Vienna Morphometrics Workshop

October 19-24, 1998. The Second Zumtobel Lecture.

An exhilarating workshop for the Austrian physical anthropology community was held in Vienna under the sponsorship of the Institute of Human Biology, at the University of Vienna, Austria. The co-directors were Martin Fieder of that Institute, and Leslie F. Marcus of Queens College, of the City University of New York. The Institute of Human Biology is a world leader in stereolithographic reconstruction from CT scans of recent and fossil hominines. Horst Seidler, the Director of the Institute, presented an overview of some anatomical questions relevant to the relations of archaic and modern Homo. The Vienna staff, including Martin Fieder, Katrin Schaeffer, Herman Prossinger, and Gerhard Weber gave short presentations of their morphometric approaches to study of specimens at the Institute. Ian Tattersall of the American Museum of Natural History, and Fred Bookstein, from the University of Michigan led a short discussion on the current relevance of the Frankfurt Plane in studies of human fossils. An overview of geometric morphometrics and the theoretical background was given by Leslie Marcus, Fred Bookstein, and Dennis Slice and F. James Rohlf of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Marco Corti from the University of Rome "La Sapienza", Paul O'Higgins of University College, London, and Xavier Penin from Caen, France gave examples of 3D applications of geometric morphometrics to rodents, facial growth, and the Hominidae respectively.. In addition available software - GRF-ND and Morpheus of Slice; and the tps series of Rohlf were demonstrated. We were shown new software by Penin (APS), and were given a preview of the package Morphologika by Paul O'Higgins, soon to be available from University College, London. Image capture equipment (Pixera), and 3D coordinate devices (Polhemus and Microscribe) were demonstrated. The devices and all of the software were available to attendants on networked machines at the University of Vienna.

Two teams digitized points on modern skulls, and stereolithographic reproductions. The first team used the Edgewarp package of Greene and Bookstein on a Silicon Graphics workstation at the Institute to digitize landmarks and spaced points on curves from CT scan sections. The second team digitized 3D landmarks using the Microscribe. Bookstein also demonstrated the new Edgewarp 3D, which can collect 3D landmarks at any location from a CT scan.

The highlights of the conference were seeing and handling the stereolithographic reconstructions (courtesy of Seidler); clarifying current understanding of shape models (Rohlf presentation); illustration of Procrustes analysis of shape curves (Bookstein), a first glimpse of the soon to be released package Morphologika and its strong graphical basis (O'Higgins), and a new approach to feature extraction from spline representations (Bookstein).

This was perhaps the most focused workshop-conference we have held. We look forward to presenting the results of our analysis to the community.

Leslie F. Marcus

F. James Rohlf, , November 23, 1998