Chet Sherwood

Chet Sherwood

Professor of Anthropology
Office: SEH (800 22nd St.) 6800
Address: Lab: SEH / (202) 994-5923
Phone: 202-994-6346

Areas of Expertise

Evolution of the primate brain; biological bases of human cognitive abilities; primatology.


Dr. Sherwood is a biological anthropologist interested in brain evolution and its behavioral correlates in primates and other mammals. He is advisor for students in the Human Paleobiology Doctoral Program and a member of the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology and the GW Institute for Neuroscience.

Current Research

Dr. Sherwood's comparative neuroanatomical research focuses on brain evolution in humans and other mammals. Previous studies have examined allometric scaling at macro- and microanatomical levels, brain asymmetry and behavioral lateralization, evolutionary changes in human language area homologues, neurochemical substrates of cognitive differences among primate species, and evolutionary specializations of neocortical development in great apes and humans.

Ongoing Projects

  • Investigations of histological differences in neocortical organization of primate species, including great apes and humans.
  • Examination of the correlation between behavioral lateralization, gross anatomical asymmetries, and histological asymmetries in chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys.
  • Exploration of the phenotypic and genotypic changes that accompany the evolution of encephalization across different mammalian groups.
  • Studies of neocortical development in humans and great apes.

Click here to read more about Dr. Sherwood's research.


To see Dr. Sherwood's CV, click here.

Ph.D. 2003, Columbia University
M.A. 1998, Columbia University
M.A. 1996, New York University
B.A. 1995, Columbia University


Selected Articles and Book Chapters

2013  Perez, S.E., M.A. Raghanti, P.R. Hof, L. Kramer, M.D. Ikonomovic, P.N. Lacor, J.M. Erwin, C.C. Sherwood, and E.J. Mufson. "Alzheimer’s disease pathology in the neocortex and hippocampus of the western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)," The Journal of Comparative Neurology 521: 4318-38.

2012  Sherwood, C.C., A. Bauernfeind, S. Bianchi, M.A. Raghanti, and P.R. Hof. "Human brain evolution writ large and small," Progress in Brain Research 195: 237-254.

2009  Sherwood, C.C., C.D. Stimpson, C. Butti, C.J. Bonar, A.L. Newton, J.M. Allman, and P.R. Hoff. "Neocortical neuron types in Xenarthra and Afrotheria: Implications for brain evolution in mammals," Brain Structure and Function 213: 301-328.

2008  Raghanti, M.A., C.D. Stimpson, J.L. Marcinkiewicz, J.M. Erwin, P.R. Hof, and C.C. Sherwood. "Differences in cortical serotonergic innervation among humans, chimpanzees, and macaque monkeys: A comparative study," Cerebral Cortex 18: 584-597.

2008  Sherwood, C.C., Subiaul, F., and T.W. Zawidski. "A natural history of the human mind: Tracing evolutionary changes in brain and cognition," Journal of Anatomy 212(4): 426-454.

2007  Sherwood, C.C., E. Wahl, J.M. Erwin, P.R. Hof, and W.D. Hopkins. "Histological asymmetries of primary motor cortex predict handedness in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)," The Journal of Comparative Neurology 503: 525-537.

2007  Sherwood, C.C., and P.R. Hof. "The evolution of neuron types and cortical histology in apes and humans. In: The Evolution of Primate Nervous Systems. In T.M. Preuss and J.H. Kaas, eds., Evolution of Nervous Systems, vol. 4. Oxford: Academic Press, pp. 355-378.

2006  Sherwood, C.C., C.D. Stimpson, M.A. Raghanti, D.E. Wildman, M. Uddin, L.I. Grossman, M. Goodman, J.C. Redmond, C.J. Bonar, J.M. Erwin, and P.R. Hof. "Evolution of increased glia-neuron ratios in the human frontal cortex," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103: 13606-13611.


2013  PNAS podcast: What makes us human? Published Jan. 17, 2013.

2012  Neurology Today podcast: How does myelination maturation affect thought and behavior? Published Oct. 21, 2012.


Awarded the Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Faculty Scholarship, 2012

Classes Taught

To see syllabi, click on the course title.

Anth 0721 (old 721): Mind, Brain, and Evolution
Anth 1001 (001): Biological Anthropology
Anth 3413 (144): Evolution of the Human Brain
Anth 6101 (201): Proseminar in Biological Anthropology
Anth 6491 (249): Topics: Evolution of the Human Brain
Homp 8301 (301): Problem-Based Learning Seminar


Last updated May 11, 2015