Sizing up Hominids: Beyond Pangloss and Spandrels and into a New Perspective for Brain and Body Size Change

Des Moines, IA US
November 4, 2011

There is no cost to attend and registration is not required.


Target Audience

Des Moines University faculty, staff, and students.


  1. Reflect upon the influence of narrative and theory on our interpretation of the biology and behavior of fossil species.
  2. Define some of the relevant information concerning brain and body size that can be extracted from a comparative anatomical approach.



Muhammad Spocter, PhD 
Assistant Professor, Anatomy, Des Moines University

I am a biological anthropologist with a special interest in the comparative neuroanatomy of primates and reconstructing the evolutionary history of our species. Using a histological framework in conjunction with phylogenetically informed procedures, I aim at investigating the neuroanatomical features underlying the behavioral repertoire of large brained, social animals. My research has focused on issues relating to brain asymmetry and correlates with handedness, evolutionary changes in the homologues of human language areas, exploring scaling relationships at different levels of organization (e.g. at the level of receptors, the synapse, neuron, or cortical area) and the effects of restructuring at these levels on cortical output, and characterizing the phenotypic changes that accompanied the evolution of large brains in other taxa. My goals are to continue to contribute to our understanding of the primate brain and to explore the unique insights gained through the study of cognition and comparative neuroanatomy in analogue groups such as Canids and Suids. 

Dr. Spocter indicated no relevant financial relationships to disclose relevant to the content of this CME activity.

Continuing Education Credit

AOA:  Des Moines University and the AOA Council on Continuing Medical Education approve this program for a maximum of 1.0 hour of AOA Category 2-A CME credits.
Other:  Attendees will receive 1.0 hour of continuing education contact hours.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 AOA Category 2­A
  • 1.00 CE Contact Hour(s)
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
11/04/2011 - 12:00pm CDT
Event ends: 
11/04/2011 - 1:00pm CDT
Des Moines University
3200 Grand Avenue
SEC #115
Des Moines, IA 50312
United States

Available Credit

  • 1.00 AOA Category 2­A
  • 1.00 CE Contact Hour(s)


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