The purchase of the S-Neox helped create a center in Oklahoma addressing questions in human evolution, archaeology, evolutionary ecology, mechanical engineering, physics and chemistry. Research in the center illuminates, by nature, different aspects of how we analyze use wear on different materials, man made or natural, for research and for industrial application. This instrument supports research in surface characterization, wear and/or tribology of a broad range of materials such as tooth enamel, stone tools, ceramics, microstructural optical devices and coatings. This center is creating a broadly collaborative environment for researchers from a wide range of disciplines to discuss surface wear and analysis, which will lead to new collaborations and scientific insights. By serving as a center for researchers from different disciplines, it draws upon a theoretical and technical base from a wide circle of collaborators, and fosters a more robust research agendas, subsequently increasing the research breadth of the instrument.
We currently have several projects in the works. Our current research projects include the reconstruction of paleoenvironments during the evolution of the genus Homo in Africa and western Asia, the extinction of the Neanderthals in the Southern Levant and the emergence of modern humans.
Our methodological approach includes the study of dental topography, mesowear and dental microwear texture analysis (DMTA) that applies 3D optical profiling combined with scale-sensitive fractal analysis and geographic information systems software.