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Chris Gilbert


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A.B. 2000, Duke University 
M.A. 2005, Stony Brook University 
Ph.D. 2008, Stony Brook University


Julia Arenson

Graduate Student (Ph.D.)


B.S., 2015, University of Oregon

PhD student 2016-present, The Graduate Center, CUNY; NYCEP


Research Statement

I am a PhD candidate at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and a member of the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP).  I am generally interested in the evolution and phylogeography of Old World monkeys, and my dissertation focuses on the evolutionary history and biogeography of the colobines.  The diversity of the African and Asian living colobines is complemented by a relatively expansive fossil record from the Miocene through Pleistocene, but the relationships between the fossil and extant taxa are not well understood.  My dissertation seeks to resolve the phylogenetic relationships of the colobine radiation and additionally explore changes in ecology (i.e., substrate use) and the historical biogeography of the clade, including dispersals between and within Africa, Europe, and Asia.  This research is generously funded by the National Science Foundation and the Leakey Foundation.


Selected Publications and Abstracts

  • Arenson JL, Simons EA, Anderson M, Eller AR, White F, and Frost SR. (2022). Comparison of captive and wild fascicularis-group macaques (Primates, Cercopithecidae) provides insight into cranial form changes in response to rapid environmental changes. American Journal of Biological Anthropology 178, 417-436.

  • Arenson JL, Harrison T, Sargis EJ, Taboada HG, and Gilbert CC. (2022). A new species of fossil guenon (Cercopithecini, Cercopithecidae) from the Early Pleistocene Lower Ngaloba Beds, Laetoli, Tanzani. Journal of Human Evolution 163, 103136.

  • Gilbert CC, Gilissen E, Arenson JL, Patel BA, Nakatsukasa M, Hart TB, Hart JA, Detwiler KM, and Sargis EJ.  (2021). Morphological analysis of new Dryas Monkey specimens from the central Congo Basin: Taxonomic considerations and an emended diagnosis. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 176(3):361-389.

  • Arenson JL, Sargis EJ, Hart JA, Hart TB, Detwiler KM, and Gilbert CC.  (2020).  Skeletal morphology of the lesula (Cercopithecus lomamiensis) and the evolution of guenon locomotor behavior.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 172(1): 3-24.

  • Arenson JL.  (2020). Phylogenetic analysis of extant colobine monkeys using craniodental data (abstract). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 171(S69):9

  • Pugh KD, Pitirri MK, Arenson JL, Shearer BM, Gilbert CC, and Delson ED.  (2020).  Re-evaluation of the affinities of the ?Dryopithecus wuduensis mandible (abstract). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 171(S69):224.

  • Gilbert CC, Sargis EJ, Gilissen E, Arenson JL, Patel BA, Nakatsukasa M, Detwiler KM, Hart TB, and Hart JA.  (2019).  Resolving the taxonomic status of Cercopithecus dryas Schwarz 1932 and C. salongo Thys van den Audenaerde 1977 (abstract).  American Journal of Physical Anthropology Suppl. 68, 85-86.

  • Arenson JL, Gilbert CC, Sargis EJ, Detwiler KM, Hart TB, and Hart JA.  (2018).  Skeletal morphology of the lesula (Cercopithecus lomamiensis) suggests multiple transitions to terrestriality in the guenon radiation (abstract).  American Journal of Physical Anthropology Suppl. 66, 12.

  • Thompson B, Arenson JL, Biernat M, Barr W, Reeves J, Braun DR, Hammond A. (2017). A preliminary study of primate abundance in East Turkana collection areas relative to outcrop size (abstract). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 162(S64):380.

  • Arenson JL, Anderson M, White FJ, Frost SR. (2016). Morphological assessment of a putative hybrid species, Trachypithecus pileatus, based on a 3D geometric morphometric analysis of cranial morphology (abstract). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 159(S62):82.

  • Arenson JL, Anderson M, Eller A, Simons E, White FJ, Frost SR. (2015). Bergmann’s rule in skull size of wild vs. captive fascicularis group macaques (abstract). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156(S60):71.

  • Clarke KS, McNulty KP, Eller AR, Arenson JL, Anderson M, Simons E, White FJ, Frost SR. (2015). Morphological signals of stress and socioendocrinology: Comparing measures of cranial fluctuating asymmetry and second to fourth digit ratio in catarrhine primates (abstract). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156(S60):106.

Julie Strain

Alumni (M.A.)


B.A., 2020, Hunter College, CUNY

M.A., 2022, Hunter College, CUNY

Ph.D student, Graduate Center, CUNY


Research Statement

I received my M.A. at Hunter College, CUNY, and I am generally interested in skeletal biology and functional morphology.  My M.A. project focused on investigating the utility of premolar and molar indices to capture taxonomically and phylogenetically informative variation among catarrhine (particularly hominoid) taxa.  In addition, I worked with Dr. Chris Robinson (Bronx Community College and the Graduate Center, CUNY) to explore mandibular variation in extant hominoids and Australopithecus by collecting landmark data on micro-CT scans using Checkpoint software.  Currently, I am a PhD student and member of the Dominguez lab at Lehman College and the GC, CUNY.

Selected Publications and Abstracts

  • Strain J, Robinson, C.  (2022).  Assessing the extent of covariation between the shapes of the mandibular corpus and second molar.  American Journal of Biological Anthropology 177 (S73). 

  • Strain J, (2022).  Assessing the utility of the PMM and MMC indices among extant hominoid genera.  M.A. Thesis, Hunter College, CUNY.

Kelsey Pugh


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B.Sc. 2011, University of Calgary

M.Phil. 2016, The Graduate Center, CUNY; NYCEP

Ph.D. 2020, The Graduate Center, CUNY; NYCEP

Thesis: The Phylogenetic Relationships of Middle-Late Miocene Apes: Implications for Early Human Evolution.

Research Statement

I received my Ph.D. in 2020 from The Graduate Center, CUNY, and am currently a postdoctoral associate at the American Museum of Natural History. My dissertation research focused on the phylogeny of the great apes and the earliest hominins. While there are very few species of great apes living today, in the past they formed a large and diverse radiation, and their fossils can be found across Europe, Asia, and Africa. A better understanding of the hominid (great apes and humans) family tree will help to clarify the evolution of characteristic ape traits, the dispersal patterns of fossil and living apes across Eurasia and Africa, and aspects of human origins. This project was funded by the National Science Foundation, The Leakey Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Sigma-Xi, and a CUNY Doctoral Research Grant, and benefitted greatly from the help of several dedicated Hunter College undergraduate students.


Selected Publications

  • Pugh, KD. (2022). Phylogenetic analysis of Middle-Late Miocene apes. Journal of Human Evolution 165, 103140.

  • Almécija S, Hammond AS, Thompson NE, Pugh KD, Moyà-Solà S., & Alba, DM. (2021). Fossil apes and human evolution. Science. 372 (6542), eabb4363.

  • Gilbert CC, Pugh KD, and Fleagle JG.  Chapter 17: Dispersal of Miocene hominoids (and pliopithecoids) from Africa to Eurasia in light of changing tectonics and climate.  In: Prasad GVR, Patnaik R (Eds.), Biological Consequences of Plate Tectonics: New Perspectives on Post-Gondwana and Break-up- A Tribute to Ashok Sahni. Cham: Springer.  pp. 393-412.

  • Gilbert CC, Ortiz A., Patel BA, Singh NP, Campisano CJ, Fleagle JG, Pugh KD, and Patnaik R.  (2020).  New Middle Miocene ape (Primates: Hylobatidae) from Ramnagar, India fills major gaps in the hominoid fossil record.  Proceedings of the Royal Society B 287: 20201655.

  • Gilbert CC, Sehgal, RK, Pugh KD, Campisano CJ, Singh, NP, May E, Patel BA, Patnaik R.  2019.  New Sivapithecus specimen from Ramnagar (J & K), India and a taxonomic revision of Ramnagar hominoids.  Journal of Human Evolution 135: 102665. (

  • Pugh KD. & Gilbert CC.  2018. Phylogenetic relationships of living and fossil African papionins: combined evidence from morphology and molecules. Journal of Human Evolution 123, 35-51.

  • Gilbert, C.C., Frost, S.R., Pugh, K.D., Anderson, M., & Delson, E. 2018. Evolution of the modern baboon (Papio hamadryas): A reassessment of the African Plio-Pleistocene record. Journal of Human Evolution 122, 38-69.

  • Nengo, I., Tafforeau, P., Gilbert, C. C., Fleagle, J. G., Miller, E.R., Feibel, C., Fox, D., Feinberg, J., Pugh, K.D., Berruyer, C., Mana, S., Engle, Z., & Spoor, F. 2017. New infant cranium from the African Miocene sheds light on ape evolution. Nature, 548, 169–174.

  • Frost, S., Gilbert, C.C., Pugh, K.D., Guthrie, E.H. & Delson, E. 3015. Cercopithecoides williamsi shows the earliest fossil evidence for pollical reduction in a fossil colobines. PLoS one, e0125030.

  • Gilbert, C.C., Patel, B.A., Friedman, A.C., Pugh, K.D., Fleagle, J.G. & Patnaik, R. 2014. New Lower Siwalik localities near Ramnagar, India: implications for the earliest Asian great apes and other mammalian lineages. Special Publication of the Palaeontological Society of India, 5:353-365.

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