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Enamel thickness distribution the teeth of Australopithecus afarensis


Shape analysis of a chimpanzee molar using landmarks


Internal bony structure of an orangutan wrist bone


CT-based reconstruction of a chimpanzee hand


CT-based reconstruction of east African Homo erectus skull

Matthew Skinner

Matthew Skinner

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 8837

Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 8632


Room: 241

Dr Matthew Skinner, BA, PhD

Matthew Skinner is a paleoanthropologist whose research focuses on the analysis of teeth and bones to answer questions about the growth and development, diet, taxonomy and evolutionary history of living and extinct primates, including fossil hominins. Specifically, he is interested in taxonomic diversity and evolutionary history of humans and apes, dental tissue development in the present and past, and form/function relationships in the primate skeleton.

To date, his dental research has focused on analyses of the two primary tissues of primate teeth, enamel and dentine to address the following questions:

  • How can the study of dentine topography improve our understanding of the developmental processes responsible for tooth crown morphology?
  • What bearing does dentine topography have on the systematics of fossil hominins?
  • To what degree are developmental models of tooth growth derived from developmental genetic studies of model organisms applicable to the interpretation of morphological variation in primate teeth?
  • What are the relative contributions of dentine and enamel to the functional morphology of tooth crowns?

He is currently involved in collaborative research projects examining bone structure in the hands of living primates and fossil hominins to address the following question:

  • Are locomotory and manipulative behaviours reflected in the cortical and trabecular bone structure on the hand?

Current Research Projects/Interests

  • Hominin taxonomic diversity in East and South Africa
  • Hominin dental development and morphological variation
  • Bony structure of the hand in relation to locomotory and manipulative behaviours


Matthew has participated in field excavations in Kenya, Ethiopia, Canada, France, Germany, East Timor, Republic of Georgia, and Hungary.


  • Palaeoanthropology: A course for 2nd and 3rd year students, covering the whole of human evolution from the perspective of the fossil record.
  • Advanced Human Evolution: An in-depth analysis of various topics, including taxonomy, systematics, sexual dimorphism, allometry, adaptation, functional morphology, and anatomy of the hominin taxa.
  • Statistics in the Social and Historical Sciences: Intended for postgraduate research students.



Nguyen, NH, Pahr, DH, Gross, T, Skinner, MM, Kivell, TL. Micro-finite element (µFE) modeling of the siamang (Symphalangus syndactylus) third proximal phalanx: the functional role of curvature and the flexor sheath ridge. Journal of Human Evolution 67: 60-75.

Martínez de Pinillos, M, Martinón-Torres, M, Skinner, MM, Arsuaga, JL, Gracia-Téllez, A, Martínez, I, Martín-Francés, L, Bermúdez de Castro, JM. Trigonid crests expression in Atapuerca-Sima de los Huesos lower molars: internal and external morphological expression and evolutionary inferences. C.R. Palevol. 13, 205-221.

Martinón-Torres, M, Martínez de Pinillos, M, Skinner, MM, Martín-Francés, L, Gracia-Téllez, A, Martínez, I, Arsuaga, JL, Bermúdez de Castro, JM. Talonid crests expression at the enamel-dentine junction of hominin lower permanent and deciduous molars. C.R. Palevol. 13, 223-234.

Crevecoeur I, Skinner MM, Bailey SE, Gunz P, Bortoluzzi S, et al. (2014) First Early Hominin from Central Africa (Ishango, Democratic Republic of Congo). PLoS ONE 9(1): e84652. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084652.


Soressi, M, McPherron, S, Lenoir, M, Dogandzic, T, Goldberg, P, Jacobs, Z, Maigrot, Y, Martisius, NL, Miller, CE, Rendu, W, Richards, M, Skinner, MM, Steele, TE, Talamo, S, Texier, J-P. Neandertals made the first specialized bone tools in Europe. PNAS 10:14186-14190.

Tsegai, Z, Kivell, TL, Gross, T, Pahr, DH, Nguyen, NH, Smaers, JB, Skinner, MM. Trabecular bone structure correlated with hand posture and use in hominoids. PLoS ONE 8(11): e78781. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078781.

Wollny, G, Kellman, P, Ledesma-Carbayo, M-J, Skinner, MM, Hublin, J-J, Hierl, T, 2013. MIA – a free and open source software for gray scale medical image analysis. Source Code Biol. Med. 8:20.

Skinner, MM, Kivell, TL, Potze, S, Hublin, J-J. Microtomographic archive of fossil hominin specimens from Kromdraai B, South Africa. Journal of Human Evolution 64: 434-447.

Moore, NC, Skinner, MM, Hublin, J-J. Premolar root morphology and metric variation in Pan troglodytes verus. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 150: 632-646.


Bailey, SE, Skinner, MM, Hublin, J-J. (2011) What lies beneath? An evaluation of lower molar trigonid crest patterns based on both dentine and enamel expression. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 145: 505-518.

Lazenby, R, Skinner, MM, Kivell, TL, Hublin, J-J. (2011) Scaling VOI size in 3D µCT studies of trabecular bone: a test of the over-sampling hypothesis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 144: 196-203.

Kivell, TL, Skinner, MM, Lazenby, R, Hublin, J-J. (2011) Methodological considerations for analyzing trabecular architecture: an example from the primate hand. Journal of Anatomy 218: 209-225.

Lazenby, RA, Skinner, MM, Hublin, J-J, Boesch, C. (2011) Metacarpal trabecular architecture in the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes): Evidence for locomotion and tool use. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 144: 215-225.


Skinner, MM, Gunz, P. (2010) The presence of accessory cusps in chimpanzee lower molars is consistent with a patterning cascade model of development. Journal of Anatomy 217:245-253.

Skinner, MM, Evans, A, Smith, T, Jernvall, J, Tafforeau, P, Kupczik, K, Olejniczak, AJ, Rosas, A, Radovčić, J, Thackeray, JF, Toussaint, M, Hublin, J-J. (2010) Brief communication: Contributions of enamel-dentine junction shape and enamel deposition to primate molar crown complexity. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 142: 157-163.


Skinner, MM, Gunz, P, Wood, BA, Hublin, J-J (2009) Discrimination of extant Pan species and subspecies using the enamel-dentine junction morphology of lower molars. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 140: 234-243.

Skinner, MM, Gunz, P, Wood, BA, Hublin, J-J. (2009) How many landmarks? Assessing classification accuracy of Pan lower molars using geometric morphometric analysis of the occlusal basin as seen at the EDJ. . In: Eds. Koppe, T, Meyer, G, Alt, KW. Comparative Dental Morphology. Karger, Basel, pp. 23-29.

Kupczik, K, Olejniczak, AJ, Skinner, MM, Hublin, J-J (2009) Molar crown and root size relationships in anthropoid primates. In: Eds. Koppe, T, Meyer, G, Alt, KW. Comparative Dental Morphology. Karger, Basel, pp. 16-22.

Skinner, MM, Wood, BA, Hublin, J-J (2009) Protostylid expression at the outer enamel surface and at the enamel-dentine junction of mandibular molars of Paranthropus robustus and Australopithecus africanus. Journal of Human Evolution 56: 76-85.


Skinner, MM, Gunz, P, Wood, BA, Hublin, J-J (2008) Enamel-dentine junction (EDJ) morphology distinguishes the lower molars of Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus. Journal of Human Evolution 55: 979-988.

Olejniczak, AJ, Smith, TM, Skinner, MM, Grine, FE, Feeney, RNM, Thackeray, JF, and Hublin, J-J (2008) Three-dimensional molar enamel distribution and thickness in Australopithecus and Paranthropus. Biology Letters 4: 406-410.

Olejniczak, AJ, Smith, TM, Feeney, RNM, Macchiarelli, R, Mazurier, A, Bondioli, L, Rosas, A, Fortea, J, de la Rasilla, M, Garcia-Tabernero, A, Radovčić, J, Skinner, MM, Toussaint, M, Hublin, J-J (2008) Dental tissue proportions and enamel thickness in Neandertal and modern human molars. Journal of Human Evolution 55: 12-23

Skinner, MM, Wood, BA, Boesch, C, Olejniczak, AJ, Rosas, A, Smith, TS, Hublin, J-J (2008) Dental trait expression at the enamel-dentine junction of lower molars in extant and fossil hominoids. Journal of Human Evolution 54: 173-186.


Skinner, MM, Gordon, AG, Collard, NJ (2006) Mandibular size and shape variation in the hominins at Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia. Journal of Human Evolution 51: 36-49.

Skinner, MM, Wood, BA (2006) The evolution of modern human life history – a paleontological perspective. In: Eds. K. Hawkes and R. Paine. The Evolution of Modern Human Life History. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe, pp. 331-400.

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