Rebecca Rogers Ackermann
Rebecca Ackermann is an Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology at UCT, and a recipient of the UCT Distinguished Teacher Award. She received a Masters degree in forensic anthropology (University of Arizona) and a PhD in physical anthropology (Washington University in St. Louis), and was a post-doctoral associate in anatomy (Wash U.) in the USA before taking up her post at UCT in 2000.
Rebecca Ackermann and her research group (housed in the Morphometrics Laboratory) are focussed on understanding how adaptive (selection) and non-adaptive (e.g drift, gene flow) evolutionary processes shape the phenotype in mammals, with an ultimate goal of providing a foundation for detecting these processes in the fossil record of primate and especially human evolution. This research focuses on the skeleton, but the lab also conducts research into other aspects of the phenotype (e.g. hair, hormones), in the context of genetic variation, in order to better extrapolate from variation in the fossil record to the broader biology of our ancestors. Currently a series of projects fall under this broad umbrella. They include controlled laboratory experiments designed to examine the phenotypic/hormonal/genetic effects of hybridization and the interaction of hybridization, drift and selection in mouse models; field studies of phenotypic and genetic variation in primates across hybrid zones (marmosets, baboons); and collection-based studies of primates (baboons, gorillas), fossil hominin (early Homo, Neanderthals) and fossil primate (Pleistocene cercopithecoid) material, which include an ancient DNA component.
2015 Eichel, K & RR Ackermann. Variation in the nasal cavity of baboon hybrids with implications for late Pleistocene hominins. J Hum Evol.
2015 LR, J Hawks, DJ de Ruiter, SE Churchill, P Schmid, SA Williams, JM DeSilva, T Kivell, M Skinner, CM Musiba, N Cameron, TW Holliday, W Harcourt-Smith, RR Ackermann, et al. Homo naledi, a new species of the genus Homo from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa. eLife. 4:e09560. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.09560
2015 Harvati K, C Bauer, FE Grine, S Benazzi, RR Ackermann, KL van Niekerk, CS Henshilwood(2015). A human deciduous molar from the Middle Stone Age (Howiesons Poort) of Klipdrift Shelter, South Africa. J Hum Evol. 82:190-196.
2015 Warren K*, S Hall, RR Ackermann. Cranio-dental evidence for between-population homogeneity in the archaeological record of southern African Iron Age peoples. Trans Royal Soc S Africa.
2015 Sithaldeen R*, RR Ackermann, JM Bishop (2015) Pleistocene aridification cycles shaped the contemporary genetic architecture of southern African baboons. PLoS ONE. 10(5): e0123207. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0123207
2014 Schroeder L*, CC Roseman, JM Cheverud, RR Ackermann. Characterizing the evolutionary path(s) to early Homo. PLoS ONE. 9(12): e114307. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114307
2014 Ackermann RR, L Schroeder*, J Rogers, JM Cheverud. Further evidence for phenotypic signatures of hybridization in descendant baboon populations. J Hum Evol. 74: 54-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2014.05.004.
2014 Irish, JD, W Black*, JC Sealy, RR Ackermann. Questions of Khoesan continuity: Dental affinities among the indigenous Holocene peoples of South Africa. Am J Phys Anth. 155(1): 33-44. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22526.
2014 Fuzessy LF, IO Silva, J Malukiewicz, FFR Silva, MC Ponzio, V Boere, RR Ackermann. Morphological variation in wild marmosets (Callithrix penicillata and C. geoffroyi) and their hybrids. Evolutionary Biology. 41(3): 480-493. DOI: 10.1007/s11692-014-9284-5.
2014 Warren K*, S Hall, RR Ackermann. Cranio-dental continuity and change between Iron Age peoples and their descendants. South African Journal of Science. 110(7/8), Art. #2013-1275, 11 pp. DOI: 10.1590/sajs.2014/20130275.
2013 de Ruiter DJ, TJ DeWitt, KB Carlson, JK Brophy, L Schroeder*, RR Ackermann, SE Churchill, LR Berger. Mandibular remains support taxonomic validity of Australopithecus sediba. Science 340. DOI: 10.1126/science.1232997.
2012 Govender R*, A Chinsamy, RR Ackermann. An anatomical and landmark morphometric analysis of the phocid seals from Langebaanweg, South Africa. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Africa. 67(3):135-149.
2011 Wood, B.A., Henry, A., Baker, J., Claxton, A., Mikels, E., Bishop, L., Goodrum, M., Stone, A., Tyron, C., Ackermann, RR., et al. (eds). Blackwell Encyclopedia of Human Evolution. New York: Blackwell, pp. 1264.
2010 Ackermann RR. Phenotypic traits of primate hybrids: recognizing admixture in the fossil record. Evolutionary Anthropology. 19: 258-270.
2010 Ackermann RR, JS Brink, S Vrahimis, B de Klerk. Hybrid wildebeest (Artiodactyla: Bovidae) provide further evidence for shared signatures of admixture in mammalian crania. South African Journal of Science. 106(11/12), Art. #423: 5 pp. DOI:10.4102/sajs.v106i11/12.423
Ackermann, RR, ed. (2003) A Comparative Primate Dissection Guide, Version 1.0.