Paul Jamison

Paul Jamison

Professor Emeritus


  • Ph.D., Physical Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1972
  • M.A., Physical Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1968
  • B.A., University of Arizona, 1965

About Paul Jamison

Human populations differ, on average, in terms of their morphological characteristics. Individuals differ as well, including even those subjects of endless study, identical twins. Additionally, within one’s lifetime, processes of growth and development, maturation and aging all lead to morphological changes in one’s body. My research interests span all of these aspects of human morphological variation. Arctic populations, with a special focus on northwest Alaskan native adults and children, are one of my interests. Another is morphological variation among adult monozygotic (identical) twins and their families with particular reference to the half sib model. I have analyzed craniofacial morphometric data on individuals suffering from dysmorphic genetic syndromes as well as fetal alcohol syndrome to attempt to quantify dysmorphology and to try to characterize the differences between affected, carrier and normal individuals. Another morphometric focus includes measurements that I have taken on a non-human primate species, Macaca mulatta, the common rhesus monkey, to examine morphological effects of prenatal hormone manipulation. Most recently, I have been involved in two new lines of research. I am collaborating on the analysis of a set of data on fashion models to study the relationships among physical attractiveness, facial asymmetry, and where the models score, on average, within the normal range of anthropometric variation. Finally, I am also collaborating in a series of projects with C. Sorenson Jamison that center around the Grandmother/Good Mother Hypothesis.

This research can be summarized under three headings: (1) methodological, (2) theoretical, and (3) applied. Methodological contributions include demonstrations of the limitations as well as the value of anthropometric measurement techniques. I examined the consequences of both inter- and intra-observer measurement errors as well as the impact of measurement size on anthropometric measurement reliability. Describing craniofacial dysmorphology with reference to a numerical score outside a range of normal variation of such scores is a further methodological perspective that I am currently pursuing.

Theoretical contributions of my research include relating the concept of normal to a range of variation. The result is a different view of normality than stems from the average, the median, the stereotype, or the typological description. This view of what is normal holds consequences for Anthropology as a whole as well as providing a basis for the appreciation of human variation by people everywhere. Additionally, my research on the pattern of growth and development in some Arctic populations lends credence to the theoretical perspective that evolutionary forces can be demonstrated to have operated on human populations over time. That these same evolutionary forces can be implicated in the ultimate explanation of human behavior is a theoretical underpinning of the research on grandmotherhood.

Increasingly, an applied focus has developed in my research. Biological anthropologists have a number of research techniques and methodologies (in this case anthropometry) that are proving increasingly useful to the medical profession. In addition, our focus on human variation places us in a position to better understand and study anomalies such as fetal alcohol syndrome, than the physician without a research background. My collaborative research has potential applications to craniofacial syndrome diagnosis and the elucidation of the genetic etiology of these syndromes. If early detection and therefore better treatment of individuals with congenital syndromes results from this research, the individuals, their families, and society as a whole stand to benefit. A second collaborative study on monkeys who received prenatal hormone treatments can also be seen as applied. If this research ultimately leads to a better understanding of conditions such as dyslexia, a major learning disorder and one of several conditions hypothesized to be caused by an excess in prenatal testosterone, it could have an impact on the educational process for thousands of children.

Finally, statistical analysis of research data has been one of the things that I am best known for in the Department. This interest extends across all three research foci, i.e., methodological, theoretical and applied. In addition, in terms of my time spent with students, it is perhaps my major contribution to both formal and informal graduate student education here in the Department. Recently, I developed an undergraduate course in Anthropological Statistics. This course along with Human Growth and Development, Human Adaptation, Research Methods in Anthropometry, Darwinian Medicine and introductory Bioanthropology form the core of my teaching. I place a major emphasis on the presentation of research data in my classes and whenever possible I like to have students carry out their own research projects. Thus there is a convergence between my research, my courses, and the methods that I use in my teaching.

Paul Jamison, Wilbert Hites Mentoring Award (IU Homepage Article, February 27, 2004)

Selected Publications

ND (with Sorenson Jamison, C and LL Cornell Human female longevity: How important is being a grandmother? In: E Voland, J Beise and A Chasiotis (eds.) Grandmotherhood: The Evolutionary Significance of the Second Half of Life. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ (accepted for publication).

2004 (with Sorenson Jamison, C and M Wallace Contemporary work characteristics and ill health: A perspective based upon evolutionary medicine. American Journal of Human Biology 16:1-14.

2002 (with Sorenson Jamison, C, LL Cornell and H Nakazato) Are all grandmothers equal?: A review and a preliminary test of the grandmother hypothesis in Tokugawa Japan. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 119(1):67-76.

2001 (with Moore, ES, RE Ward , CA Morris, PI Bader and BD Hall) Recognizing the subtle facial signs of prenatal exposure to alcohol: An anthropometric approach. Journal of Pediatrics 139:215-219.

2000 (with Ward, RE and JE Allanson) A quantitative approach to identifying abnormal variation in the human face exemplified by a study of 278 individuals with craniofacial syndromes. American Journal of Medical Genetics 91:8-17.

1998 (with Ward, RE and LG Farkas) Craniofacial variability index: A simple measure of normal and abnormal variation in the head and face. American Journal of Medical Genetics 80:232-240.

1995 Height and weight among Inupiat (Eskimo) and other children: Age-independent versus age-dependent weight for height. South African Journal of Science 91:469-476.

1994 (with Sorenson Jamison, C and RJ Meier) The effect of prenatal testosterone administration on dermatoglyphic ridge counts of Rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 94:409-419.