Surface bone histology of the occipital bone in humans and chimpanzees


  • Ken Mowbray

    Corresponding author
    • Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Fax: 212-769-5334

    • Dr. Mowbray is a paleoanthropologist and skeletal biologist who received his PhD from Rutgers University and is currently the Curatorial Associate for Biological Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History, where he has worked for the past 7 years. His interests focus on confronting the major issues of morphological variability in the primate skeleton across space and through time to gain a better understanding of humanity's place in nature. Dr. Mowbray has written and collaborated on numerous publications in scientific journals, including Primates, Athena Review, Journal of Human Evolution, The Anatomical Record, and Nature.


Human and chimpanzee occipital bones are thought to grow and develop in distinctly opposite bone remodeling patterns. Preliminary research examining growth-remodeling fields (GRFs) from the surfaces of the occipital bone in modern humans and chimpanzee indicates this may not be entirely correct. By using vinyl/resin-casting techniques, coupled with scanning electron and reflected-light microscopy, GRF profiles from a cross-sectional sample of humans and chimpanzees have documented the ongoing histological activities that reflect developmental processes through which taxon-specific ontogenetic trajectories alter bone morphology. Surface bone profiles aid in explaining how the posterior skull takes shape, thereby aiding in our understanding of the developmental processes that may contribute to the morphological variation in the posterior skull in humans and chimpanzees. Anat Rec (Part B: New Anat) 283B:14–22, 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.