Ph.D. Hominid Paleobiology, The George Washington University
M.A. Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University
B.S. Biology, Saint Michael’s College
Areas of Expertise:
Evolution of the vertebrate skull and dentition
Introduction to Ecology and Evolution
First Year Seminar – Africa and Its Peoples
I study human evolution, especially the evolution of our skulls and teeth. Most of my research aims to reconstruct the diets of our ancestors through a variety of techniques including:
1. Linking damage patterns observed in fossil teeth with the foods or behaviors that caused them.
2. Examining variation in tooth microstructure to reveal how teeth adapt to diet.
3. Investigating dietary influences on skull shape.
Paul Constantino, assistant professor of biology, this November attended a workshop in Chengdu, China on dental tribology (tooth wear). Fifteen researchers from around the world were invited including biologists and engineers from China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, France, England, Poland, and Germany. Paul was only one of three Americans in attendance. The workshop aimed to combine scientists who study tooth wear from multiple angles, from biologists like Paul who use it to reconstruct the dietary behavior of fossil animals, to those who use it to create better dental prosthetics, to engineers who want to understand tooth wear for biomimetic applications like reducing wear on high-speed train tracks. Presentations were given to a large Chinese audience at the Tribology Research Institute at Southwest Jiaotong University, and then two days of discussions followed. Paul also recently was quoted in an article appearing in the periodical Science News titled “Nitty-gritty of Homo naledi’s diet revealed in its teeth: Lots of chipped enamel suggests the food of the ancient humanlike species came à la dirt.” As Paul notes, “Science News is a pretty big magazine in our field for getting the word out to the general public about significant discoveries in science.”
(posted December 2017)
Paul Constantino, assistant professor of biology, presented his research on human dental evolution at the 86th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, which was held in April in New Orleans, LA. Paul was also involved in the Smithsonian’s “Exploring Human Origins” exhibit held at Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library. He conducted educational trainings for local middle and high school teachers on the exhibit’s content and had students from his Human Evolution class volunteer as docents.
(posted June 2017)
Paul Constantino recently published a paper with some colleagues in the journal BioEssays. It discusses the potential of a micromechanics approach to understanding tooth wear and reconstructing the diets of extinct animals. He and three of his students have also recently given presentations at conferences of the American Association of Physical Anthropology and International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology. These presentations discussed how the microstructure of tooth enamel can reveal important information about dietary adaptation.
Paul Constantino, assistant professor of biology, has recently published research on reconstructing diet from tooth wear in the journals BioEssays and Acta Biomaterialia, and just submitted another paper to Journal of the Royal Society Interface. He also presented research on tooth microstructure at the 85th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Atlanta, and has three students from his lab presenting their research at the eleventh International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology to be held at the end of June in Washington, DC.
(posted June 2016)
Paul Constantino, assistant professor of biology, is co-author with some colleagues of a paper about seat otter dental enamel and its high resistance to chipping, published this fall in the journal Biology Letters by Royal Society Publishing.
(Submitted December 2014)