Colin N. Shaw  
Visiting Research Associate
Cambridge Biotomography Centre
Research Interests
My research focuses on reconstructing prehistoric activity patterns by determining how morphology reflects adaptation. I employ a unique approach that utilizes 1. traditional in-vitro analyses of skeletal and fossil hominin remains, 2. non-traditional in-vivo analyses that assesses skeletal and soft tissue variation in living humans and, 3. human physiological experimentation aimed at defining the effect of prehistoric activity patterns on morphology. This research requires the application of advanced analytical techniques, including high-resolution 3D imaging and experimental archaeology. My PhD, undertaken at the University of Cambridge, focused on the correspondence between athletic activity patterns and skeletal variation in humans. Previous post-doctoral research at The Department of Anthropology and The Center for Quantitative Imaging, The Pennsylvania State University, assessed both cortical and trabecular bone morphology in humans and non-human primates, and questioned how morphology is influenced by general activity patterns.
Selected Publications
Ryan, T.M. & Shaw, C.N. (2015) Gracility of the modern Homo sapiens skeleton is the result of decreased biomechanical loading. PNAS 112 (2) 372-377.  
Slizewski A, Schönau E, Shaw CN, Harvati K. Muscle Area Estimation from Cortical Bone. Anatomical Record. In Press.  
Gosman JH, Hubbell ZR, Shaw CN, Ryan TM. (2013) Development of cortical bone geometry in the human femoral and tibial diaphysis. Anatomical Record. 296:5, 774-787.  
Ryan TM & Shaw CN. (2013) Scaling of trabecular microstructure in the primate humerus and femur. Proceedings of the Royal Society: B. 280:1758, 1-9.  
Stock, J.T., Shirley, M.K., Sarringhaus, L.A., Davies, T.G., Shaw, C.N. (2013) Skeletal evidence for variable patterns of handedness in chimpanzees, human hunter-gatherers, and recent British populations. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1288:86-99. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12067 pdf
Shaw, C.N., Stock, J.T. (2013) Extreme mobility in the Late Pleistocene? Comparing limb biomechanics among fossil Homo, varsity athletes and Holocene foragers. Journal of Human Evolution. (EarlyView)1-8. pdf
Macintosh, A.A., Davies, T., Ryan, T.M., Shaw, C.N., Stock, J.T. (2013) Periosteal vs. true cross-sectional geometry: A comparison along humeral, femoral, and tibial diaphyses.American Journal of Physical Anthropology 150(3)442-452. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22218 pdf
Davies T, Shaw CN, Stock JT. (2012) A test of a new method and software for the rapid estimation of cross-sectional geometric properties of long bone diaphyses from 3D laser surface scans. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. DOI 10.1007/s12520-012-0101-8. 2012.  
Shaw, C.N., Hofmann, C.L., Petraglia, M.D., Stock, J.T., Gottschall, J.S. (2012) Neandertal humeri may reflect adaptation to scraping tasks, but not spear thrusting.PLoS One 7(7): e40349. pdf
Ryan TM & Shaw CN. (2012) Unique suites of trabecular bone features characterise locomotor behaviour in human and non-human anthropoid primates. Public Library of Science One. 7(7): e41037. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041037.  
Shaw CN & Ryan TM.(2012) Does skeletal anatomy reflect adaptation to locomotor patterns?: Cortical and trabecular architecture in human and non-human Anthropoids?” American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 147:187–200. pdf
Marchi D & Shaw CN. 2011 Does variation in fibular robusticity and shape reflect locomotor patterns in human athletes? Journal of Human Evolution.61:609-616. pdf
Shaw CN. “Is ‘Hand Preference’ Coded in the Hominin Skeleton?”; An in-vivo study of bilateral morphological variation. Journal of Human Evolution. 61:480-487, 2011.  
Shaw, CN & Stock, JT. The Influence of Body Proportions on Femoral and Tibial Midshaft Shape in Hunter-Gatherers. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 144, 1:22-29, 2011. pdf
Shaw, CN. ”Putting flesh back onto the bones”: Can we predict soft tissue properties from skeletal and fossil remains? Journal of Human Evolution 59: 484-492, 2010. pdf
Laskey, MA, de Bono, S, Zhu, D, Shaw, CN, Laskey, PJ, Chatfield, M, Davies, A, Moore, S, Prentice, A. Evidence for enhanced characterization of cortical bone using novel pQCT shape software. Journal of Clinical Densitometry, 13, 3:247-255, 2010.  
Shaw, CN & Stock, JT. Intensity, Repetitiveness, and Directionality of Habitual Adolescent Mobility Patterns Influence the Tibial Diaphysis Morphology of Athletes. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 140:149-159. 2009. pdf
Shaw, CN & Stock, JT. Habitual throwing and swimming correspond with upper limb diaphyseal strength and shape in modern human athletes. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 140:160-172. 2009. pdf
Stock JT & Shaw CN. “Which Measures of Skeletal Robusticity are Robust?” A Comparison of Methods Quantifying Structural Hypertrophy in Long Bone Diaphyses. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 134; 412-423, 2007.
DeLorey DS, Shaw CN. Shoemaker JK, Kowalchuk JM, Paterson DH. Effect of hypoxia on pulmonary O2 uptake, leg blood flow and muscle deoxygenation during single-leg kneeextension exercise. Experimental Physiology, 89 (3): 293-302. May 2004.
Complete list of publications