Miguel Prôa

Miguel Prôa
University of Coimbra | UC · Research Centre for Anthropology and Health

PhD

About

41
Publications
8,844
Reads
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111
Citations
Introduction
I am a biologist specialising in skeletal anatomy and functional morphology, using museum collections, imaging technology, 3D modelling and quantitative methods to investigate vertebrate variation and evolution.
Additional affiliations
October 2019 - December 2019
Aix-Marseille Université
Position
  • Visiting Professor
October 2015 - September 2019
Musées d'Angers
Position
  • Curator and Collections Manager
July 2015 - February 2022
University of Coimbra
Position
  • Invited Researcher
Education
November 2009 - October 2013
The University of York
Field of study
  • Anatomical and Human Sciences
October 2001 - July 2005
University of Coimbra
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (41)
Article
Full-text available
Studies of evolutionary divergence using quantitative genetic methods are centered on the additive genetic variance-covariance matrix (G) of correlated traits. However, estimating G properly requires large samples and complicated experimental designs. Multivariate tests for neutral evolution commonly replace average G by the pooled phenotypic withi...
Article
Full-text available
Arctic foxes, Vulpes lagopus living on Mednyi Island suffered a drastic decline in population size in the late 1970s due to an outbreak of mange epizootic. This dramatic fall in numbers rendered the subspecies endangered, and the concomitant loss of variability resulted in a population bottleneck. Here, we investigate whether differences in cranial...
Article
Full-text available
Natural history museums attract millions of visitors every year worldwide. Their collections, often inherited from centuries past, were gathered for scientific as well as educational purposes – and in many cases are still used for just that. However, since at least the 1950s, natural history collections have been perceived as a burden on museums an...
Article
Full-text available
Nous faisons mention de la découverte de deux crânes de rhinocéros au Muséum des sciences naturelles d’Angers, France. Les deux crânes font partie de collections anciennes, n’ont pas de documentation attachée et leur détermination était douteuse. La détermination que nous proposons place les crânes dans l’espèce Rhinoceros sondaicus Desmaret, 1822,...
Article
Full-text available
The use of CT scans in palaeontology has a long history. Most X-ray CT scans of fossils are carried out on previously prepared specimens and seldom on unprepared blocks of fossils. Here we report the use of a standard medical X-ray CT scanner to detect vertebrate and invertebrate fossils inside limestone blocks as an aid to subsequent preparation....
Article
Full-text available
Rhinoceroses are a greatly endangered group of animals. It is therefore of great importance that a simple procedure is put in place for aiding unspecialised museum staff in the identification of extant rhinoceros material, reviewed from the literature. Furthering the scientific knowledge of these animals, using material already present in museum co...
Article
Full-text available
Présents dans l’histoire de l’Europe, les crocodiles naturalisés véhiculaient un symbolisme puissant jusqu’au XVIIIe siècle. Par leur valeur historique, la conservation de tels spécimens mérite des soins particuliers et leur restauration demeure une entreprise délicate. L’objectif de cet article est de valoriser la restauration exceptionnelle d’un...
Article
Full-text available
Les faluns sont des roches sédimentaires détritiques composées de calcaire et de nombreux débris coquilliers. Le Muséum d’Angers conserve une vaste collection de fossiles de vertébrés des faluns d’Anjou-Touraine, fruit de plus de 200 ans de récoltes. L’objectif de cette étude consiste dans l’application de méthodes statistiques pour quantifier la p...
Article
Full-text available
En 1970, le Muséum d’Angers est sollicité par le Musée de Saint-Florent-le-Vieil pour le prêt temporaire d’une série de spécimens d’oiseaux naturalisés. Presque cinquante ans plus tard, les spécimens ont à nouveau intégré la collection des oiseaux du Muséum d’Angers dont l’inventaire est désormais complet et achevé. Dans cette publication nous prés...
Article
Full-text available
Les faluns miocènes d’Anjou-Touraine comportent une riche diversité de vertébrés fossiles. Dans cet article nous décrivons un spécimen fossile provenant de ces faluns et présent dans des collections du Muséum des Sciences Naturelles d’Angers. Nous pouvons conclure qu’il s’agît d’un humérus droit de phocidé (Mammalia, Pinnipedia) avec la partie dist...
Presentation
Full-text available
Des montages taxidermiques incluent souvent quelques ossements dans le mannequin, dont les plus fréquents sont les os des pattes pour montrer les griffes, et le crâne pour montrer le bec/les dents. Pourtant, construire le mannequin avec des parties du squelette oblige à cacher des caractéristiques osseuses intéressantes voire inattendues alors qu’e...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Linear measurements and landmark-based geometric morphometrics are both widely used to quantitatively describe primate cra-nial form and its variation. Each type of data is often subsequently used to study evolutionary aspects of primate cranial form, including the action of microevolutionary processes, such as random genetic drift and natural sele...
Poster
Full-text available
Primate cranial form is widely variable among primate groups, while being constrained by their close phylogenetic relationships. Evolutionary, cranial form is driven by the action of microevolutionary processes, such as genetic drift and natural selection, but how each of them contribute to cranial diversification is still an open question. Previou...
Article
Full-text available
Dans cet article je signale les spécimens ostéopathologiques et avec des anomalies osseuses se trouvant au Muséum des sciences naturelles d'Angers. In this article I draw attention to some osteopathological specimens and specimens with bone anomalies present in the collections of the Muséum des sciences naturelles d'Angers. Bulletin de la Société...
Presentation
Full-text available
Primate cranial form is widely variable among primate groups, while being constrained by their close phylogenetic relationships. Biomechanically, form reflects function, which in turn is linked to adaptation. Evolutionary, form is driven by processes such as genetic drift and natural selection. I will present two sets of analyses on the cranium, on...
Presentation
Full-text available
Atelier dans le cadre de la Fête de la Science, 14-15 octobre 2017
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Primate cranial form is widely variable among primate groups, while being constrained by their close phylogenetic relationships. Fossils show that extinct primates were also extremely variable in cranial form. Evolutionary, cranial form is driven by the action of microevolutionary processes, such as genetic drift and natural selection, but how each...
Article
Full-text available
Populations of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) in the Commander Islands, in the Russian Bering Sea, have been isolated since the Pleistocene and differ substantially in their cranial features from their mainland counterpart. Small rodents, the main prey of mainland Arctic foxes, are not found in the Commander Islands, where the main food source for Arc...
Article
Full-text available
Island subspecies of the Arctic fox Vulpes lagopus differ morphologically from the mainland subspecies. In particular, differences in cranial form may reflect varied biomechanical adaptations associated with hunting and feeding behaviours. We tested the hypothesis that the observed cranial differences between two island foxes (living on two North P...
Presentation
Full-text available
Novos métodos computacionais em Antropologia Biológica: paleoantropologia virtual, modelos biomecânicos, morfometria geométrica e genética quantitativa.
Presentation
Full-text available
Les singes du Nouveau Monde appartenant au genre Saimiri Voigt, 1831, les singes-écureuils, sont l’un des primates de taille la plus petite et dont la forme crânienne est la plus particulière (région occipitale longue, fo-ramen magnum placé plus inférieurement, fenestra inter-orbitaire). Les singes-écureuils ont été largement utilisés comme animaux...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Vulpes lagopus Командорских островов – популяции острова Медный и острова Беринга-изолированы с плейстоцена незамерзающими водами Берингова моря. Основ-ным кормовым ресурсом песцов на Командорских островах являются морские птицы, в основном, глупыш Fulmarus glacialis, и ресурсы лежбищ морских млекопитающих, в то время как на материке основным кормо...
Working Paper
Full-text available
Rhinoceroses are a greatly endangered group of animals and research is rendered difficult by the scarcity of specimens available for study. Museums, in particular, often have old specimens in store for which the documentation has been lost. Correct identification of these specimens will definitely enlarge our study sample of rhinoceroses without re...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Sexual dimorphism in cranial form can be significant in papionin species. Yet, males and females tend to eat very similar diets. This raises the question of whether cranial functional performance during mastication is equivalent between the sexes when diets are not dimorphic but cranial form is. Here, the hypothesis that males and females of the sa...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, finite element analysis (FEA) has emerged as a useful tool for the analysis of skeletal form-function relationships. While this approach has obvious appeal for the study of fossil specimens, such material is often fragmentary with disrupted internal architecture and can contain matrix that leads to errors in accurate segmentation....
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Sexual dimorphism is a marked feature of several hominin taxa. It is associated with social structure and mating strategy and is often manifest in cranial form. Among papionins, a good model for early hominins, cranial sexual dimorphism can be significant, yet in terms of diet, differences tend to be smaller than those among species. This raises th...
Thesis
Full-text available
This thesis aims to study the evolution of cranial form and its biomechanical adaptation to the function of feeding in papionins, a group of primates with well-established phylogeny, large variations in cranial form, and well known ecologies and diets. The thesis firstly tests the hypothesis of evolutionary divergence of papionin cranial forms by r...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Inferences about a fossil hominin ecology and behaviour are often made by directly interpreting aspects of skull form. With respect to diet, this approach is based on the premise that masticatory system functioning and so, form is adapted to food acquisition and intraoral processing. Finite elements analysis (FEA) is increasingly used to assess bio...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Finite elements analysis (FEA) is increasingly applied to fossils to infer function and so, aspects of ecology. Reliable assessment of masticatory system functioning and inferences about diet depend upon several things, including; quality of reconstruction of fossil material, correct construction of FE models, use of appropriate model parameters an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Нанова О.Г., Проа М., Евтеев А.А. Использование анализа конечных элементов в комплексе с методом геометрической морфометрии для морфофункционального анализа особенностей черепа песцов (Vulpes lagopus L., 1758) Командорских островов // Экология: традиции и инновации. Материалы конференции молодых ученых. Екатеринбург, 2012. С. 81-89.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
How a skull deforms and how well it resists loads are important performance indicators and frequently used in studies of form-function relationships in evolutionary biomechanics. In order to carry out such studies three dimensional virtual models are first created. These models are laboriously constructed from medical images, via image segmentation...
Presentation
Full-text available
Morphological differences across species of papionin monkeys (Papionini, Cercopithecidae) seem to suggest that a non-random evolutionary process acted in the divergence of the group. The aim of this study was to understand whether or not random genetic drift could explain the observed differences among the papionins by applying a quantitative genet...
Thesis
Full-text available
Uma das grandes questões em aberto no estudo da Evolução Humana é a relação filo-genética entre os “Homens de Neandertal”, hominíneos fósseis que se extinguiram há cerca de 30 000 anos, e os humanos anatomicamente modernos (HAM), que, no fundo, somos todos nós, e qual a contribuição genética, se houver alguma, dos primeiros para as populações actua...

Questions

Questions (2)
Question
There are some relatively recent dichotomous keys of skeletal characters, but they usually focus on distinguishing among species of the same genus, or use the cranium only, forgetting about the postcranial skeleton; or deal only with higher-level taxa, e.g. telling apart the mammalian orders. But are there, and could any one, please, point me to, any good dichotomous keys to middle-level mammalian taxa (from order to genera) based solely on skeletal characters? Without having to go all the way back to Lydekker's works (e.g. Catalogue of the Ungulate Mammals in the BM, 1913, which has some keys), and without being merely simple ones for teaching?
Question
The spheno-occipital synchondrosis is frequently used for estimation of age in humans, with complete fusion of that synchondrosis denoting an adult (it fuses during adolescence). The literature on the subject is abundant in the fields of forensic anthropology, reconstructive surgery, bioarchaeology, etc. However, I fail to find any literature for estimating age in non-human animals using fusion of the spheno-occipital synchondrosis. I am particularly curious to know whether this trait can be used to tell adults apart from subadults/juveniles in Ungulates (also in Carnivores and non-human Primates, by the way). Does anyone know anything about the subject, or at least point me to some papers/books?

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