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NERC Postdoctoral Fellow
UCL, Department of Anthropology
UCL, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment
The central focus of my work is to link macroevolutionary pathways to diversity, adaptation and function. In order to reconstruct evolutionary pathways I develop comparative methods that allow estimating variable rates for individual lineages of the tree of life. My empirical interests lie with biological traits that are of key relevance to understanding mammalian, primate and human evolution. My current work focuses on brain system evolution in primates and mammals, cranial- and postcranial mosaicism in primates, and life history evolution in mammals.
Smaers J.B., Soligo C. (In Press) Brain reorganization, not relative brain size, primarily characterizes anthropoid brain evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0269
Smaers J.B., Steele J., Case C.R. & Amunts K. (In Press) Laterality and the evolution of the prefronto-cerebellar system in anthropoids. In The Evolution of Human Handedness (Eds. McGrew WC, Marchant L, Schiefenhovel W). New York, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Smaers J.B., Dechmann D., Goswami A., Soligo C. & K. Safi. (2012) Comparative analyses of evolutionary rates reveal different pathways to encephalisation in bats, carnivorans and primates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1212181109 (media , BioScience brief report)
Brill B., Smaers J.B., Steele J., et al. (2012) Functional mastery of “percussive technology” in nut-cracking and stone-flaking actions: experimental comparison of the tasks and implications for the evolution of the human brain. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 367: 59-74.
Smaers J.B., Mulvaney P., Soligo C., Zilles K. & Amunts K. (2012) Sexual dimorphism and laterality in the evolution of the primate prefrontal cortex. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 79,3:205-212.
Kandler A. & Smaers J.B. (2012) An agent-based approach to modelling mammalian evolution: How resource distribution and predation affect body size evolution. Advances in Complex Systems 15:1-2.
Zilles K., Amunts K. & Smaers J.B. (2011) Three brain collections for comparative neuroanatomy and neuroimaging. In New Perspectives on Neurobehavioral Evolution (Eds. Johnson JI, Zeigler HP, Hof PR), p.E94-E104. New York, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Smaers J.B., Steele J. & Zilles K. (2011) Modeling the evolution of cortico-cerebellar systems in primates. In New Perspectives on Neurobehavioral Evolution (Eds. Johnson JI, Zeigler HP, Hof PR), p.176-190. New York, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Smaers J.B., Steele J., Case C.R., Cowper A., Amunts, K. & Zilles K. (2011) Primate prefrontal cortex evolution: human brains are the extreme of a lateralized ape trend. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 77:67-78. (Editor's Choice Article) pdf
Smaers J.B., Schleicher A., Zilles K. & Vinicius L. (2010) Frontal white matter is associated to brain enlargement and increased structural connectivity in haplorrhine primates. PLoS One 5(2). pdf
Smaers, J.B. & Vinicius L. (2009) Inferring macroevolutionary patterns using an adaptive peak model of evolution. Evolutionary Ecology Research. 11: 1-25.
Smaers, J.B. (2007). Comparative socioecology of primate brain component evolution: overall brain size scaling versus internal grade shifting. European Human Behaviour & Evolution Conference, London School of Economics, UK.