Two of the most fundamental components of paleoanthropological research involve the availability of well-preserved reference collections and the application of cutting-edge methods and techniques. Tübingen Paleoanthropology offers the ideal setting for students and researchers in biological anthropology: Our Osteological Collection enables hands-on training of students in human osteology and provides relevant samples for applied research in a wide range of paleoanthropological questions. At the same time, our Imaging and High Resolution CT Laboratories allow students and researchers to incorporate Virtual Anthropology methods and the use of state-of-the-art equipment in their research.
Important collaboration partners for our team include all Archaeological Institutes of the University of Tübingen, as well as the State Office for Cultural Heritage Preservation Baden-Württemberg.
The Human Osteological Collection of the University of Tübingen houses anthropological samples originating mainly from archaeological sites of South-West Germany. Our collection also includes a large series of high-quality casts of fossil hominin specimens from around the world, as well as a virtual collection of 3D scans. Students have access to the collection in the context of training in human osteology and for the development of research projects, including BA and MSc theses and PhD dissertations.
In addition to conventional approaches, the Tübingen Paleoanthropology team has a strong focus on the application of computer-assisted Virtual Anthropology methods, an inter-disciplinary methodological framework that integrates medical imaging, computer science and advanced statistical analysis (including the use of geometric morphometrics) with biological anthropology. Many of these approaches depend on the acquisition and analysis of 3D digital models of skeletal elements, including both external as well as internal bone structures.
To this end, the cutting-edge equipment provided in our Imaging Laboratory and High Resolution CT Laboratory offer students and researchers the optimal means for:
- The acquisition of high-resolution 3D models of bone surfaces, using our two structured-light scanners (i.e., Breuckmann Smartscan, handheld Artec Space Spider);
- The high-definition analysis of microscopic 3D areas, including microwear texture analysis of dental remains, using a confocal imaging profiler (SENSOFAR Plu Neox);
- The acquisition of digital models of internal bone morphology at the micron level of resolution using our micro-computed tomography scanner (microCT) (GE Phoenix v|tome|x-s).
- 3D Printing of virtual models (Raise3d Pro2 Plus, Formlabs Form 2)
- Processing and analysis of scan and coordinate data through the use of three high-end workstations and specialized software.