Sandra A Martelli

Sandra A Martelli
University College London | UCL · Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

PhD, MSc, BSc, FHEA

About

21
Publications
5,143
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230
Citations
Introduction
Sandra A Martelli currently works at the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London. Sandra does research in Biological Anthropology. Their most recent publication is 'Geometric Morphometric Studies in the Human Spine'.
Additional affiliations
October 2018 - September 2019
University College London
Position
  • Fellow
April 2007 - December 2009
University College London
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (21)
Article
Objectives Understanding thoraco‐pelvic integration in Homo sapiens and their closest living relatives (genus Pan) is of great importance within the context of human body shape evolution. However, studies assessing thoraco‐pelvic covariation across Hominoidea species are scarce, although recent research would suggest shared covariation patterns in...
Article
The skeletal torso is a complex structure of outstanding importance in understanding human body shape evolution, but reconstruction usually entails an element of subjectivity as researchers apply their own anatomical expertise to the process. Among different fossil reconstruction methods, 3D geometric morphometric techniques have been increasingly...
Article
Full-text available
Lumbar lordosis is a key element of the upright posture, being interpreted as a consequence of bipedal locomotion. There is consensus that the generic modern human pattern of metameric vertebral body wedging is sexually dimorphic in modern humans. However, recently published studies have compared this pattern with other hominins, such as Neandertha...
Chapter
This chapter presents an overview of the pre- and postnatal ontogeny of the modern human and modern great and lesser ape vertebral column. Understanding of the growth patterns which lead to the distinct and species-specific adult vertebral column morphology of modern humans and great and lesser modern apes is important to interpret fossil hominoid...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter overviews the theoretical basics of geometric morphometrics (GM) and reviews its potential for the study of hominin vertebrae and vertebral columns. We show that challenges are related to seriality and the metameric nature of the spine. Measuring a series of vertebrae is a time-consuming process because the necessary sample sizes need...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: The shape of the human lumbar spine is considered to be a consequence of erect posture. In addition, several other factors such as sexual dimorphism and variation in genetic backgrounds also influence lumbar vertebral morphology. Here we use 3D geometric morphometrics (GM) to analyze the 3D morphology of the lumbar spine in different h...
Article
Well preserved thoracic vertebrae of Neandertals are rare. However, such fossils are important as their three-dimensional (3D) spatial configuration can contribute to the understanding of the size and shape of the thoracic spine and the entire thorax. This is because the vertebral body and transverse processes provide the articulation and attachmen...
Conference Paper
Recent research has shown that lumbar lordosis is an important factor in bipedal locomotion and has been also related to adaptations to pregnancy. Several studies, using different methods, indicate males are less lordotic than females. Previous research also found differences between African and European populations suggesting a geographic variatio...
Poster
Full-text available
Since the discovery of the Kebara hyoid ( Homo neanderthalensis ) there has been a debate about what information can be extracted from its size and shape. Such information is necessary to interpret the configuration of the soft tissues of the fossil hominin vocal tract as well as the functions (swallowing and speech) of the hyoid and mandibular com...
Research
Full-text available
Explores the postnatal ontogeny of the 3D configuration of neurovascular and musculoskeletal landmarks of the cranial base. Poster presented at ESHE London 2015
Conference Paper
A lumbar lordosis develops in response to biomechanical modifications of the lumbar spine during habitual bipedal walking and is indicative of locomotor and postural behaviour in fossil hominins. Additionally the degree of lordosis is influenced by age, body size and the orientation and position of the pelvis, sacrum and thorax as well as sex. Thus...
Conference Paper
Previous work has emphasized the integrative aspects of the evolution of limb lengths, with a possible higher level of evolvability in apes. We expanded previous datasets (to 179 fossil and extant primate species) and re-analyzed the data in an explicitly phylogenetic framework (using Ornstein Uhlenbeck model fitting to detect putative patterns of...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the morphology of the hyoid in three closely related species, Homo sapiens, Pan troglodytes, and Gorilla gorilla. Differences and similarities between the hyoids of these species are characterized and used to interpret the morphology and affinities of the Dikika A. afarensis, Kebara 2 Neanderthal, and other fossil hominin hyoid...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Hyoid position in Neanderthals has previously been reconstructed using mandibular and basicranial dimensions to quantify Neanderthal vocal tract anatomy (Barney et al., 2012; Boe et al., 2002; Falk, 1975; Houghton, 1993; Lieberman et al., 1971). However, suprahyoid muscle attachments on the mandible and basicranium have received less attention. To...
Article
Full-text available
Scientists seek to use fossil and archaeological evidence to constrain models of the coevolution of human language and tool use. We focus on Neanderthals, for whom indirect evidence from tool use and ancient DNA appears consistent with an adaptation to complex vocal-auditory communication. We summarize existing arguments that the articulatory appar...
Conference Paper
Although chimpanzees have an equally long evolutionary history as our own since the last common ancestor of these two species, their morphology is often taken as a closer approximation of the ancestral condition. Early chimp language training experiments failed to elicit language-like output in the vocal channel, for reasons that may relate both to...
Thesis
This thesis investigates the size/shape variation in the lumbar spine of extant and fossil hominoids. As a novelty, 3D coordinate data sets were obtained from the last five consecutive presacral vertebrae for comparative analyses. Size/shape variation of single vertebrae and patterns of metameric size/shape variation along the lumbar spine are inve...
Article
General doctrine holds that early hominids possessed a long lumbar spine with six segments. This is mainly based on Robinson's (1972) interpretation of a single partial Australopithecus africanus skeleton, Sts 14, from Sterkfontein, South Africa. As its sixth last presacral vertebra exhibits both thoracic and lumbar characteristics, current definit...

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