Liberal Studies
Liberal Studies
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Michael  P.  Masters, PhD

Assistant Professor - Anthropology, Sociology

Michael MastersCourses Offered:
  • Introduction to Anthropology (Anth 101)
  • Forensic Anthropology (Anth 315)
  • Culture Change and Global Development (Anth 369)
  • Archaeological Field School (Anth 467)
  • Introduction to Sociology (Soc 101)
  • Introduction to Sociology On-line (Soc 101-02)
Teaching and Research Interests:

I received a B.A. in Anthropology and French in 2000 from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and completed my Ph.D. at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio in 2009. I’ve taught classes in the fields/subfields of biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, archaeology, globalization, economic anthropology, sociology, and cultural diversity at The Ohio State University, Columbus State Community College, and The Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio before accepting an assistant professor position at Montana Tech.

My thesis research involved an investigation of modern human variation in orbital and overall craniofacial anatomy, as well as an examination of long-term trends of encephalization and reduced facial prognathism in hominins, and to what extent these morphological changes relate to variation in size, shape, and orientation of the eye orbit. This research also examined the relationship between the orbit and eyeball in the context of neighboring functional and structural components of the skull, and how evolutionary changes in association with ontogenetic, epigenetic, and biocultural factors may relate to the development of juvenile-onset myopia in modern human populations.  Previous research also includes a study of health and socioeconomic status by way of anthropometric indicators from 19th and 20th century prison inmates in Ohio, and assisting in the investigation of demographic structure and foraging patterns of Howler Monkeys, Capuchins, and Spider monkeys at the Curu Wildlife Reserve in Costa Rica.
I have participated in archaeological excavations at a 3.5 million-year-old site in Makapansgat cave, South Africa, an Upper and Middle Paleolithic site named Chez-Pinaud à Jonzac in Southern France, and worked at a lithic reduction site and habitation site associated with the Middle-Woodland Adena people of the mid-Ohio valley.  I am now co-directing an archaeological field school involving the excavation of a 4,000 year old Bison Kill and habitation site in Southwest Montana.

My current research centers on investigating human ocular, orbital, midfacial, and neurocranial morphology, and how competition among these neighboring craniofacial features, resulting from long-term trends of encephalization and reduced facial prognathism throughout hominin evolution, may act to constrain the eye and surrounding ocular tissues during ontogeny.  This research uses MRIs and associated clinical data including age, sex, ancestry, uncorrected visual acuity scores for each eye, as well as other demographic, physical, and cognitive variables to investigate the widespread sex and population-specific incidence of juvenile-onset myopia in humans.