Virtual Anthropology and Biomechanics

Living reference work entry


The scarcity of fossil hominins imposes the obligation to extract as much information as possible from the few existing remains. Virtual anthropology exploits digital technologies in an interdisciplinary framework to study the morphology of specimens in 3D and 4D. It can contribute to this aim because structures are easily accessible, powerful morphometric analyses can inform about intragroup and between-group form and shape variation, data manipulations and reconstructions become more reproducible, and sample sizes can be increased via sharing of electronic data. The six main areas of virtual anthropology – digitize, expose, compare, reconstruct, materialize, and share – are introduced in this chapter. Biomechanics on the other hand allows inferring certain aspects of function via the study of loadings in structures. Though an efficient formal bridge between those two domains is still missing, there are many overlaps and cross-fertilizations visible, possibly leading into a “virtual functional morphology” to better understand evolutionary adaptations.


Finite Element Analysis Rapid Prototype Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Functional Morphology Geometric Morphometrics 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ViennaWienAustria

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