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Kristian J. Carlson

Title(s)Associate Professor of Clinical Integrative Anatomical Sciences
SchoolKeck School of Medicine of USC
Phone+1 323 865 1684
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    Indiana University, Bloomington, INPh.D.09/2002Anthropology
    Indiana University, Bloomington, INM.A.04/1999Anthropology
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MIB.S. (High Honors)04/1994Anthropology
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MIB.S. (High Honors)04/1994Anthropology-Zoology

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    Kristian Carlson was trained as a biological anthropologist in a four-field doctoral program at Indiana University. He completed postdoctoral research in the Department of Anatomical Sciences at Stony Brook University (US) and in the Anthropological Institute and Museum at Zurich University (Switzerland).

    His multidisciplinary research program combines comparative anatomy, locomotor mechanics, and bone biology to study form and function in the postcranial skeleton of extant primates, including humans, and human ancestors.

    As a functional morphologist, he investigates behavioral correlates in the external and internal structure of limb bones from these groups. From a human health or clinical standpoint, this perspective enables understanding the role non-pharmaceutical factors (e.g., activity) may serve in skeletal maintenance, particularly in reducing or preventing unwanted bone loss. From an anthropological or paleontological standpoint, this perspective enables inferring behaviors in extinct organisms, which is particularly useful for reconstructing their behavioral repertoires. Such reconstructions are crucial pieces of evidence in documenting how extinct organisms engaged with their surrounding habitats, and how this interaction may have changed as environments shifted through geological time.

    At USC, he teaches human gross anatomy to first and second year medical students in the Keck School of Medicine.

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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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    1. Doershuk LJ, Saers JPP, Shaw CN, Jashashvili T, Carlson KJ, Stock JT, Ryan TM. Complex variation of trabecular bone structure in the proximal humerus and femur of five modern human populations. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2019 Jan; 168(1):104-118. PMID: 30515772.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Beaudet A, Clarke RJ, de Jager EJ, Bruxelles L, Carlson KJ, Crompton R, de Beer F, Dhaene J, Heaton JL, Jakata K, Jashashvili T, Kuman K, McClymont J, Pickering TR, Stratford D. The endocast of StW 573 ("Little Foot") and hominin brain evolution. J Hum Evol. 2019 Jan; 126:112-123. PMID: 30583840.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Ruff CB, Warden SJ, Carlson KJ. Of mice and men (and women): Comment on Peacock et al., 2018. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2018 Sep; 167(1):185-189. PMID: 30175506.
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    4. Patel BA, Jashashvili T, Bui SH, Carlson KJ, Griffin NL, Wallace IJ, Orr CM, Susman RL. Inter-ray variation in metatarsal strength properties in humans and African apes: Implications for inferring bipedal biomechanics in the Olduvai Hominid 8 foot. J Hum Evol. 2018 Aug; 121:147-165. PMID: 29764690.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Beaudet A, Carlson KJ, Clarke RJ, de Beer F, Dhaene J, Heaton JL, Pickering TR, Stratford D. Cranial vault thickness variation and inner structural organization in the StW 578 hominin cranium from Jacovec Cavern, South Africa. J Hum Evol. 2018 Aug; 121:204-220. PMID: 29793791.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Ryan TM, Carlson KJ, Gordon AD, Jablonski N, Shaw CN, Stock JT. Human-like hip joint loading in Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus. J Hum Evol. 2018 Aug; 121:12-24. PMID: 29706230.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Xing S, Carlson KJ, Wei P, He J, Liu W. Morphology and structure of Homo erectus humeri from Zhoukoudian, Locality 1. PeerJ. 2018; 6:e4279. PMID: 29372121.
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    8. Patel BA, Romanu JT, Carlson KJ. Subchondral Bone Radiodensity Patterns in the Glenoid Fossa of Ape and Human Scapulae. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2018 05; 301(5):776-785. PMID: 29281860.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Gibbon VE, Carlson KJ, Grimoud AM, Jashashvili T. Use of high resolution computed tomography to diagnose ante-mortem dental root fractures in archaeological samples. Int J Paleopathol. 2018 Sep; 22:143-148. PMID: 30126700.
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    10. Su A, Carlson KJ. Comparative analysis of trabecular bone structure and orientation in South African hominin tali. J Hum Evol. 2017 05; 106:1-18. PMID: 28434534.
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    11. Rein TR, Harrison T, Carlson KJ, Harvati K. Adaptation to suspensory locomotion in Australopithecus sediba. J Hum Evol. 2017 03; 104:1-12. PMID: 28317552.
      View in: PubMed
    12. Ledogar JA, Benazzi S, Smith AL, Weber GW, Carlson KB, Dechow PC, Grosse IR, Ross CF, Richmond BG, Wright BW, Wang Q, Byron C, Carlson KJ, De Ruiter DJ, Pryor Mcintosh LC, Strait DS. The Biomechanics of Bony Facial "Buttresses" in South African Australopiths: An Experimental Study Using Finite Element Analysis. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2017 01; 300(1):171-195. PMID: 28000396.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Daegling DJ, Carlson KJ, Tafforeau P, de Ruiter DJ, Berger LR. Comparative biomechanics of Australopithecus sediba mandibles. J Hum Evol. 2016 11; 100:73-86. PMID: 27765151.
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    14. Zeininger A, Patel BA, Zipfel B, Carlson KJ. Trabecular architecture in the StW 352 fossil hominin calcaneus. J Hum Evol. 2016 08; 97:145-58. PMID: 27457551.
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    15. Ledogar JA, Smith AL, Benazzi S, Weber GW, Spencer MA, Carlson KB, McNulty KP, Dechow PC, Grosse IR, Ross CF, Richmond BG, Wright BW, Wang Q, Byron C, Carlson KJ, de Ruiter DJ, Berger LR, Tamvada K, Pryor LC, Berthaume MA, Strait DS. Mechanical evidence that Australopithecus sediba was limited in its ability to eat hard foods. Nat Commun. 2016 Feb 08; 7:10596. PMID: 26853550; PMCID: PMC4748115.
    16. Jashashvili T, Dowdeswell MR, Lebrun R, Carlson KJ. Cortical structure of hallucal metatarsals and locomotor adaptations in hominoids. PLoS One. 2015; 10(1):e0117905. PMID: 25635768.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Chirchir H, Kivell TL, Ruff CB, Hublin JJ, Carlson KJ, Zipfel B, Richmond BG. Recent origin of low trabecular bone density in modern humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jan 13; 112(2):366-71. PMID: 25535354; PMCID: PMC4299206.
    18. Holloway RL, Broadfield DC, Carlson KJ. New high-resolution computed tomography data of the Taung partial cranium and endocast and their bearing on metopism and hominin brain evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Sep 09; 111(36):13022-7. PMID: 25157138; PMCID: PMC4246990.
    19. Wallace IJ, Kwaczala AT, Judex S, Demes B, Carlson KJ. Physical activity engendering loads from diverse directions augments the growing skeleton. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2013 Sep; 13(3):283-8. PMID: 23989249.
      View in: PubMed
    20. Fernandez V, Abdala F, Carlson KJ, Cook DC, Rubidge BS, Yates A, Tafforeau P. Synchrotron Reveals Early Triassic Odd Couple: Injured Amphibian and Aestivating Therapsid Share Burrow. PLoS One. 2013; 8(6):e64978. PMID: 23805181.
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    21. Churchill SE, Holliday TW, Carlson KJ, Jashashvili T, Macias ME, Mathews S, Sparling TL, Schmid P, de Ruiter DJ, Berger LR. The upper limb of Australopithecus sediba. Science. 2013 Apr 12; 340(6129):1233477. PMID: 23580536.
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    22. DeSilva JM, Holt KG, Churchill SE, Carlson KJ, Walker CS, Zipfel B, Berger LR. The lower limb and mechanics of walking in Australopithecus sediba. Science. 2013 Apr 12; 340(6129):1232999. PMID: 23580534.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Schmid P, Churchill SE, Nalla S, Weissen E, Carlson KJ, de Ruiter DJ, Berger LR. Mosaic morphology in the thorax of Australopithecus sediba. Science. 2013 Apr 12; 340(6129):1234598. PMID: 23580537.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Carlson KJ, Jashashvili T, Houghton K, Westaway MC, Patel BA. Joint loads in marsupial ankles reflect habitual bipedalism versus quadrupedalism. PLoS One. 2013; 8(3):e58811. PMID: 23554931; PMCID: PMC3595237.
    25. Kibii JM, Churchill SE, Schmid P, Carlson KJ, Reed ND, de Ruiter DJ, Berger LR. A partial pelvis of Australopithecus sediba. Science. 2011 Sep 09; 333(6048):1407-11. PMID: 21903805.
      View in: PubMed
    26. Carlson KJ, Stout D, Jashashvili T, de Ruiter DJ, Tafforeau P, Carlson K, Berger LR. The endocast of MH1, Australopithecus sediba. Science. 2011 Sep 09; 333(6048):1402-7. PMID: 21903804.
      View in: PubMed
    27. Zipfel B, DeSilva JM, Kidd RS, Carlson KJ, Churchill SE, Berger LR. The foot and ankle of Australopithecus sediba. Science. 2011 Sep 09; 333(6048):1417-20. PMID: 21903807.
      View in: PubMed
    28. Nowak MG, Carlson KJ, Patel BA. Apparent density of the primate calcaneo-cuboid joint and its association with locomotor mode, foot posture, and the "midtarsal break". Am J Phys Anthropol. 2010 Jun; 142(2):180-93. PMID: 19918985.
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    29. Carlson KJ, Demes B. Gait dynamics of Cebus apella during quadrupedalism on different substrates. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2010 Jun; 142(2):273-86. PMID: 20091854.
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    30. Berger LR, de Ruiter DJ, Churchill SE, Schmid P, Carlson KJ, Dirks PH, Kibii JM. Australopithecus sediba: a new species of Homo-like australopith from South Africa. Science. 2010 Apr 09; 328(5975):195-204. PMID: 20378811.
      View in: PubMed
    31. Judex S, Carlson KJ. Is bone's response to mechanical signals dominated by gravitational loading? Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Nov; 41(11):2037-43. PMID: 19812513.
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    32. Demes B, Carlson KJ. Locomotor variation and bending regimes of capuchin limb bones. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2009 Aug; 139(4):558-71. PMID: 19208417.
      View in: PubMed
    33. Patel BA, Carlson KJ. Apparent density patterns in subchondral bone of the sloth and anteater forelimb. Biol Lett. 2008 Oct 23; 4(5):486-9. PMID: 18628113.
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    34. Carlson KJ, Sumner DR, Morbeck ME, Nishida T, Yamanaka A, Boesch C. Role of Nonbehavioral Factors in Adjusting Long Bone Diaphyseal Structure in Free-ranging Pan troglodytes. Int J Primatol. 2008 Dec; 29(6):1401-1420. PMID: 19816545.
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    35. Carlson KJ, Byron CD. Building a better organismal model: The role of the mouse--Introduction to the symposium. Integr Comp Biol. 2008 Sep; 48(3):321-3. PMID: 21669794.
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    36. Carlson KJ, Lublinsky S, Judex S. Do different locomotor modes during growth modulate trabecular architecture in the murine hind limb? Integr Comp Biol. 2008 Sep; 48(3):385-93. PMID: 21669800.
      View in: PubMed
    37. Carlson KJ, Grine FE, Pearson OM. Robusticity and sexual dimorphism in the postcranium of modern hunter-gatherers from Australia. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2007 Sep; 134(1):9-23. PMID: 17503447.
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    38. Carlson KJ, Judex S. Increased non-linear locomotion alters diaphyseal bone shape. J Exp Biol. 2007 Sep; 210(Pt 17):3117-25. PMID: 17704086.
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    39. Patel BA, Carlson KJ. Bone density spatial patterns in the distal radius reflect habitual hand postures adopted by quadrupedal primates. J Hum Evol. 2007 Feb; 52(2):130-41. PMID: 17055031.
      View in: PubMed
    40. Carlson KJ, Patel BA. Habitual use of the primate forelimb is reflected in the material properties of subchondral bone in the distal radius. J Anat. 2006 Jun; 208(6):659-70. PMID: 16761969; PMCID: PMC2100237.
    41. Demes B, Carlson KJ, Franz TM. Cutting corners: the dynamics of turning behaviors in two primate species. J Exp Biol. 2006 Mar; 209(Pt 5):927-37. PMID: 16481581.
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    42. Carlson KJ. Muscle architecture of the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes): perspectives for investigating chimpanzee behavior. Primates. 2006 Jul; 47(3):218-29. PMID: 16807683.
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    43. Carlson KJ, Doran-Sheehy DM, Hunt KD, Nishida T, Yamanaka A, Boesch C. Locomotor behavior and long bone morphology in individual free-ranging chimpanzees. J Hum Evol. 2006 Apr; 50(4):394-404. PMID: 16376413.
      View in: PubMed
    44. Demes B, Franz TM, Carlson KJ. External forces on the limbs of jumping lemurs at takeoff and landing. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2005 Oct; 128(2):348-58. PMID: 15810009.
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    45. Carlson KJ. Investigating the form-function interface in African apes: Relationships between principal moments of area and positional behaviors in femoral and humeral diaphyses. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2005 Jul; 127(3):312-34. PMID: 15584067.
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    46. Franz TM, Demes B, Carlson KJ. Gait mechanics of lemurid primates on terrestrial and arboreal substrates. J Hum Evol. 2005 Feb; 48(2):199-217. PMID: 15701531.
      View in: PubMed
    47. Pickering TR, Carlson KJ. Baboon taphonomy and its relevance to the investigation of large felid involvement in human forensic cases. Forensic Sci Int. 2004 Aug 11; 144(1):37-44. PMID: 15240019.
      View in: PubMed
    48. Carlson KJ, Pickering TR. Intrinsic qualities of primate bones as predictors of skeletal element representation in modern and fossil carnivore feeding assemblages. J Hum Evol. 2003 Apr; 44(4):431-50. PMID: 12727462.
      View in: PubMed
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