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Nathan E. Holton

Associate of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Contact Information

Primary Office
51 Newton Road
Iowa City, IA 52242


BA, Anthropology, San Francisco State University
MA, Anthropology, Northern Illinois University
PhD, Anthropology, The University of Iowa

Research Summary

My research interest is on the evolution and development of the craniofacial complex in humans. As a biological anthropologist, I am particularly interested in understanding how evolution interacts with developmental processes to influence to produce phenotypic differences in modern and archaic humans. To this end, my work is focused primarily on understanding the determinants of variation in the nasal region and the masticatory region. Regarding the nasal region, my research is focused on developing a better understanding of early developmental interactions between bony and cartilaginous nasal components, as well as the developmental interaction between the nasal region and other parts of the craniofacial complex. I am also working to understand how the evolution and development of the nasal complex are influenced by larger systemic factors related to bioenergetics. With respect to the masticatory region, my work is focused on functional-developmental interactions in the jaws. The goal of this work is to better understand to what extent functional and behavioral inferences can be made from skeletal elements in fossil and extant primates. This includes work designed to assess which aspects of jaw form are associated with jaw function, and which aspects of jaw form are independent of function. Additionally, this includes work designed to better understand variation in skeletal responses to functional loading.