Alannah Pearson

Alannah Pearson
Australian National University | ANU · School of Archaeology & Anthropology

MPhil (Archaeology & Palaeoanthropology)
PhD Candidate, Sessional Lecturer

About

23
Publications
1,327
Reads
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18
Citations
Introduction
I am a PhD candidate at the Australian National University using virtual imaging to investigate changes to skull and brain form in fossil and living primates including the human lineage. I am also interested in environmental adaptation and variation in primate cranial bones.
Additional affiliations
February 2016 - present
Australian National University
Position
  • PhD Student
Description
  • Researcher in virtual imaging technologies. Guest lecturer in primate evolutionary biology, paleoanthropology, archaeological and evolutionary sciences.
June 2015 - October 2015
University of New England (Australia)
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Course convenor and lecturer for Paleoanthropology. Virtual lab design and implementation.
Education
February 2016 - June 2022
Australian National University
Field of study
  • Palaeoanthropology
January 2013 - May 2015
Australian National University
Field of study
  • Archaeology and Palaeoanthropology
February 2012 - October 2012
Australian National University
Field of study
  • Biological Anthropology

Publications

Publications (23)
Article
Increased brain size is a characteristic of the Homo erectus hypodigm compared to early fossil hominins with changes in cerebral reorganization of evolutionary importance for the genus Homo. The close spatial proximity of the temporal lobes of the brain to the cranial base, specifically, the middle cranial fossa (MCF), provides inference of tempora...
Article
Objectives We investigate the suitability of middle cranial fossa (MCF) size as a proxy for temporal lobe volume (TLV), examining the strength of the association between TLV and MCF metrics and assess the reliability predicting TLV in fossil anthropoids. The temporal lobe of the primate brain is a multimodal association cortex involved in long‐term...
Conference Paper
Cranial variation is known to be a mix of taxonomic, structural, and functional components, but our understanding of the evolutionary factors contributing to specific aspects of this diversity are not well known. To what extent is the amount of variation within great apes linked to the heterogeneity of the environments they inhabit? Most hominid sp...
Conference Paper
In their recent description of the Dmanisi endocrania, Ponce de Leon et al. suggested the Dmanisi hominins (attributed to Homo cf. erectus) were primitive in terms of the morphology of their inferior prefrontal cortex (IPF). This assertion was based on a proxy condition relating the brain’s superior precentral sulcus (PCS) relative to the position...
Conference Paper
In paleobiology, differences in cerebral proportions can indicate cerebral reorganisation. Extant Old-World Monkeys (Cercopithecoidea) have larger brain sizes (absolutely) compared to fossil catarrhines; however, whether there is a relative increase or decrease in temporal lobe size is uncertain. The temporal lobes of the brain are in close spatial...
Article
Little is known about how occipital lobe asymmetry, width, and height interact to contribute to the operculation of the posterior parietal lobe, despite the utility of knowing this for understanding the relative reduction in the size of the occipital lobe and the increase in the size of the posterior parietal lobe during human brain evolution. Here...
Conference Paper
Brain evolution involves changes in processing centres often marked by cerebral folds including sulci and gyri. In the temporal lobe, identification of major cerebral divisions relies on both external and internal sulci especially the superoposterior boundary for the temporoparietal-occipital complexes. Comprehensive quantification of noticeable su...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Modern humans are acknowledged in having the largest absolute brain size among extant anthropoids with the past several decades focusing on differences in cerebral organisation, where modern humans have been argued to possess relatively larger temporal lobes for brain size compared to other extant anthropoids. Despite the implications for language...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Brain evolution involves changes in processing centres that are often marked by folds on the surface of the cerebrum including sulci and gyri. Sulcal variation is considered high in modern humans, but quantification is lacking. We assessed the degree of sulcal variation of some major folds of the temporal cortex using a sample of T1-weighted in viv...
Article
Cerebral folding patterns include sulci and gyri visible on the external surface of the brain. Although paleoneurologists rely on sulcal imprints preserved on the endocranial surface for inferences in fossil species, the specific mechanisms behind sulcal formation remain unknown, but axonal-neuronal tensioning, genetic factors and biomechanical pre...
Poster
The brain does not preserve in the fossil record and palaeoneurologists must rely on endocasts, moulds of the endocranium, to infer fossil brain morphology. Sulcal patterns on the external surface of the brain are often used in comparative neuroanatomy to infer differences in brain macroanatomy between species. For the application to fossil species...
Poster
Paleoneurologists have previously described changes in the relative proportions of cerebral regions during the evolution of Old World Monkeys (Cercopithecoidea). Compared to fossil catarrhines, extant cercopithecines have an absolute increase in total brain volume with relatively larger frontal lobes but reduced olfactory bulbs. There is no consens...
Poster
Paleoneurological investigations into Homo neanderthalensis have largely been confined to the cranial vault with the cranial base often highly fragmentary or incomplete, limiting interpretations of the temporal lobes. Tentative interpretations from fragmentary basicrania, extrapolation and comparison with extant Homo sapiens suggest H. neanderthale...
Poster
The Asian paleoanthropological record contains few complete Homo erectus crania but many fragmentary basicrania which have limited paleoneurological investigations of change in Asian H. erectus temporal lobe morphology. Despite this, many different approaches have been used since the 1940s to the present to describe Asian H. erectus temporal lobe a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In palaeoneurology, untangling the complexities of the cerebrocranial systems is evident in the reciprocal changes to the basicranium, specifically the middle cranial fossae (fossa), and the temporal lobes of the brain. In utilizing digital imaging sourced from ex-vivo cranial CT and in-vivo brain MRI, we investigated the association between fossa...
Article
The temporal lobes of the brain, located in the middle cranial fossae, are sensitive to changes in the cranial base. The relationships between the temporal lobes and middle fossae are relevant in evaluating the constraints in functional craniology and allowing inferences in primate palae-oneurology. Utilising imaging scans of 4 extant species from...
Poster
The temporal lobes of the brain, located in the middle cranial fossae, are sensitive to changes in the cranial base. The relationships between the temporal lobes and middle fossae are relevant in evaluating the constraints in functional craniology and allowing inferences in primate palae-oneurology. Utilising imaging scans of 4 extant species from...
Poster
The discovery of a fragmented partial skull of a large extinct herbivorous marsupial in a limestone crevice near Lake George in South East New South Wales, Australia, provided a very rare opportunity to reconstruct the auditory region of the animal. High resolution micro-CT and conventional medical CT were acquired and processed using ImageJ1.52 an...
Poster
Full-text available
Palorchestes azael (Owen, 1873) was an enigmatic, large palorchestid which has been variably reconstructed as a giant kangaroo, marsupial " tapir " and more recently as a unique browsing quadruped with a prehensile lip. P. azael was the last surviving member of Palorchestidae and became extinct in the late Pleistocene; well preserved fossils of thi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Over the past decade discussions on the incompatibilities between geometric morphometrics and phylogenetics have largely gone unheeded with their growing use in many subfields of palaeontology. To examine the potential implications of phylogenetic reconstructions and geometric morphometric data, I compared resultant topologies with the resolved ph...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Using a small sample of extant primate cranial CT data (n=21), this study aims to examine what shape analysis of individual cranial bones can reveal about the evolution of the Primate Order. The genera used consist: Pongo, Gorilla, Homo, Hylobates, Pan, Macaca and Colobus. Using Geometric Morphometrics to examine shape changes in the frontal, occip...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Craniometrics has a well-established history in Biological Anthropology, however, to date, there are no large scale studies on the population variation within India or testing of the hypotheses of Indian population origins. This study proposes to do both. Using a composite dataset from W.W. Howells and Raghavan Pathmanathan, and using discriminant...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Project
Testing Morphological disparity, environment and great ape skull form using morphometrics
Project
Virtual imaging & paleoneurology of living and fossil anthropoids
Archived project
Digital imaging techniques for anatomical study of extinct Australian Megafauna