Michael MastersProfessor of Anthropology
Main Hall Room 108B
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Michael Masters' website


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 biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, archaeology, economic anthropology and globalization, 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. 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 Australopithecus africanus site in Makapansgat cave, South Africa; an Upper & Middle Paleolithic Neanderthal site in Southern France, and have directed archaeological field schools at prehistoric bison kill, butcher and habitation sites in Southwest Montana.

Research Interests

My research centers on investigating human ocular, orbital, midfacial, cerebral and neurocranial morphology, and how competition among these features may act to constrain the eye and surrounding ocular tissues during ontogeny, as it relates to the disparate incidence & severity of astigmatism and juvenile-onset myopia. This interdisciplinary research uses MRIs & associated clinical data from a large sample of humans, and is carried out using multiple imaging, statistical and geometric morphometric tools.

Further research interests center on investigating hominin biocultural evolution, astrobiology, astronomy and the physics of time as they relate to the UFO phenomenon. My new book, Identified Flying Objects: A Multidisciplinary Scientific Approach to the UFO Phenomenon, cautiously examines the premise that “UFOs” and “Aliens” may simply be our distant human descendants, using the anthropological tool of time travel to visit and study us, as members of their own hominin evolutionary past. This text challenges readers to consider new possibilities while cultivating conversations about our ever-evolving understanding of time and time travel.

Selected Honors & Awards

  • 2020 – Montana Tech Faculty Merit Award
  • 2016 – Montana Tech Faculty Merit Award
  • 2014 – Rose and Anna Busch Faculty Achievement Award
  • 2013 – Montana Tech Faculty Merit Award
Discussed: What If Aliens Are Future Humans?
with Mike Masters | Episode 5

Career In Brief

  • Montana Tech: Professor (2018 – present)
  • Montana Tech: Associate Professor (2013 – 2018)
  • Montana Tech: Assistant Professor (2009 – 2013)
  • Ohio State University: Lecturer in Department of Anthropology (2008-2009)
  • Ohio State University: Instructor in Department of Anthropology (2002-2008)
  • Columbus State CC: Instructor in School of Social & Behavioral Sciences (2005-2009)
  • Ohio Dominican University: Instructor in Department of Sociology & Anthropology (2005-2006)
  • Ohio State University: G.R.A. in School of Journalism and Communications (2004-2005)
  • Ohio State University: T.A. in School of Journalism and Communications (2002-2004)
  • Ohio University: Research Assistant in Department of Anthropology (2000-2001)

Courses Taught

  • Anthropology 467 - Field School in Archaeology
  • Anthropology 329 - Culture Change and Global Development
  • Anthropology 315 - Forensic Anthropology
  • Anthropology 122 - Race and Minorities - On-line
  • Anthropology 101 - Introduction to Anthropology
  • Anthropology 101 - Introduction to Anthropology – On-line 
  • Sociology 101 - Introduction to Sociology
  • Sociology 101-02 - Introduction to Sociology - On-line
  • Communications 561 - Quantitative Research Methods

Selected Publications

Masters, M. (2020) Beyond Mickey Mouse: Perpetuating Cartoon Paedomorphosis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 171 (S69) 180.

Traynor, S. & Masters, M. (2020) Human orbit size and latitude. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 171 (S69) 291.

Masters, M.P. (2019) Identified Flying Objects: A Multidisciplinary Scientific Approach to the UFO Phenomenon. 978-1733634069

Pereira‐Pedro, A. S., Masters, M., & Bruner, E. (2017). Shape analysis of spatial relationships between orbito‐ocular and endocranial structures in modern humans and fossil hominids. Journal of Anatomy, 231(6), 947-960.

Masters, M., Bruner, E., Queer, S., Traynor, S., & Senjem, J. (2015). Analysis of the volumetric relationship among human ocular, orbital and fronto‐occipital cortical morphology. Journal of Anatomy, 227(4), 460-473.

Burner, E., De la Cuetara, J., Masters, M., Amano H., Ogihara N. (2014) Functional craniology and brain evolution: from paleontology to biomedicine. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 8:1662-5161

Masters, M. P., Siragusa, V., & Riesinger, J. (2014) Right-frontal left-occipital petalia torque asymmetry, laterality, and the visual system: Analysis of how side-dependent visual acuity relates to cerebral torque and laterality in humans. American Journal of Human Biology. 26(2)272.

Masters, M.P. (2012) Relative size of the eye and orbit: An evolutionary and craniofacial constraint model for examining the etiology and disparate incidence of juvenile-onset myopia in humans. Medical Hypotheses. 78(5) 649 - 656

Non-Academic Interests

Hiking, downhill and cross-country skiing, piano, mandolin, painting, building stuff, eating good food, golf, coffee, fly fishing, hunting, tennis, statistics, music festivals, vacations.