Research

My research program is interdisciplinary, drawing on my background in anthropology as well as my more recent training in paleontology, ecology, and evolution. Under this broad umbrella, I take a multi-level approach to investigating mammalian evolution, focusing on the hard tissues of the skeleton and teeth. My research also seeks to better understand the genetic architecture of morphological patterning, the evolution of adaptive traits, and species variation in the fossil record.

I am currently involved in several multi-faceted research projects with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and at other institutions across the United States, and in South Africa.

Primate evolution:
One of these major projects is a large-scale investigation of extant and fossil primate craniodental variation, including specimens at the Evolutionary Studies Institute at University of the Witwatersrand, the Ditsong Museum of Natural History in Pretoria, South Africa, the Ethiopian National Museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Diet and health of Indigenous Americans:
Building off of my archaeological training at the Qwu?gwes Archaeological Site and Fish Trap (45TN240) in Washington State, a collaboration with the Squaxin Island Tribe, I am also currently involved in a long-running research project investigating the health and diet of Indigenous Americans, and the peopling of the Americas. This project combines archaeological and biological collections with evolutionary biology, genetics, and historical and ethnographic research. We are just beginning to publish our results from this project.

Dental eruption sequence:
My dissertation work assessed the sequence of postcanine tooth eruption in mammals, half of which is published as “The Evolution of Dental Eruption Sequence in Artiodactyls” in the Journal of Mammalian Evolution. The second half, focused on primates, is currently in preparation.

Body size:
Most recently, I have begun several projects looking at the effects of body size on skeletal and dental variation. These projects sample humans and non-human primates, and I plan to further expand this to other mammals including caniformes and artiodactyls.