Faculty Interests

The NYCEP faculty have a wide range of interests relating to topics in evolutionary primatology. The following list offers examples of potential dissertation topics each faculty member would be pleased to supervise as well as topics of recently completed and in progress dissertations.


Susan Antón

Early evolution of genus Homo

Developmental plasticity and adult morphology


  • Maja Seselj  2011  Human Growth Evolving: integrating dental and sketal growth proxies to understand ontogeny in Pleistocene Homo
  • Connie Fellmann  2011  Ontogenetic Scaling of Anatomical Mechanical Advantage in the Fore- and Hind Limb Musculature of Catarrhines: Implications for the Juvenile Risk Aversion Hypothesis.
  • Ron Smith  2007 (Rutgers) An individual-based competitive advantage model of cooperation in Pleistocene Europe.
  • Myra Laird  (In Progress) Craniofacial evolution, masticatory mechanics, and cooking in Homo
  • Emily Middleton (In Progress) Thoracic and pelvic integration in the evolution of bipedalism
  • Chris Rainwater  (In Progress) Body size evolution in genus Homo

Shara Bailey

Human or other primate dental variation:  morphological, morphometric (standard or 3D GM), especially using the Swindler collection

Dental and cranial integration in later Homo


  • Alejandra Ortiz  (in progress)  External and internal Dental morphology of the Homo clade (tentative)

Terry Harrison

Pliocene hominins from East Africa

Fossil catarrhines from the Miocene of East Africa

Systematics and paleobiology of fossil hominoids from Eurasia

Comparative anatomy and functional morphology of primates

Vertebrate paleontology and Plio-Pleistocene faunas of Africa


  • Steven Worthington 2012 New approaches to Late Miocene hominoid systematics: ranking morphological characters by phylogenetic signal
  • Thomas Rein  2011  Locomotor Function and Phylogeny: Implications for Interpreting the Hominoid Fossil Record
  • Ashley Bales (in progress) The phylogenetic relationships of Proconsul

Scott Williams

Evolvability of primate limb proportions, emphasizing hominoids and providing a framework for the interpretation of fossil hominins

Life history evolution with implications for the evolution of encephalization and longevity

Vertebral column evolution in hominoids, including extinct hominins


  • Cody Prang  (In Progress)  Foot morphology in extant great apes and the evolution of bipedalism


Eric Delson

Cercopithecid paleontology, systematics and paleobiology

Hominin paleontology, systematics and paleobiology

Applications of geometric morphometrics and computer visualization to the above


  • Sarah Freidline 2012 Facial development in modern and archaic Homo
  • Lissa Tallman  2010 Postcranial variation in Plio-Pleistocene hominins of Africa
  • Nelson Ting  2009  (John Oates & Todd Disotell, Co-supervisors) Molecular systematics of red colobus monkeys (Procolobus [Piliocolobus]): Understanding the evolution of an endangered primate
  • Karen Baab   2007 Cranial shape variation in Homo erectus
  • Claudia Astorino  (in progress, Vincent Stefan, Co-advisor) Does human sex indicator morphology in the skull co-vary with age and ancestry?
  • Eva Garrett  (in progress) Osteological correlates of the vomeronasal system and olfactory evolution in primates
  • Tara Peburn   (in progress) Cranial architecture of the Papionini (Primates, Cercopithecidae): Analyses of structural variation and its functional and phylogenetic implications
  • Steven Wang  (in progress) Testing the continuity of Middle and Late Pleistocene hominins in Asia

Christopher Gilbert

Evolutionary history, biogeography and phylogenetic systematics of cercopithecoids

Neogene primate evolution and biogeography in Africa and Asia

Eocene-Pleistocene primate ecomorphology, diversity, biogeography, and evolution

3-D geometric morphometrics in the analysis of primate cranial diversity

Cladistic methodology including character coding and comparison of cladistic and morphometric methods in phylogenetic analysis


  • Kelsey Pugh  (in progress) Investigating hominoid phylogeny from the perspective of the functional morphology of the postcranial skeleton

William Harcourt-Smith

Hominin postcranial morphology and evolution.

3-D geometric morphometrics and the analysis of hominoid postcranial morphology

Paleontology and paleoecology of East African Early Miocene sites


  • Brian Shearer  (in progress)  Postcranial morphology and phylogenetic systematics of fossil hominins
  • Nicole Webb  (in progress) Vertebral morphology & locomotion in fossil hominins

Thomas Plummer

Oldowan hominin taphonomy and landscape use

Early Stone Age artifact function


  • Rebecca Jabbour  2008  Geographic variation in the forelimb and hindlimb skeletons of African apes
  • Scott Blumenthal (in progress) Isotopic records of modern and ancient environments using soils and teeth, with application to hominin paleoecology in East Africa
  • Frances Forrest  (in progress)  Zooarcheological, Taphonomic and Paleoenvironmental Analyses of Newly Excavated Acheulean Deposits at Elandsfontein, South Africa
  • Jennifer Parkinson (in progress)  Investigation of hominin meat-eating through analysis of bones modified by Oldowan hominins and carnivores

Herman Pontzer

Human and ape energy expenditure and life history

Biomechanics and energetics of locomotion in humans and apes

Locomotion and energetics in fossil hominins


  • Cara Ocobock   (in progress, Washington University)  Relating body proportions, climate, and energy expenditure in highly active humans living in the outdoors
  • Anna Warrener  (in progress, Washington University)  Pelvic morphology, hip abductor mechanics, and the biomechanics of the "obstetric dilemma" in humans

Ryan Raaum

Evaluating mechanisms of speciation in primates from genome-wide sequence data.

Differentiating between diffusion and migration in human prehistory using genetic data.

Processes of local adaptation in human populations.


  • Darice Westphal  (In Progress) Phylogeny reconstruction from an adaptive radiation perspective

Alfred Rosenberger

Platyrrhine evolution, paleontology and adaptation

Anthropoid origins and craniodental functional morphology

Systematics and phylogeny reconstruction


  • Lauren Halenar  2012 Paleobiology of Protopithecus brasiliensis, a plus-sized Pleistocene platyrrhine form Brazil
  • Siobhan Cooke  2011  Dental morphology and diet in the Greater Antillean platyrrhines
  • Russell Hogg    2009  Dental microstructure and growth in the Cebidae
  • Justin Gladman  (in progress)  Postcranial morphology of living and fossil platyrrhines: toward platyrrhine origins
  • Zachary Klukkert  (in progress)  Functional morphology and origins of seed-eating platyrrhines

Jessica Rothman

Nutritional ecology of African monkeys and apes in relation to sociality, movement, life history


  • Caley Johnson (in progress)  Nutritional ecology of Kibale forest baboons
  • Margaret Bryer (in progress)  Nutritional ecology and behavior of guenons, specifically in regards to insectivory

Larissa Swedell

Patterns of social bonding in hamadryas baboons at Filoha, Ethiopia

Nutritional ecology of hamadryas baboons at Filoha, Ethiopia


  • Amy Schreier  2008  The Influence of Resource Distribution on the Social Structure and Travel Patterns of Wild Hamadryas Baboons at Filoha, Awash National Park, Ethiopia
  • Shahrina Chowdhury  (in progress)  Stress, Sociality, and Reproduction in Female Chacma Baboons of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa
  • Alexis Amann  (in progress)  Reproductive strategies and endocrinology of female hamadryas baboons


Marina Cords

Seasonality in a rain forest and its effect on primate behavior, nutrition and reproduction

Vocal communication: the "soft" calls

Ontogeny of social behavior


  • Michelle Brown    2011    Intergroup encounters in grey-cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena) and redtail monkeys (Cercopithecus ascanius): form and function
  • Mary Blair  2011   Habitat modification and gene flow in Saimiri oerstedii: Landscape genetics, intraspecific molecular systematics, and conservation
  • James Fuller   (2013)  Diversity of form and function in the vocal signals of male blue monkeys: an evolutionary approach to characterizing a vocal repertoire
  • Su-Jen Roberts  (in progress)  Male reproduction and population genetic structure in blue monkeys of the Kakamega Forest
  • Maressa Takahashi  (in progress)