6047 Silsby Hall
Hanover, NH 03755
Phone: 603-646-9831 (Anthropology Office) - 603-650-1638 (Medical School Office)
kathleen.muldoon at dartmouth.edu
For more information about my research visit: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~kmuldoon/index.htm
I am a biological anthropologist specializing in primate evolution and ecology. In my research, I use the fossil record as a framework for addressing questions of community change over time. I am primarily interested in the response of primate communities to environmental change and human impact.
My research focuses on understanding recent extinctions in Madagascar. Since human colonization 2300 years ago, Madagascar’s native mammal community has suffered the loss of dozens of species, including the giant subfossil lemurs. My goal is to understand how primate communities in Madagascar have been influenced by these extinctions. The subfossil record provides a unique opportunity to approach this question. By comparing “subfossil communities” with modern ones, insights can be drawn into the degree of change experienced by those communities over time. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Geological Society of America, The Field Museum, Sigma Xi, and Lambda Alpha, I have applied this comparative approach to reconstruct the ancient environment of Ankilitelo, a cave site in southwestern Madagascar that documents the latest survival of the giant lemurs (500 years ago).
With funding from the American Philosophical Society, the America Association of Physical Anthropologists, and the Claire Garber Goodman fund, I am currently extending this model to the analysis of subfossil assemblages of greater time depth, to examine patterns of community change over time in western Madagascar. The results of these comparisons have practical conservation implications, given the fragile state of living lemur habitats in Madagascar. I am involved in collaborative projects with Laurie Godfrey and Steve King (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) to understand the functional anatomy of teeth, as it relates to diet and life history. In particular, we are using GIS-based 3D techniques in order to interpret the diet and lifeways of the mysterious extinct giant lemur, *Hadropithecus*. I am working with Patricia Wright (Stony Brook University) and Sarah Karpanty (Virginia Tech University) to identify damage inflicted to primate and other mammal bones in hawk middens and carnivore scats from Ranomafana National Park, southeastern Madagascar. The identification of prey material can be used to explore the impact of predation by diurnal raptors on the evolution of lemur social organization. I am also working with Matthew O’Neill (Stony Brook University) to measure daily energy expenditure in free-ranging and wild lemurs.
I became interested in primate evolution and ecology while I was a student at the University of Toronto (H.B.Sc., 1999; M.A., 2000) and Washington University (A.M., 2003, Ph.D., 2006). Over the years, I have participated in fieldwork and museum research in Canada (Toronto), USA (Wyoming, Utah, Texas), France, Germany, Hungary, Ethiopia, and Madagascar.
I teach Human Osteology and Primate Extinctions: Past and Present in the Department of Anthropology. I also teach Human Anatomy and Embryology in the Department of Anatomy at Dartmouth Medical School.
Last Updated: 9/1/11