Research interests: Evolutionary biology, human paleontology, life history, dental anthropology
I am interested in how humans differ from other mammals in life cycle and life span, why we differ and whether we can reconstruct the evolutionary history of our life cycle from the fossil record. Just as we can study human growth from radiographs of teeth and bones, fossils of individuals who died as children preserve actual growth records of extinct species. By comparing growth and development in the fossil record with our broad knowledge of the maturation of living species, we gain information that addresses some fundamental questions about human evolution. For example, we now have evidence that the human life cycle took shape millions of years later than we once thought. It now appears that the fossil record contains a wealth of information on the evolution of mammalian life cycles.
2009 Franzen, J. L., P. D. Gingerich, J. Habersetzer, J. H. Hurum, W. v. Koenigswald and B. H. Smith. Complete primate skeleton from the Middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: Morphology and paleobiology. PLoS ONE 4(5): e5723, pp. 1–27. doi:10.1371. OPEN ACCESS
2009 Dean, M. C. and B. H. Smith. Growth and development of the Nariokotome youth, KNM-WT 15000. In The First Humans: Origin of the Genus Homo, ed. by F. E. Grine, J. G. Fleagle and R. F. Leakey, pp. 101–20. New York: Springer.
2010 Smith, T. M., B. H. Smith, D. J., Reid, H. Siedel, L.Vigilant, J.-J. Hublin and C. Boesch. Dental development of the Taï forest chimpanzees revisited. Journal of Human Evolution 58:363–73. OPEN ACCESS
2010 Liversidge, H. M., B. H. Smith and M. Maber. Bias and accuracy of age estimation using developing teeth in 946 children. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 143:545–54.
2011 Smith B. H., and C. Boesch. (2010) Mortality and magnitude of the “wild effect” in chimpanzee tooth emergence. Journal of Human Evolution 60(1):34–46.