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Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie (IEA)

Research interest

I study human evolution, life history and behavior, and growth and development of the skeletal system. My work draws on my background in anthropology as well as my more recent training in paleontology, ecology, and evolution to explore human biological variation in a comparative phylogenetic framework. 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.

My research uses collections-based and non-destructive lab-based approaches that combine neontology and paleontology and work at the interdisciplinary junctions of anthropology, organismal, and evolutionary biology. I use a range of comparative morphological and evolutionary methods including 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional morphometrics, high-resolution computed tomography imaging, comparative phylogenetics, and population modeling. Through my work, I currently aim to address three general questions:

  1. How does the human skeletal system grow and develop?
  2. How does morphological variation in the skeletal system affect the evolution of human life history and behavior?
  3. How do life history and behavior influence the evolution of the skeletal system?



Monson TA, Hlusko LJ. 2018. Breaking the rules: Phylogeny, not life history, explains dental eruptions sequence in primates. American Journal of Physical Anthropology [in press].

Monson TA, Coleman JF, Hlusko LJ. 2018. Craniodental allometry, prenatal growth rates, and the evolutionary loss of the third molars in New World monkeys. The Anatomical Record [in press].

Monson TA, Armitage DW, Hlusko LJ. 2018. Using machine learning to classify extant apes and interpret the dental morphology of the chimpanzee-human last common ancestor. PaleoBios 35:1-20.

Monson TA, Brasil MF, Hlusko LJ. 2018. Allometric variation in modern humans and the relationship between body proportions and elite athletic success. Journal of Sport of Anthropology and Physical Education.

Hlusko LJ, Carlson J, Chaplin G, Elias SA, Hoffecker JF, Huffman M, Jablonski NG, Monson TA, O’Rourke DH, Pilloud MA, Scott GR. 2018. Environmental selection during the last ice age on the mother-to-infant transmission of vitamin D and fatty acids through breast milk. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Monson TA, Brasil MF, Stratford DJ, Hlusko LJ. 2017. Patterns of craniofacial variation and taxonomic diversity in the South African Cercopithecidae fossil record. Palaeontologia Electronica 20.1.7A:1-20.

Hlusko LJ, Schmitt CA, Monson TA, Brasil MF, Mahaney MC. 2016.The integration of quantitative genetics, paleontology, and neontology reveals genetic underpinnings of primate dental evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 133(33):9262-9267.

Monson TA, Hlusko LJ. 2016. The evolution of dental eruption sequence in artiodactyls. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, 1-12.

Monson TA, Brasil MF, Hlusko LJ. 2015. Report on materials from the southern branch of the UC Africa Expedition with a description of new fossil localities. PaleoBios, 32(1), 1-17.

Monson T, Hlusko LJ. 2014. Identification of a derived dental trait in the papionini relative to other old world monkeys. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 155(3):422-429.

Not Peer-reviewed

Monson TA. 2017. On the Sequence of Postcanine Tooth Eruption in Mammals. Doctoral Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.

Monson TA. 2012. Metameric variation in the expression of the interconulus in Papio and Macaca. MA dissertation, San Francisco State University. Dissertation.

Monson T. 2013. Temporal and spatial distribution of vertebrate remains at Qwu?gwes. In: Croes D, Foster R, Ross L, editors. The Qwu?gwes archaeological site and fish trap (45TN240) and tested homestead (45TN396). Olympia: Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation. Pp.144-153.