Chatham University

Biology Faculty and Staff

Erin Marie Williams-Hatala Ph.D

Erin Marie Williams-Hatala
Assistant Professor of Biology
Hometown : Ann Arbor, MI
Joined Chatham : 2013

Academic Areas of Interest

The evolution of the human and non-human primate upper limb, functional anatomy, biomechanics, and Paleolithic tool production and use

Personal Areas of Interest

running, baking, gardening, community initiatives and volunteering, travel, renovating our old home


I was born in Ann Arbor, MI and lived there through high school. I moved to Grinnell, IA to attend Grinnell College where I studied Anthropology and Archaeology. In 2005 I joined the Hominid Paleobiology Doctoral Program in The George Washington University’s Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology, in Washington, DC. I received a Masters in Anthropology in 2007, a MPhil in Hominid Paleobiology in 2009, and a PhD in the same discipline in 2011. My dissertation and research as a NSF and L’Oreal USA for Women in Science postdoctoral fellow focused on human functional anatomy, the influence of biomechanical regiments on the evolution of human upper limb anatomy, and the biomechanics of making and using Paleolithic tools. I am very excited about beginning a new phase of research with a group of international collaborators, investigating the anatomy, functional anatomy, and biomechanics of (mainly tool-using) non-human primates. I enjoy teaching and learning about new methods and aim to conduct heavily inter-disciplinary research, utilizing theories and methods from a diverse range of fields including anatomy, paleontology, archaeology, and materials science. After ten years at a large university I am excited to return to a small liberal-arts environment at Chatham where I’m looking forward to introducing students to the exciting world of human gross anatomy.





  • 2013-present Full member, Sigma Xi, The George Washington University Chapter
  • 2011-present Member, Paleoanthropology Society
  • 2010-present Member, Physical Anthropology Women’s Mentoring Network
  • 2010-present Member, The George Washington University chapter of the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honors Society
  • 2009-present Member, American Association of Physical Anthropologists


  • 2014 Williams, EM and Richmond, BG. “Did the biomechanics of making and using Paleolithic stone tools influence the origin of the derived human thumb?” ESM, Cambridge, MA.
  • 2014 Roach, NT; Williams, EM; Richmond, BG. “Force production during stone tool knapping,” Paleoanthropology Society, Alberta, CA.
  • 2014 Williams, EM; Chai, H.; Richmond, BG. “The effects of stone toughness on manual force distribution during stone tool production,” American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Alberta, CA.
  • 2013 Williams, EM. “The selective impact of early hominid stone tool behaviors on the modern human hand and wrist.” E. F. Shaw Wilgis Lectureship in Hand Surgery, Continuing Medical Education, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, The Curtis National Hand Center, Baltimore, MD.
  • 2013 Williams, EM; Gordon, AD; VR, Powell; Brooks, AS; Richmond, BG. “Acheulean and Oldowan tool manufacture upper limb strategies,” Paleoanthropology Society, 2013
  • 2012 Williams, EM and Richmond, BG. “Manual pressure distribution during stone tool use,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 147: Supplement 54:303.
  • 2011 Richmond, BG and Williams, EM. “The evolution of the upper limb after Australopithecus: Integrating paleontology and experimental functional morphology.” Canadian Association for Physical Anthropologists, Montreal, Quebec.
  • 2011 Williams, EM; Gordon, AD; Richmond, BG. "Achieving efficiency and accuracy during Oldowan stone tool production," (invited participant). American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 144: Supplement 52:312.
  • 2010 Williams, EM; Richmond, BG. “Hand pressure during Oldowan stone tool production.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Supplement 50:243
  • 2010 Zipkin, AM; Williams, EM; Brooks, AS; Richmond, BG. “Digging stick use and hand biomechanics.” Paleoanthropology 2010:A39.
  • 2009 Williams, EM; Gordon, AD; Richmond, BG. “Wrist and upper limb kinematics of amateur knappers during stone tool production.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Supplement 48:272.
  • 2008 Williams, EMS; Gordon, AD; Richmond, BG. “Upper limb motion during stone tool production.” Paleoanthropology 2008:A35.
  • 2007 Williams, EM. “An accurate and precise method for quantifying lithic edge angles.” Society for American Archaeologists, Austin, TX.