. of Biology) and Sarah Tishkoff (University of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Genetics) that brings together a group of researchers attempting to link genomics, physiology, and morphology to study the evolution of diet in humans and chimpanzees.

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Evolutionary Genomics of Enamel Thickness Iin Hominoids

The focus of this research is to document the genomic variation associated with the thick enamel phenotype that distinguishes humans from other extant hominoids. We are comparing sequence similarity in eight genes and their upstream regulatory regions. These genes code for the structural extracellular matrix proteins and the enamel proteases involved in amelogenesis. The thick enamel phenotype of modern humans differs dramatically from the thin enamel of Pan and Gorilla.

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Mathematical Modeling of Occlusal Contacts During the Power Stroke

This is a collaborative project to generate new variables that measure how the potential for puncture, shear, and crush along a toothrow in functional occlusion changes depending on the relative positions of the upper and lower dentition throughout the tooth-tooth contact period of the power stroke of mastication.  It brings together functional morphologists and mathematicians to generate novel computational algorithms to describe tooth movements during the power stroke and quantify relationships among tooth surface structures.  The “...

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