Phylogenies for shape data
The use of morphological data to try to infer phylogenetic relationships between objects has a rich history, especially in physical anthropology. A traditional data object there might be a multivariate collection of summaries of the shape of a bone. It is hypothesized that these objects are related via a tree, which might have an explicit interpretation in terms of the evolution of species, if each object is a corresponding bone from a different species. In this research members of the School are trying to use richer summaries of the objects (points on curves between landmarks on their surface or meshes of points on those surfaces) and modelling these objects and their phylogenetic relations using a flexible Gaussian Process framework. One example of this uses curve data along features of the human nose to explore phylogenetic relationships between distinct ethnic groups.