Working with my colleague Jerry DeSilva at Dartmouth College, we found that the famous australopithecine Lucy probably had flat feet.

As a practicing anatomist, I have the privilege of overseeing hundreds of students as they dissect scores of cadavers every year.  There is much work to do in developing our understanding of how specific soft tissue anatomical structures vary and evolve.  Early scientific anatomists often documented the variations they observed.  But their work predated dissemination of Darwin’s theory, and they were often unable to make sense of these variations and place them in a broader context.  Today, anatomists can use modern evolutionary theory to interpret anatomical variation and hypothesize about evolutionary histories – even though these structures leave no traces in the fossil record.

Working with students, we hypothesize that the palmaris longus muscle is undergoing non-adaptive evolution in humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas.

Also working with students and colleague John Gassler, we hypothesize that Gantzer’s muscle, an accessory flexor pollicis longus, is an evolutionarily recent and adaptive structure not yet at fixation in humans.

I am always interested in collaborating with colleagues at other institutions.  Please feel free to email me: zachary dot throckmorton at lmunet dot edu.

My first publication was in the open access journal PLoS ONE.  I am committed to publishing in open access outlets whenever possible.  Having been at small, medium, and large universities, and having collaborated with other scientists around the globe, I believe that as much science as possible should be available freely via the internet to as many people as are interested!

Conducting anatomical variation research in LMU-DCOM's cadaver/donor laboratory.
Conducting anatomical variation research in LMU-DCOM’s donated body laboratory.