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Primate Functional Anatomy, Evolution, & Extinction

Klukkert Anatomical Sciences Lab

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My name is Zachary Klukkert, I am a Biological Anthropologist and an Assistant Professor of Anatomy at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Science. I teach Clinical Gross Anatomy for Physician's Assistant and Osteopathic Medical programs, and Biomedical Sciences MA and PhD students in the Anatomy and Vertebrate Paleontology Track


My research explores the functional attributes of primate anatomy that relate to their interactions with an essential component of their environment, i.e., their food. I examine the evolutionary drivers and ecological correlates of craniodental variability in living and recently extinct species. I am particularly interested in the paleobiology and ecological roles of extinct primates from the Caribbean and Madagascar. While museums showcase fossils of wonders from long-gone eras, the primates that I recover from inside of Caribbean and Madagascan caves disappeared very recently. In addition to better understanding the effect that their absence has on the ecosystems that remain, it is my hope that a better understanding of their demise may inform efforts to identify and mitigate threats to other species around the world. I invite you to visit my research pages on this site to learn more about my work. 


Finally, another exciting element of the projects underway involves communicating with the public about what's being learned about the natural history of these regions, anthropogenic extinctions and the persisting ecological changes associated with these losses. For instance, my colleagues and I contributed to the 2019 documentary "When Whales Walked" and we were featured in the National Science Foundation's public outreach in celebration of National Fossil Day, 2020. Other outlets include Forbes Science, Outside Magazine, and the Fall 2022 issue of Popular Science. Other on-site efforts include  showcasing new insights for the public in the countries that host my fieldwork through new and expanded museum and visitor center exhibits.

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"What lies beneath"

by Riley Black

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