Carol V. Ward, Ph.D.


Ask a Pathologist

Teaching Awards
Gift of Body Program

Clinical Services
Laboratory Services
Anatomic Pathology Labs
Physician Opportunities
Physician Inquiries
Patient Inquiries
Contact Us

Anatomic Pathology
Cancer Biology
Integrative Anatomy
Laboratory Medicine
OneHealth Biorepository

Forensic Services
Medical Examiner

Clinical & Anatomic Pathology

Anatomical Sciences

Residents and Post-sophomore Fellows
Postdoctoral Fellows and Graduate Students
Lab Staff



Forensic Sciences Interest Group

Giving to the Department

Contact Us

Professor of Pathology & Anatomical Sciences
phone: 573-882-0858 (office); 573-882-8909 (lab)
Biographical sketch

B.Sc. Anthropology and Zoology, University of Michigan

Ph.D. Functional Anatomy and Evolution, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Academic appointments:
2011-present Director of Anatomical Sciences, University of Missouri, Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, College of Medicine

Professor, University of Missouri, Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, College of Medicine

Associate Professor, joint appointment in of Anthropology, College of Arts and Science, and Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, of Medicine

Assistant Professor, University of Missouri, joint appointment in Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Science, and Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, College of Medicine

Research Associate, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, OH

Research Associate, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya


  • ape and human evolution
  • locomotion
  • functional morphology
  • vertebral anatomy
  • mechanics

Research description
Dr. Ward is interested in the evolution of humans and our closest relatives, apes and monkeys. Her research focuses on fossils from East and South Africa, primarily Kenya. She takes a mechanical approach to the interpretation of the postcranial skeleton, and uses these principles to reconstruct the behavior of extinct animals. Her overall research goal is to understand human origins.

Dr. Ward's current areas of research involve fieldwork in Kenya searching for Pliocene fossil hominins. She is co-director of the West Turkana Paleontology Project through the National Museums of Kenya with Drs. Fredrick Kyalo Manthi and J. Michael Plavcan, and is currently working at Kanapoi, Kenya.  She is also studying a great radiation of apes that lived in the early Miocene (about 18 million years ago). She is studying the evolution of their postcranial body plan, particularly the torso, to reconstruct their locomotor behaviors and the evolutionary history of the apes. She is working on a new fossil pelvis of the last Miocene ape Rudapithecus hungaricus, and applying novel 3D CAD non-landmark based quantitative analyses to compare its form with those of modern primates using 3D laser surface scan data in collaboration with Drs. David Begun, Laszlo Kordos and Mike Plavcan. Ward is preparing a monograph for Oxford University Press on the postcranial fossils of early hominids dated from 2.0-1.5 Ma from Koobi Fora, Kenya, and using the 3D laser scan data to study their morphology, variation and evolution. Dr. Ward is currently collaborating with orthopedic surgeons and engineers to use 3D image analysis and finite element modeling to improve orthopedic instrumentation.

Representative Publications

  • 2012 Ward CV, WH Kimbel, DC Johanson & Y Rak. New postcranial fossils attributed to Australopithecus afarensis from Hadar, Ethiopia. Journal of Human Evolution 63: 1-51.
  • 2012 Manthi FK, JM Plavcan & CV Ward. New hominin fossils from Kanapoi, Kenya, and the mosaic nature of canine evolution in hominins. South African Journal of Science 108: 1-9
  • 2011 Ward CV, WH Kimbel & DC Johanson. Complete fourth metatarsal from Hadar, Ethiopia, and arches in the foot of Australopithecus afarensis. Science 331: 750-753.
  • 2010 Arnone JC, Ward CV , GJ Della Rocca, BD Crist, & AS El-Gizawy. Simulation-based Design of Orthopedic Trauma Implants. Proceedings of the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress & Exposition, Nov.12-18, 2010,Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (in press).
  • 2010 Ward CV, JM Plavcan & FK Manthi. Anterior dental evolution in the Australopithecus anamensis-afarensis lineage. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 365: 3333-3344.
  • 2009 Plavcan JM, Ward CV & FL Paulus. Canine tooth crown size in Australopithecus anamensis. Journal of Human Evolution 57:2-10.

Contact Us | Maps and Directions |

Department of Pathology & Anatomical Sciences | School of Medicine | University of Missouri

copyright © The Curators of the University of Missouri | an equal opportunity/ADA institution