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Indiana University Bloomington
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Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences
One Discipline, Four Fields

Tom Schoenemann


Associate Professor, Anthropology Department
Research Scientist, The Stone Age Institute
Director, Human Brain Evolution Laboratory
Co-Director, Open Research Scan Archive at Penn
Faculty Member, Cognitive Science



(812) 855-8800 | Email | Office Hours

  • Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley (1997)
  • M.A. in Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley (1993)
  • B.A. in Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley (1986)

Geographical Areas of Specialization: The World

Topical Interests: Coevolution of brain and behavior, evolution of language, functional morphology of the brain, human variation, modeling evolutionary hypotheses, mathematical image analysis


Tom Schoenemann’s research focus is on the evolution of the brain, along with the presumed coevolution of cognitive abilities responsible for these changes. He has done work on the functional morphology of brain anatomy from an evolutionary perspective, assessed differences in brain anatomy between humans and other primates, and explored models of cognitive evolution, particularly the evolution of language. He has applied mathematical image analysis tools - derived originally for medical research - to questions of the evolution of brain and other aspect of morphology. For many years now he has co-directed the Open Research Scan Archive project at Penn, which has obtained and made freely available over 2500 high-resolution CT scans of osteological specimens for research by scholars worldwide. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1997, and has worked at the Center for Functional Imaging at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and James Madison University, before coming to Indiana University.

Selected Publications

Schoenemann, P. Thomas, 2009, “Evolution of Brain and Language,” Language Learning, v. 59(Suppl. 1):162–186 [full text] [podcast of associated lecture]

Beckner, Clay, Richard Blythe, Joan Bybee, Morten H. Christiansen, William Croft, Nick C. Ellis, John Holland, Jinyun Ke, Diane Larsen-Freeman, Tom Schoenemann, 2009, “Language Is a Complex Adaptive System: Position Paper,” Language Learning, v. 59(Suppl. 1):1-26 [full text]

Schoenemann, P. Thomas
, 2009, “Brain evolution relevant to language” In: Minett, James W. & Wang, William S-Y., eds. Language, Evolution, and the Brain, Hong Kong: City University of Hong Kong Press, pp. 191-223 [full text]

Schoenemann, P.T., J. Monge, B.B. Avants, J.C. Gee, 2009 “An atlas of modern human cranial morphology constructed via non-rigid deformation analysis of high-resolution CT images.” (abstract of poster presented) American Journal of Physical Anthropology, v. 138, Supplement 48:231 [abstract] [poster]

Schoenemann, P. T., R. L. Holloway, B. B. Avants, J. C. Gee, 2008, “Endocast asymmetry in pongids assessed via non-rigid deformation analysis of high-resolution CT images.” (abstract of poster presented) American Journal of Physical Anthropology, v. 135, Supplement 46:187-188 [abstract][poster]

Schoenemann, P. Thomas, Janet Monge, L. Daniel Glotzer, Michael Campana, 2008, “The open research CT scan archive,” British Institute of Radiology Newsletter, Spring Issue:13-15 [full text]