Professor Awarded $20,000 Grant for Primate Dental Research

Mark Teaford

HIGH POINT, N.C., Jan. 2, 2014 – Dr. Mark Teaford, professor of physical therapy at High Point University, is part of a team that recently received a $20,000 grant to complete a research project involving analyses of teeth of modern primates compared to those of human ancestors. Funding for the project came from the Leakey Foundation through the University of Arkansas.

The ultimate goal of the project is to gain new insights into how our ancestors used their teeth. Teaford, who serves as co-principal investigator for the project, will focus on gathering data from modern primates. His collaborators on the project already have copies of the teeth of the human ancestors at the University of Arkansas.

“In addition to project analysis and write-up, my role will involve traveling to museums in the United States and Europe to help make copies of teeth in those collections,” Teaford explains.

Teaford plans to bring back some of the dental molds to HPU labs in order for students to gain experience in preparing high resolution casts for microscopy.

“This should give students a better perspective on how one moves from initial stages of data collection, to actual analyses and interpretations that may appear in the news media or textbooks,” Teaford adds.

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