Dr. Chris Robinson is the current chairperson of the Biological Sciences department. He also teaches General Biology I and II (BIO 11 and 12) and is the coordinator of BIO 150, Biology, Bioethics, and the Law. In addition, Dr. Robinson is a Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Dr. Robinson’s research is primarily focused on using a technique known as three dimensional geometric morphometrics to explore shape differences in the skull and teeth of fossil humans and living apes and humans. One of his projects examines how and why the lower jaw changed in shape over time in one of our earliest ancestors, Australopithecus. He also is currently working on helping understand why humans are the only primate that has a chin.
His other major research focus is working with US and Romanian colleagues at field sites in the Olteţ River Valley in Romania that are dated to about two million years ago. His team has identified several new localities with fossils, including wooly mammoth fossils, and has documented mammalian species in museum collections that have increased our understanding of the environmental conditions in Eastern Europe at approximately the time when the first human ancestors were dispersing out of Africa to the rest of the world. The team hopes to better understand the paths that our ancestors took when they left Africa for the first time and why they went along those paths.