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The King of Dinosaurs

Physical Anthropology

Unlocking the mysteries of human ancestors

Physical anthropology is a branch of biological sciences dealing with the study of human beings and their living and fossil relatives from evolutionary, adaptive, and variability perspectives. Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Curator and Head of the Physical Anthropology department, conducts research on the paleobiology and paleoecology of the earliest human ancestors based on fossils and their geological context. 

Dr. Haile-Selassie conducts annual fieldwork research at the Woranso-Mille study area in the Afar region of Ethiopia, and summer laboratory research at the paleoanthropology laboratory of the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. The field and laboratory research involves many scientists from around the world across various subdisciplines of geology and paleontology. Both graduate and undergraduate students from Case Western Reserve University and other institutions in Ethiopia and the United States also participate in the field and laboratory research.

The departmental collections are dominated by the Hamann-Todd Human Skeletal Collection, the largest of its kind in the world. It consists of 3,100 modern human and more than 900 non-human primate skeletons. Each human skeleton is accompanied by a wealth of information including records of height, weight, age at death, gender, race, cause of death and more than 60 measurements taken on the cadavers.

Also included in this remarkable collection is the largest assemblage of lowland gorilla skeletons in the world and the largest collection of common chimpanzees in the western hemisphere.

The Department of Physical Anthropology offers programs giving an opportunity for a more in-depth look at the discipline. Undergraduate students interested in a paid summer internship in this discipline are encouraged to investigate the Kirtlandia Research Internship Program.

If you are a student or professional who would like to conduct research using the Hamann-Todd collection, please visit our Research Request page.

Curator of Physical Anthropology: Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie

If you would like to contact the Physical Anthropology department you may contact
Dr. Haile-Selassie at or (216) 231-4600, ext. 3242
or Lyman Jellema, Collections Manager, at or (216) 231-4600, ext. 3276.

To learn more about Dr. Haile-Selassie's research, visit