Primate Functional Anatomy, Evolution, and Extinction
Klukkert Lab Research Homepage
My name is Zachary Klukkert, I am a Biological Anthropologist and an Assistant Professor of Anatomy at the Central Michigan University College of Medicine. I teach human anatomy as part of an integrated pre-clinical curriculum for CMU medical students.
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. Additional coverage can be found in Forbes Science, Outside Magazine, and most recently in the Morning Sun newspaper in Mount Pleasant, MI. 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.