The origin and evolution of extant hominoids, group composed by lesser apes, orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas and humans, is one of the most debated questions during the last century of palaeontological research worldwide. It is the main goal of this group to help resolving this problem. This group works on the extraordinary Catalan hominoid fossil record, the worldwide richest record between 14-8 Ma, the critical time span for which molecular and palaeontological data suggest the origin of this group.
Using new techniques such as CT-scan reconstruction and analysis, morphometric geometrics and phylogenetic analysis, the group is trying to test the current paradigm that holds that extant hominoids is a monophyletic group with a past common ancestor as well as the importance of homoplasy in their evolution. Another important goal of the group is the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of Paleogene primates and the origin of the human hand.
This group also focuses on the primate evolution during Eocene as well as the origin and adaptations of the human hand.
Head of Department: Dr. Salvador Moyà-Solà (ICREA researcher)