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 as well as 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. As a broadly collaborative environment, the Surface Metrology and Tribology Lab acts as a hub for multidisciplinary discussion and research on surface wear and analysis, drawing upon a wide technical and theoretical basis as a means of fostering more robust research agendas and subsequently increasing the research breadth of the instrument.
The Surface Metrology and Tribology Lab currently has several projects in the works within as well as outside of the Department of Anthropology. Current anthropological 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.