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by admin last modified 2012-03-22 10:08

Human evolution is a field of biolgical research concerned with the origin of humans. Homo sapiens and its ancestors are at the core but comparative analyses also include great apes, other primates, and mammals. Human Evolution is part of the discipline "physical anthropology" and requires a multidisciplinary approach involving evolutionary biology, primatology, genetics, paleoecology, geology, mathematics, linguistics, and others. The research at our department comprises:


We would like to achieve a comprehensive process based on integrative questions involving multiple values, scales, tenures, uses, and needs.

We therefore refer to interdisciplinarity in more than a serial way concerning on the one hand the scientific research process itself and the involvement of scientists as citizens and citizens as scientists.

Our research includes:

Sylvia Kirchengast and Katrin Schäfer

In this working group we are interested in the biological characteristics defining Homo sapiens as a unique species - in the evolutionary origin, the processes, and the products of these features. As none of these can be explained exhaustively in the context of physical anthropology alone, we operate at intersection of bio-anthropology, human behavior, social anthropology, reproductive and behavioral ecology and Darwinian Medicine. From here we study selected causes (e.g., socio-cultural, economic, ecological, hormonal) of the modern human physical variation as well as their (behavioral and psychological) effects. In particular proximate determinants of these linkages and their long-term significance for reproduction, nutrition, health, disease and mortality are focused on.

Human Behavior Research is a field of biological research concerned with the analysis of human behavior from an evolutionary point of view — the application of the principles of evolutionary theory to the study of human behavioral diversity. The design of traits, behaviors, and perceptions are examined as functional products of natural or sexual selection. On this basis, we attempt to explain human behavior as an adaptive solution to ecological and social constraints such as the competing life-history demands of development, mate acquisition, reproduction, parental care.

Our research is conducted at the
and at the intersection to anthropometry in

Working Group at the Department of Anthropology

Fred BOOKSTEIN, group leader

Bioanthropology, or human biology, comprises studies of the evolutionary, developmental, and comparative biology of living humans. The members of this working group include Fred Bookstein, Harald Wilfing, Martin Fieder, Karl Grammer, Elisabeth Oberzaucher and Bernard Wallner. Among the concerns and research thrusts of this group are

  • human life history, human demography
  • evolution of human reproduction
  • scientific inference in human biology
  • geometric morphometrics, computational comparative anatomy of humans
  • human variation
  • social aspects of human biological development
  • network analyses in human ecology

Working Group at the Department of Anthropology

The aim of this working group is to analyze demographic and pro-social effects   in relation to reproductive output, physiological stress perception, and social hierarchy. 

The theoretical rational of this group is based on Darwinian and sociobiological approaches to improve the understanding of our own species and our nearest relatives - the non-human primates. Methodologically, large scale data of divers population groups are analyzed and experimental set ups are designed.

The goal of this group is to establish a new research topic in anthropology by integrating the fields of demography and behavioral biology into a cohesive evolutionary concept.

Martin Fieder and Bernard Wallner, Associate Professors
Johannes Jäschke, PhD student
Matthias Nemeth, PhD student
Lena Pflüger, PhD student
Georg Primes, PhD student
Kate Schein, PhD student