Dr Katharine Balolia
Areas of expertise
- Evolutionary Biology 0603
- Biological Adaptation 060303
- Phylogeny And Comparative Analysis 060309
- Life Histories 060308
Sexual dimorphism; evolution of hominin social behaviour; growth and development; cranial anatomy; 3D surface scanning; geometric morphometrics
I completed my Masters’ and PhD research at University College London (2006 – 2014), firstly under the supervision of Dr. Charles Lockwood and subsequently working with Dr. Christophe Soligo. The title of my PhD thesis is ‘Sexual dimorphism, growth and development beyond dental maturity in the cranium of extant hominoid primates’. I then completed a 2 year postdoctoral position as Research Associate in Human Evolutionary Biology (2014 - 2016), working as part of the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology (CASHP) at the George Washington University (GWU), under the supervision of Dr. Bernard Wood. My current role is Lecturer in Biological Anthropology in the School of Archaeology and Anthropology at The Australian National University.
The overall aim of my research is to reconstruct aspects of social behaviour in fossil hominin taxa. I am interested in understanding the relationship between sexual dimorphism in the facial skeleton and socioecological variables, and how sex-specific patterns of adulthood growth and development relate to within-group social interactions and dominance relationships and the timing of life history events observed in primate groups. In the longer term, I aim to examine sexual dimorphism in the facial skeleton of a broad sample of anthropoid taxa, to understand whether isolated regions of the face undergo selection in response to social variables in different primate groups. A substantial part of my research to date has focused on developing new techniques, using 3D surface data, to quantify size and shape of facial traits hypothesised to vary in response to sexual selection, and to quantitatively assess sex differences in the skull for sex-identification.
I currently teach the following courses:
BIAN2126/BIAN6513 Primate Evolutionary Biology
BIAN3113/BIAN6013 Human Evolution
ANTH2051/BIAN8003 Fossils, Bones, Teeth and Tools: Clues to the Lives of our Ancestors
K.L. Balolia, C. Soligo, B. Wood (accepted). Sagittal crest formation in great apes and gibbons. Journal of Anatomy
K.L. Balolia (2015). Brief Communication: The timing of spheno-occipital fusion in hominoids. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156: 135-140.
K.L. Balolia, C. Soligo, C.A. Lockwood. (2013). Sexual dimorphism and facial growth beyond dental maturity in great apes and gibbons. International Journal of Primatology 34: 361-387.
Other Significant Products
K.L. Balolia, M.W. Grabowski, B. Wood. A method for assigning sex based on the size and shape of the upper and mid-face. American Association of Physical Anthropologists 84th Annual Meeting, St. Louis, USA, March 2015.
K.L. Balolia, C. Soligo. Development of sexually dimorphic traits beyond dental maturity in the cranium of Gorilla gorilla (Invited poster symposium - Stories from the Skeleton: Hard Tissue Research on Modern, Non-Human Primates). American Association of Physical Anthropologists 81st Annual Meeting, Portland, USA, April 2012.
K.L. Balolia (2011). Conflict and Co-operation among our Earliest Ancestors. In: A.J. Andrea (Ed.) World History Encyclopedia. ABC-Clio: Santa Barbara.
K. Kovarovic, K.L. Balolia (2011). The Social Organisation of the Australopithecines. In: A.J. Andrea (Ed.) World History Encyclopedia Online, Volume 2, p. 169 - 171. ABC-Clio: Santa Barbara.
K.L. Balolia. Extended growth in the female anthropoid skull: are links between morphology and social behaviour universal among taxa? Poster presentation at the International Primatological Society Congress XXIII, Kyoto, Japan, September 2010.
Human Origins Database: Documenting cranial and postcranial specimens of major great ape collections worldwide and adding information about preservation and presence of skeletal elements to the humanoriginsdatabase.org website (2014-2016).
Lab manager at Azokh Cave: Supervised undergraduate and graduate students at a paleoanthropological field site in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia (2014).
Hominids for Schools: Editorial fact checking of Teaching Notes and Worksheets, produced by Department of Teaching of Biosciences at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main (2011/2012).
3 years’ service on Primate Society of Great Britain council: Student Representative (2009 – 2010); Full Council Member (2011).