Paläoanthropologie

Webb, Nicole M.

Function: Postdoctoral researcher

Address

Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen
Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment
Institute for Archaeological Sciences
Department of Palaeoanthropology
Rümelinstr. 23
72070 Tübingen


Office: Room 508, Hauptgebäude, 2. OG
Telephone: +49-(0)7071-29-76523
E-Mail: nicole.webbspam prevention@ifu.uni-tuebingen.de

About

Nicole Webb is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Paleoanthropology. Her research focuses on primate postcranial functional morphology with an emphasis on pelvic anatomy. Using a combination of 3D geometric morphometrics, finite element analysis and trabecular bone assessment she explores functional trade-offs and their biomechanical implications. Specifically, she is interested in the origins of bipedalism and the evolution of the complex birth pattern characteristic of modern humans. She also utilizes phylogenetically informed comparative methods to reconstruct locomotor behavior within the primate fossil record. Her current research involves collaborations with obstetricians and endurance athletes to test assumptions relevant to the “obstetrical dilemma” hypothesis.
 

Research Interests:
•    Birth
•    Locomotion 
•    Bipedalism
•    Biomechanics
•    Evolutionary medicine
 

Education

2018
PhD, Anthropology, The Graduate Center (CUNY)

2016
MPhil, Anthropology, The Graduate Center (CUNY)

2010
MS, Forensic Studies (Human Identity and Trauma Analysis Concentration), Florida Gulf Coast University

2008
BS, Forensics Studies, Florida Gulf Coast University

Academic positions

2021 - 2025
Postdoctoral researcher, The Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, Institute of Archaeological Sciences, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

2018 - 2021
Postdoctoral researcher, Evolutionary Morphology and Adaptation Group, Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland

2017 - 2021
Visiting researcher, Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

2015 - 2017
Writing Fellow, English Department, Eugenio María de Hostos Community College (CUNY), New York, USA

Specialized training

2014 - 2018
Micro CT Scanning (American Museum of Natural History, Microscopy and Imaging Facility, New York, USA)

2012
Hominin footprint site excavation (Engare Sero, Tanzania)

2009 - 2010
Forensic human remains field recovery (Medical Examiner’s Office District 4, 15, 17 and 20, Florida, USA).

2009 - 2010
DNA sampling (Medical Examiner’s Office, District 21, Florida, USA)

2008 - 2011
Forensic Anthropology Casework (Medical Examiner’s Office District 4, 15, 17 and 20, Florida, USA)

2009
Histological Sample Preparation (Medical Examiner’s Office District 21, Florida, USA)

2008
DEXIS Dental Imaging (Medical Examiner’s Office District 17, Florida, USA)

Scholarships and grants

2021
AAPA Cobb Professional Development Grant ($7,500)

2020
Graduate Campus GRC Grant, University of Zürich (10,000 CHF)

2018
AAPA William S. Pollitzer Student Travel Award ($500)

2018
Associate Professors Travel Award for Adjuncts ($246)

2007 - 2011
NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT Grant 0966166)

2011 - 2016
Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellowship, The Graduate Center (CUNY)

2014
Doctoral Student Research Grant (CUNY) ($750)

2009 - 2010
Graduate Tuition Waiver, Florida Gulf Coast University ($1,245.75)

2009 - 2010
Graduate Travel & Research Grant, Florida Gulf Coast University ($500)

Teaching

2021 - present
Lecturer, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany

2018 - 2021
Lecturer, Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland

2018 - 2021
Guest Lecturer, Institute of Ecology, Evolution und Diversity, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

2012 - 2018
Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, Lehman College (CUNY), New York, USA

2015
Adjunct Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, Brooklyn College (CUNY), New York, USA

University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany:

  • Introduction to Paleoanthropology: Crash Course in Human Osteology  (ASHE-3d):  Fall’ 21

Foci: microevolutionary processes, human variation, human osteology, skeletal assessment methods

  • Human Anatomy: Tissues (ASHE-8d): Fall ’21

Foci: pelvic, abdominal and lower limb soft tissue anatomy with functional and evolutionary interpretations

University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland:

  • Masters Block Course in Evolutionary Medicine (BIO 440):  Spring ‘19, Fall ‘19, Spring ‘20
  • Methods in Human Bioarchaeology (BIO 438): Fall ‘20

Foci: machine learning, geometric morphometric analysis in R, juvenile osteology

Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany:

  • Masters Module in Paleobiology and Environment:  Spring ‘18, Spring ‘19, Spring ‘20, Fall ‘20, Spring ‘21

Foci: gait biomechanics, bipedalism, functional morphology

Department of Anthropology, Lehman College (CUNY), NY, USA:

  • Introduction to Human Evolution (ANT 171): Fall ‘12, Spring ‘13, Fall ‘13, Spring ‘14, Fall ‘14, Spring ‘15, Fall ‘15, Spring ‘16, Fall ‘16, Spring ‘17
  • Introduction to Human Variation (ANT 269): Fall ‘14, Summer ‘16, Fall ‘17, Spring ‘18, Summer ‘18
  • Human Evolutionary Biology (ANT 120): Fall ‘17, Spring ‘18

Foci: human evolution, adaptation, primatology, genetics, functional morphology

Department of Anthropology, Brooklyn College (CUNY), NY, USA:

  • Human Origins (ANTH 1200):  Spring ‘15

Foci: human evolution, adaptation, primatology, genetics, functional morphology

Florida Gulf Coast University, FL, USA:

  • Human Osteology (ANT 4525C): Spring ‘10
  • Forensic Anthropology (ANT 3520C): Fall ‘08, Spring ‘09, Fall ‘09
  • Introduction to Anthropology (ANT 2000): Fall ‘09
  • University Colloquium (IDS 3920):  Spring ‘09

Foci: Human osteology, forensic anthropology, environmental sustainability, general anthropology
 

Publications

In review Frémondière, P., Thollon, L., Francois, M., Fornai, C., Webb, N. and Haeusler, M. Dynamic finite-element simulations reveal early origin of complex human birth pattern. Communications Biology.
In press Krenn, V.A., Fornai, C., Webb, N.M. and Haeusler, M. Sex determination accuracy for the human sacrum. Anthropologischer Anzeiger.
2021 Webb, N.M.* The functional and allometric implications of hipbone trabecular microarchitecture in a sample of eutherian and metatherian mammals. Evolutionary Biology. doi.org/10.1007/s11692-021-09543-z.
  Haeusler, M., Grunstra, N., Martin, R., Krenn, V., Fornai, C.; Webb, N.M.* The obstetrical dilemma: There’s life in the old dog yet. Biological Reviews.  doi/10.1111/brv.12744.
  Fornai, C., Krenn, V.A., Webb, N.M., Mitteroecker, P. and Haeusler, M. Sacrum morphology supports taxonomic heterogeneity of Australopithecus africanus at Sterkfontein Member 4. Communications Biology 4, 347. https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-01850-7
2020 Haeusler, M., Webb, N.M., Krenn, V.A. and Fornai, C. Locomotor and taxonomic diversity of Sterkfontein hominins not supported by current trabecular evidence of the femoral head. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117 (46): 28568-28569. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2014033117
2017 Kozma, E.E., Webb, N.M., Harcourt-Smith, W.E.H., Raichlen, D.A., D’Aout, K., Brown, M.H., Finestone, E., Ross, S.R., Aerts, P. and Pontzer, H. Mechanics of hip extension characterize arboreal-terrestrial trade-offs in hominin evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115 (16): 4134-4139. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1715120115
  Webb, N.M. and Raaum, R.L. Laboratory Manual for ANT 120: Human Evolutionary Biology. Kendall Hunt Publishing Co.: Dubuque, IA. 
  Webb, N.M.* The 76th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology:  Salt Lake City, Utah. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News and Reviews 26 (1): 9-11. https://doi.org/10.1002/evan.21511
2014 Xiao, D., Bae, C.J., Guanjun, S., Delson, E., Jin, J.H.J., Webb, N.M., and Qiu, L. Metric and geometric morphometric analysis of new hominin fossils from Maba (Guangdong, China).  Journal of Human Evolution 74:1-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.04.003

*Corresponding author

Conference presentations

2021 Haeusler, M., Grunstra, N.D.S., Fornai, C., Krenn, V.K., Martin, R.D. and Webb, N.M. Which came first: the pelvis of the EGG? Energetics of Gestation and Growth versus Obstetrical Dilemma.   American Journal of Physical Anthropology S70:43.
  Fornai, C., Urciuoli, A. Krenn, V.K., Haeusler, M. and Webb, N.M. Deformation-based geometric morphometrics captures the morphology of the modern human hipbone. American   Journal of Physical Anthropology S70:33.
  Webb, N.M., Fornai, C., Krenn, V.K. and Haeusler, M. Do chimpanzees really have a spacious birth canal? A reanalysis of cephalopelvic proportions and implications for the obstetrical dilemma in humans.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology S70:111.
2020 Webb, N.M., Harcourt-Smith, W.E.H, Pontzer, H., Haeusler, M. and Grabowski, M. How to make a bipedal primate: 1 part phylogeny, 2 parts selection and a pinch of body size. American Journal of Physical Anthropology S69:303.
2021 Haeusler, M., Fornai, C., Krenn, V.A. and Webb, N.M. KSD-VP-1/1 from Woranso Mille, Ethiopia, does not conform to known Australopithecus afarensis pelvic morphology. American Journal of Physical Anthropology S69:111.
2020 Fornai, C., Krenn, V.A., Webb, N.M. and Haeusler, M. Pelvic evidence for taxonomic heterogeneity within Australopithecus at Sterkfontein Member 4 (South Africa). American Journal of Physical Anthropology S69:88.
  Krenn, V.A., Fornai, C., Webb, N.M. and Haeusler, M. A comparative morphometric assessment of sexual dimorphism in the human sacrum. American Journal of Physical Anthropology S69:149.
2019 Webb, N.M., Krenn, V. Fornai, C. and Haeusler, M.KSD-VP-1/1: The “Big Man” Just Got Bigger. Proceedings of the 9th Annual Meeting of the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution (PESHE) 8:198.
  Frémondière, P., Thollon, L., Marchal, F., Fornai, C., Webb, N.M., and Haeusler, M. Reviving Australopithecine birth:  contribution of numerical simulation. Proceedings of the 9th Annual Meeting of the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution (PESHE) 8: 65.
  Harcourt-Smith, W.E.H., Webb, N.M., Swanson, Z.S., Pontzer, H. and DeSilva, J.  Predicting ankle mechanics in the fossil hominin record using finite element modeling. Proceedings of the 9th Annual Meeting of the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution (PESHE) 8: 81.
  Fornai, C., Krenn, V.A., Webb, N.M. and Haeusler, M. (2019) Australopithecus variability at Sterkfontein, South Africa: evidence from the pelvic remains. Proceedings of the 9th Annual Meeting of the European Society for the Study of Human Evolution (PESHE) 8:63.
  Webb, N.M., Mazelis, F. and Haeusler, M. New insights into caesarean section risk prediction using machine learning 5th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health (ISEMPH). August 14, 2019. Zurich, Switzerland.
  Krenn, V.K., Webb, N.M., Fornai, C. and Haeusler, M. Why is human childbirth so complex?   The obstetrical dilemma hypothesis revisited.5th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health (ISEMPH). August 14, 2019. Zurich, Switzerland.
  Staub, K., Webb, N.M., Krenn, V.K., Fornai, C., Floris, J., Bender, N., Koepke, N. and Haeusler, M. Does the ecological model challenge the obstetrical dilemma?   Evidence from historical Swiss data. 5th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health (ISEMPH).  August 14, 2019. Zurich, Switzerland.
  Webb, N.M., Krenn, V.K., Fornai, C. and Haeusler, M. How KSD-VP-1/1 elucidates early Australopithecus pelvic morphology. Annual East African Association for Paleoanthropology and Paleontology (EAAPP) Meeting. August 2, 2019. Nairobi National Museum, Nairobi, Kenya.
  Fornai, C., Krenn, V.K., Webb, N.M. and Haeusler, M. A new reconstruction of the StW 431 pelvis: implications for Australopithecus variability at Sterkfontein. Annual East African Association for Paleoanthropology and Paleontology (EAAPP) Meeting.  August 2,2019. Nairobi National Museum, Nairobi, Kenya.
2018 Webb, N.M. It’s what’s on the inside that counts: a comparative analysis of innominate microarchitecture across primates, marsupials, rodents and treeshrews. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. S65:297.
2017 Webb, N.M. Trabecular bone morphometrics:  a methodological appraisal of software applications.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology. S64:404-405.
  Swanson, Z.S., Webb, N.M., Pontzer, H., DeSilva, J.M., Harcourt-Smith, W.E.H. Finite element modeling of talar loading in modern humans with application to the hominin fossil record. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. S64:374-375.
  Kozma, E.E., Webb, N.M., Harcourt-Smith, W.E.H., Raichlen, D.A., D’ Aout, K., Brown, M.H., Finestone, E., Ross, S.R., Aerts,P, Pontzer, H. Mechanics of Hip Extension  Characterize Arboreal-Terrestrial Trade-offs in Hominin Evolution. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. S64:251.
  Ragni, A.J., Webb, N.M., Harcourt-Smith, W.E.H. Ontogenetic changes in trabecular architecture: A pilot study of chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) manual and pedal elements.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology S64:321.
2016 Webb, N.M. Taking it a step further: the assessment of striding bipedalism in extinct kangaroos. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: Program and Abstracts, 92:247.
2014 Webb, N.M., Harcourt-Smith, W.E.H. Covariance of the pelvis and distal limb morphology in anthropoids: A morphological integration study.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology S58:268.
2013 Webb, N.M., Harcourt-Smith, W.E.H., Pontzer, H. An analysis of the Ardipithecus ramidus pelvis reconstruction using 3D geometric morphometric techniques.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology S56:287.
2011 Webb, N.M., Walsh-Haney H. Natural Experiments: suture obliteration in familial lines. American Journal of Physical Anthropology S52:308.
2010 Butler, A., Walsh-Haney, H., Webb, N.M., Shepherd, K.  Herrick, C. Spinous process morphology and identification: A validation study. American Journal of Physical Anthropology S50:39.
  Webb, N.M., Walsh-Haney H., Shepherd, K., Herrick, C.  Butler, A. Dead man’s curve:  how scoliosis affects rib end aging. Proceedings of the 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of the Forensic Sciences S16:403
2009 Webb, N.M., Walsh-Haney, H.  Butler, A.  Burials of the past and present:  a spatial analysis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology S49:120.

 

Event coordination

2021 Session Chair
Session: Paleoanthropology: Obstetrics and Sexual Dimorphism}
American Association of Physical Anthropologists' 90th Annual Meeting, Virtual Conference
2020 Workshop coordinator
Finite Element Analysis: Modeling Biological Functional Complexes (International Workshop\ Lecture Series)
Institute for Evolutionary Medicine/ Paleontological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich 
2 days; 212 registered participants
2019 Workshop Coordinator
Evolutionary Medicine: The Biocultural Perspective (International Workshop)
Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt
2 days; 25 selected participants
  Conference Assistant
International Society for Evolution, Medicine and Public Health (ISEMPH) 
University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
2011 Session Chair
Session: Population Studies and Skeletal Biology
American Association of Physical Anthropologists' 80th Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, USA