City University of New York

Core NYCEP faculty at the City University of New York are based in the Physical Anthropology section of the doctoral program in Anthropology at The Graduate Center, with a strong emphasis on evolutionary approaches to understanding human and nonhuman primate biology. All doctoral students in Physical Anthropology at CUNY participate in NYCEP. CUNY faculty advise students and conduct research in paleoanthropology, paleoprimatology, human and primate population genetics, primate behavior and nutritional ecology, hominin behavior and paleoecology, comparative and functional morphology, bioarchaeology, systematics, geometric morphometrics, forensic and skeletal biology, and conservation biology.

Physical anthropology at CUNY covers a wide range of topics, with a strong emphasis on evolutionary approaches to understanding human and nonhuman primate biology. Current research involves: comparative morphology, scientific visualization and 3D morphometrics, paleontology, biogeography, and systematics of humans and other primates; primate ecology and its relationships to both social behavior and to conservation problems; the biology of modern humans; skeletal growth and development, osteology, and bone biology; craniofacial development and comparative anatomy; and forensic anthropology.

The doctoral program in physical anthropology at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York is itself a consortium system. Each of the core faculty is based at one of the CUNY system's senior colleges (see individual college Anthropology Department pages at Brooklyn College, Hunter College, Lehman College, and Queens College).

Research Highlights


Stress, Sociality, and Reproduction in Female Chacma Baboons

Shahrina Chowdhury (CUNY PhD Student) describes her ongoing PhD research on the effects of environmental and social stressors on the behaviour, physiology, and reproduction of female chacma baboons in the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. This project has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Leakey Foundation and is supervised by Larissa Swedell (Queens College / CUNY).


Migration and Urbanization on the Swahili Coast

Dr. Ryan Raaum (Lehman College / CUNY) describes his ongoing NSF-funded project reconstructing the human population history of the East African coast. This interdisciplinary project brings together specialists in archaeology, skeletal biology, population genetics, and ancient DNA in order to unravel the establishment and transformation of human populations on the Swahili Coast.


Paleontological Field Work at the Pliocene Fossil Mammal Site of Senèze

Dr. Eric Delson (Lehman College / CUNY and AMNH) describes his recently completed re-excavation of the fossil site of Senèze, the reference locality for the late Villefranchian.

Core Faculty


Andrea Baden

Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology Hunter College City University of New York

Research interests: molecular ecology, primate life history, social and reproductive strategies, lemurs, Madagascar


Stephen Chester

Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology and Archaeology Brooklyn College City University of New York

Research interests: evolutionary morphology; primate origins; mammalian evolution and response to climate change


Eric Delson

Professor Department of Anthropology Lehman College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Paleoanthropology, Primate Paleontology, Primatology, Evolutionary Biology


Christopher Gilbert

Associate Professor Department of Anthropology Hunter College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Primate paleontology, Geometric morphometrics, Ecomorphology, Systematics, Phylogenetics


William Harcourt-Smith

Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology Lehman College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Paleoanthropology, Human Evolution, Hominin postcranial morphology, Functional Anatomy, Primate locomotion, Hominoid paleoecology, Geometric morphometrics, Skeletal variation


Jeffrey Laitman

Distinguished Professor Professor and Director, Center for Anatomy and Functional Morphology Professor of Medical Education Professor of Otolaryngology Mount Sinai School of Medicine Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Comparative anatomy, development and evolution of the mammalian aerodigestive tract (upper respiratory, upper digestive, vocal) and contiguous areas of the cranial base.


Colleen McCann

Curator Department of Mammals Wildlife Conservation Society Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Primate socioendocrinology; Primate behavior, reproduction and evolutionary history; Conservation biology


Felicia Madimenos

Assistant Professor Department of Anthropology Queens College City University of New York

Research interests: female reproductive ecology, energetics, life history theory, skeletal health , modern human biology, market integration and health


Ekaterina Pechenkina

Professor Department of Anthropology Queens College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Biological anthropology, Bioarchaeology, Disease in prehistory, Bone pathology, Neolithic China, Prehistoric Peru


Thomas Plummer

Professor Department of Anthropology Queens College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Pliocene and Pleistocene hominin behavior and paleoecology, the adaptive significance of Early Stone Age lithic technology, hominin and mammalian paleontology, ecomorphology, human osteology


Herman Pontzer

Associate Professor Department of Anthropology Hunter College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Human Evolution, Locomotor Biomechanics, Energetics, Experimental Biology, Primate Ecomorphology, Dmanisi


Ryan Raaum

Associate Professor Department of Anthropology Lehman College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Population genetics, Bioinformatics, Human evolution, Statistical genetics


Alfred Rosenberger

Professor Department of Anthropology and Archaeology Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Primate evolution, Primate origins, Neotropical primates


Jessica Rothman

Professor Department of Anthropology Hunter College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Primate ecology and behavior, nutrition, evolutionary ecology, Old World Monkeys, Apes, Africa


Vincent Stefan

Professor Department of Anthropology Lehman College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Forensic anthropology, Human evolution, Human osteology, Paleoanthropology, Quantitative methods, Polynesian / Easter Island skeletal biology, Oceania


Michael Steiper

Professor Department of Anthropology Hunter College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Genetics, DNA, Phylogenetics, Population genetics, Primates, Hominoids, Malaria, Molecular clocks


Larissa Swedell

Professor Department of Anthropology Queens College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: social behavior, behavioral ecology, reproductive strategies, evolution of social organization, human social evolution, conservation, baboons

Resource Faculty


Tim Bromage

Professor Department of Biomaterials New York University College of Dentistry Honorary Research Fellow Department of Paleoanthropology Senckenberg Research Institute Frankfurt, Germany Adjunct Professor of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Hard tissue biology, organismal life history, chronobiology, human evolution, metabolic ecology


Roberto Delgado

Scientific Program Manager Office for Research on Disparities and Global Mental Health National Institute of Mental Health National Institutes of Health

Research interests: animal behavior, communication, evolutionary ecology, response of non-human primates to anthropogenic threats and climate change, orangutans, South East Asia


Gregg Gunnell

Director Division of Fossil Primates Duke University Lemur Center Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: vertebrate paleontology and evolutionary biology (particularly primates and chiroptera), systematics, three-dimensional geometric morphometrics


Katerina Harvati

Director, Paleoanthropology University of Tubingen Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: hominin evolution, Neanderthals, cranial morphology, geometric morphometrics


Michael Hickerson

Associate Professor Department of Biology City College and The Graduate Center City University of New York Research Associate Division of Invertebrate Biology American Museum of Natural History

Research interests: Comparative Phylogeography, Approximate Bayesian Computation, Population Genetics


David Lahti

Assistant Professor Department of Biology Queens College and the Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Vocal learning, relaxed selection and trait loss, brood parasitism and coevolution, bird egg color, cultural evolution, human social evolution, ethics and philosophy of biology


Ross MacPhee

Curator & Professor Mammalogy/Vertebrate Zoology Richard Gilder Graduate School American Museum of Natural History Adjunct Professor of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: paleobiogeography, extinction, and cranial developmental morphology


Michael Novacek

Senior Vice President and Provost of Science Curator, Division of Paleontology Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School American Museum of Natural History Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: mammalian evolution, vertebrate paleontology in Mongolia


John G. Robinson

Chief Conservation Officer Executive Vice President, Conservation and Science Wildlife Conservation Society Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: conservation biology; tropical forest conservation; ethnozoology, primate sociobiology and ecology; evolutionary biology; wildlife hunting and trading


Robert Rockwell

Research Associate Ornithology Department American Museum of Natural History Professor Department of Biology City College and The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: migratory waterfowl, ecology, statistics


F. James Rohlf

Distinguished Professor Emeritus Department of Ecology and Evolution Research Professor Department of Anthropology State University of New York at Stony Brook Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: multivariate statistics, geometric morphometrics, numerical taxonomy


Katherine St. John

Professor Department of Mathematics & Computer Science Lehman College and the Graduate Center City University of New York Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Phylogenetics, Analysis and Visualization of Trees, Random Structures and Algorithms


Mitchell Schaffler

CUNY and Wallace Coulter Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Chair Department of Biomedical Engineering City College of New York City University of New York

Research interests: Bone biomechanics, tendon biomechanics, Skeletal fragility and aging, Bone physiology, Osteocyte function, Osteoporosis, Quantitative methods in analysis of skeletal structure


Ian Tattersall

Curator Emeritus Division of Anthropology American Museum of Natural History Professor Emeritus Richard Gilder Graduate School, AMNH Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Human and nonhuman primate evolution; origin of Homo sapiens; integration of evolutionary and systematic theory with the human fossil record; systematics, behavior, and ecology of the strepsirhine primates


John Van Couvering

Editor in Chief Micropaleontology Press Adjunct Professor Department of Anthropology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: Principles and practices in stratigraphic geology; age and environments of Cenozoic mammal faunas of Africa and southern Eurasia; the Neogene time scale and chronostratigraphic boundaries


John Wahlert

Professor and Chair Department of Natural Sciences Baruch College City University of New York Professor Department of Biology/EEB The Graduate Center City University of New York Research Associate Vertebrate Zoology, Mammalogy American Museum of Natural History

Research interests: vertebrate paleontology; cranial morphology of rodents


Ward Wheeler

Curator Division of Invertebrate Zoology, Computational Sciences Principal Investigator Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics Professor Richard Gilder Graduate School American Museum of Natural History Adjunct Professor Department of Biology The Graduate Center City University of New York

Research interests: systematics, comparative biology, computational biology, phylogenetics, evolutionary history of metazoa