Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 August 2009
Though I had always been interested in the use of mathematical methods of one kind or another, in the earlier days these interests were almost always for data analysis. The models of function with which we worked in the early days were simplistic in the extreme, scarcely deserving of the term “model” – in fact they were little more than functional anatomical inferences. At later stages I used models for assessing mechanical efficiency, but these mainly employed what is now a quite old-fashioned technique – photoelastic analysis – and they were extremely limited – e.g., to two dimensions only, and only to isotropic situations. Only much more recently, in collaboration with others (e.g., O'Higgins), have I come to use better modeling methods (such as finite elements).
However, in a completely surprising way, through a stimulus applied by Sydney Brenner and his invitation to present a model of mtDNA evolution (which I did not do) at a workshop hosted by the International Institute for Advanced Studies in Kyoto, I have come to be involved in true evolutionary modeling (mimicking species evolution and individual lineages) with Dr. Ken Wessen. Though not included as a section in this book, Dr. Wessen's work (in which I have been pleased to share) is reported in my own final chapter.
At this point, however, it is an especial pleasure to recognize, through the following sections, kinds of modeling that I scarcely envisaged in those earlier days. Thus the following chapters on modeling the origins and mechanics of bipedalism, and the mechanics of mastication, are extremely relevant.