Hark! There’s been quite a long silence here, as I’ve been busy preparing manuscripts related to this post and this post. Also teaching; my new Intro to Biological Anthropology students are writing posts over at nazarbioanthro.blogspot.com – check them out!
First, my buddy and advisor Milford Wolpoff has helped compile an open online dental dataset. This consists of length and breadth measurements for teeth from humans, fossil humans and non-human apes. And promises of more to come! You can read about the data, and online data-sharing more generally, in this paper at the Paleoanthropology Society website.
Secondably, Herman Pontzer has put together a website, Australopithecus, with lots of great information about human evolution for teachers and students, as well as a datamine of links and metrics and pictures of fossil hominins and apes. Pretty boss.
Third, announced in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology just yesterday is a database of cranial non-metric data, pioneered by Nancy Ossenberg. This is a very comprehensive dataset, with info about up to 84 non-metric traits on over 8,000 individual crania from all over the world. Ossenberg also links to the WW Howells craniometric dataset (thousands of cranial measurements of individuals all over dodge); I’m not sure if/how much Ossenberg’s and Howells’ datsets overlap, but the covariance of size, shape and non-metric traits could be a very interesting investigation (if it hasn’t been done already; sorry for my ignorance!).
Finally, if you’re looking to analyze these or any other tantalizing data, you’ll want to download and learn to use R. This free statistical computing program will let you analyze pretty much anything with either traditional statistics, or you can be a badass and make up your own custom tests. I’ve been blabbing incessantly about how awesome this program is since at least 2009, but here’s the link just in case. R takes some time to figure out how to use, but its help files are all online, and you can probably find out how to do anything else your dreams can concoct on the Internets.
Now you are ready to take on the world. Go forth!