Dr. Heike Scherf

Function: Research Fellow

Universität Tübingen
Institut für Naturwissenschaftliche Archäologie, Abt. Paläoanthropologie
Rümelinstr. 23
D-72070 Tübingen

Consulting hours:
by arrangement


Dr. Scherf’s research interests lie in the effects of locomotor loads on internal bony structures of long bones in primates including fossil and extant humans. Analyses of locomotion related structures in extant species are used as comparative basis to interpret the bony morphology in long bones of fossil species with regard to their preferred type of locomotion. In this field of research special attention is paid to:

As accurate handling of digital data, e.g. CT data, build the first step for the interpretation of internal structures, Dr. Scherf has put an additional research focus on the development of reproducible and accurate computerized pre-processing and analysing methods for complex internal bone structures (e.g. cancellous bone).

Academic Trajectory

2000 - 2006
Ph.D. at the Darmstadt University of Technology (Darmstadt, Germany)

in cooperation with the Senckenberg Research Insitute (Frankfurt/Main, Germany). Ph.D. thesis: „Locomotion-related femoral trabecular architectures in Primates“, supervised by F. Schrenk, D. Schumann and B. Herkner

Diploma degree (Dipl. Geol.) Darmstadt University of Technology (Darmstadt, Germany)

Major: Geology – Palaeontology Diploma thesis: “Funktionelle Bedeutung der femoralen Konstruktion bei ausgewählten Primaten und Insektivoren“ (Functional implications of the femoral construction of selected primates and insectivores), supervised by F. Schrenk and D. Schumann



DFG Major Research Instrumentation program, funding for a high resolution computed tomography system (~180 k Euro)


DFG Travel Grant for the IX. International Mammalogical Congress (Sapporo, Japan)


Support for PhD thesis by Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (Frankfurt/Main, Germany)


Ermann Stiftung, funding for high resolution CT scans for PhD project

2001 - 2003

Ph.D. fellowship for women in natural science and engineering of the Hessian Ministry of Science and Art, granted by Darmstadt University of Technology

Selected Publications

Scherf H., Wahl J., Hubiln J.J., Harvati K. (2016) Patterns of activity adaptation in humeral trabecular bone in Neolithic humans and present-day people. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol., 159, pp. 106-115 DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22835

Röding, C., Zastrow, J., Scherf, H., Doukas, C., & K., H. (2021). Crown outline analysis of the hominin upper third molar from the Megalopolis Basin, Peloponnese, Greece. In: Ancient Connections in Eurasia. Reyes-Centeno, H. & Harvati, K. (eds.) Tübingen: Kerns Verlag, pp. 13-36

Scherf, H.; Tilgner, R. (2009) A new high resolution-CT segmentation method for trabecular bone architectural analysis. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol, 140[1], pp. 39-51
Scherf, H.; Beckmann, F.; Fischer, J.; Witte, F. (2004) Internal channel structures in trabecular bone. Optical Science and Technology SPIE's 49th Annual Meeting, Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 5535 - Developments in X-Ray Tomography IV, Ulrich Bonse, ed., pp. 792-798

Full list​​​​​​​