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Kristian J. Carlson

TitleAssociate Professor of Clinical Integrative Anatomical Sciences
InstitutionUniversity of Southern California
DepartmentIntegrative Anatomical Sciences
AddressBMT 308,1333 San Pablo Street
Health Sciences Campus
Los Angeles CA 90033
Phone+1 323 865 1684
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    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Education and Training
    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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    Collapse Overview
    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. Beaudet A, Carlson K, 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 May 21. PMID: 29793791.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Patel BA, Jashashvili T, Bui SH, Carlson K, 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 May 12. PMID: 29764690.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Ryan TM, Carlson K, Gordon AD, Jablonski N, Shaw CN, Stock JT. Human-like hip joint loading in Australopithecus africanus and Paranthropus robustus. J Hum Evol. 2018 Apr 26. PMID: 29706230.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Xing S, Carlson K, Wei P, He J, Liu W. Morphology and structure of Homo erectus humeri from Zhoukoudian, Locality 1. PeerJ. 2018; 6:e4279. PMID: 29372121.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Patel BA, Romanu JT, Carlson K. Subchondral Bone Radiodensity Patterns in the Glenoid Fossa of Ape and Human Scapulae. Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2018 May; 301(5):776-785. PMID: 29281860.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Su A, Carlson K. Comparative analysis of trabecular bone structure and orientation in South African hominin tali. J Hum Evol. 2017 May; 106:1-18. PMID: 28434534.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Rein TR, Harrison T, Carlson K, Harvati K. Adaptation to suspensory locomotion in Australopithecus sediba. J Hum Evol. 2017 03; 104:1-12. PMID: 28317552.
      View in: PubMed
    8. 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 K, 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
    9. Daegling DJ, Carlson K, Tafforeau P, de Ruiter DJ, Berger LR. Comparative biomechanics of Australopithecus sediba mandibles. J Hum Evol. 2016 11; 100:73-86. PMID: 27765151.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Zeininger A, Patel BA, Zipfel B, Carlson K. Trabecular architecture in the StW 352 fossil hominin calcaneus. J Hum Evol. 2016 08; 97:145-58. PMID: 27457551.
      View in: PubMed
    11. 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 K, 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.
    12. Jashashvili T, Dowdeswell MR, Lebrun R, Carlson K. Cortical structure of hallucal metatarsals and locomotor adaptations in hominoids. PLoS One. 2015; 10(1):e0117905. PMID: 25635768.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Chirchir H, Kivell TL, Ruff CB, Hublin JJ, Carlson K, 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.
    14. Holloway RL, Broadfield DC, Carlson K. 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.
    15. Wallace IJ, Kwaczala AT, Judex S, Demes B, Carlson K. 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
    16. Fernandez V, Abdala F, Carlson K, 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; PMCID: PMC3689844.
    17. Churchill SE, Holliday TW, Carlson K, 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.
      View in: PubMed
    18. DeSilva JM, Holt KG, Churchill SE, Carlson K, 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
    19. Schmid P, Churchill SE, Nalla S, Weissen E, Carlson K, 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
    20. Carlson K, 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.
    21. Kibii JM, Churchill SE, Schmid P, Carlson K, 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
    22. 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
    23. Zipfel B, DeSilva JM, Kidd RS, Carlson K, Churchill SE, Berger LR. The foot and ankle of Australopithecus sediba. Science. 2011 Sep 09; 333(6048):1417-20. PMID: 21903807.
      View in: PubMed
    24. Nowak MG, Carlson K, 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.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Carlson K, Demes B. Gait dynamics of Cebus apella during quadrupedalism on different substrates. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2010 Jun; 142(2):273-86. PMID: 20091854.
      View in: PubMed
    26. Berger LR, de Ruiter DJ, Churchill SE, Schmid P, Carlson K, 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
    27. Judex S, Carlson K. Is bone's response to mechanical signals dominated by gravitational loading? Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Nov; 41(11):2037-43. PMID: 19812513.
      View in: PubMed
    28. Demes B, Carlson K. Locomotor variation and bending regimes of capuchin limb bones. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2009 Aug; 139(4):558-71. PMID: 19208417.
      View in: PubMed
    29. Patel BA, Carlson K. Apparent density patterns in subchondral bone of the sloth and anteater forelimb. Biol Lett. 2008 Oct 23; 4(5):486-9. PMID: 18628113; PMCID: PMC2610091.
    30. Carlson K, 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.
      View in: PubMed
    31. Carlson K, 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.
      View in: PubMed
    32. Carlson K, 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
    33. Carlson K, 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.
      View in: PubMed
    34. Carlson K, Judex S. Increased non-linear locomotion alters diaphyseal bone shape. J Exp Biol. 2007 Sep; 210(Pt 17):3117-25. PMID: 17704086.
      View in: PubMed
    35. Patel BA, Carlson K. 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
    36. Carlson K, 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.
    37. Demes B, Carlson K, 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.
      View in: PubMed
    38. Carlson K. Muscle architecture of the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes): perspectives for investigating chimpanzee behavior. Primates. 2006 Jul; 47(3):218-29. PMID: 16807683.
      View in: PubMed
    39. Carlson K, 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
    40. Demes B, Franz TM, Carlson K. External forces on the limbs of jumping lemurs at takeoff and landing. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2005 Oct; 128(2):348-58. PMID: 15810009.
      View in: PubMed
    41. Carlson K. 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.
      View in: PubMed
    42. Franz TM, Demes B, Carlson K. Gait mechanics of lemurid primates on terrestrial and arboreal substrates. J Hum Evol. 2005 Feb; 48(2):199-217. PMID: 15701531.
      View in: PubMed
    43. Pickering TR, Carlson K. 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
    44. Carlson K, 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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