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Personal profile


I am a biological anthropologist broadly trained in evolutionary anthropology with a focus on primate evolution and skeletal growth and development. I received my training at the University of Minnesota in the United States.


My research interests lie within the interplay between ontogeny and evolution, whereby slight alterations in a population’s ontogeny can lead to divergent adult shapes – potentially leading to evolutionary change. To approach these broader questions, I use three-dimensional surface scanning technology, landmark-based geometric morphometrics, and multivariate statistical analyses on population-level differences in growth and development. My work has primarily focused on the skeletal remains of gorillas and chimpanzees in Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. Over half of the skeletal remains in the collections are associated with demographic, behavioral, ecological, and veterinary datasets. Correlations drawn from these datasets provide unprecedented context for skeletal morphology. In addition to my work with extant primates, I have recently begun applying these concepts and techniques to the fossil record at the site of Drimolen located in South Africa. The site is approximately 2 million years old and offers a snapshot into a key period in human and primate evolution.

Research interests

  • Primate skeletal biology
  • Primate evolution
  • Cranial ontogeny
  • Population-level variation
  • 3D geometric morphometrics

Education/Academic qualification

Anthropology, PhD, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Award Date: 20 Jun 2018

Anthropology, MA, University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Award Date: 14 Dec 2014

Anthropology, BS, Baylor University

Award Date: 14 May 2009

Research area keywords

  • Primate cranial ontogeny and evolution
  • Human anatomy
  • Geometric morphometrics
  • Primate evolution

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Research Output

Contemporaneity of australopithecus, paranthropus, and early homo erectus in South Africa

Herries, A. I. R., Martin, J. M., Leece, A. B., Adams, J. W., Boschian, G., Joannes-Boyau, R., Edwards, T. R., Mallett, T., Massey, J., Murszewski, A., Neubauer, S., Pickering, R., Strait, D. S., Armstrong, B. J., Baker, S., Caruana, M. V., Denham, T., Hellstrom, J., Moggi-Cecchi, J., Mokobane, S. & 7 others, Penzo-Kajewski, P., Rovinsky, D. S., Schwartz, G. T., Stammers, R. C., Wilson, C., Woodhead, J. & Menter, C., 3 Apr 2020, In : Science. 368, 6486, 19 p., eaaw7293.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Mandibular corpus shape is a taxonomic indicator in extant hominids

Balolia, K. L., Jakeman, E. C., Massey, J. S., Groves, C. & Wood, B., May 2020, In : American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 172, 1, p. 25-40 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Early brain growth cessation in wild virunga mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei)

Mcfarlin, S. C., Barks, S. K., Tocheri, M. W., Massey, J. S., Eriksen, A. B., Fawcett, K. A., Stoinski, T. S., Hof, P. R., Bromage, T. G., Mudakikwa, A., Cranfield, M. R. & Sherwood, C. C., May 2013, In : American Journal of Primatology. 75, 5, p. 450-463 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)