Heather E. Ahrens

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E-Mail: HAHRENS1(at)jhmi.edu
Phone: 410-502-0412

1830 E. Monument St., Room 308
Baltimore, MD 21205 USA

  • Education:

  • M.S., University of Texas at Austin, Geological Sciences, 2010
    B.S., Virginia Tech, Biological Sciences, 2007

  • Research Focuses:
  • Evolutionary theory and phylogenetic systematics
    Functional morphology
    Morphology and evolution of Creodonta and Carnivora

    My research addresses mammalian diversity and macroevolutionary patterns through the Cenozoic. I am interested in understanding how morphological variation is associated with functional and ecological factors, which evolutionary processes are acting on a given clade, and whether changes in diversity and evolutionary rates are associated with ecological changes or postcranial adaptations.

    For my dissertation, I am comparing phylogenetic diversity and locomotor disparity of two important Paleogene carnivore families, Oxyaenidae and Hyaenodontidae. Specifically, I test if diversification patterns were associated with ecological adaptations of the postcranial skeleton and environmental changes through the Paleogene using phylogenetic, ecomorphological, and model-based methods. Additional projects have addressed phylogenetic and ecological signals in procyonid craniodental and endocast morphology and locomotor behavior in specialized fossorial mammals, the Palaeanodonta.

  • Special Links:
  • Curriculum Vitae:
  • Available upon REQUEST

  • Publications:

    Rose KD, Holbrook LT, Rana RS, Kumar K, Jones KE, Ahrens HE, Missiaen P, Sahni AA, and Smith T. In press. Early Eocene fossils suggest the mammalian order Perissodactyla originated in India. Nature Communications.

    Ahrens HE. In Press. Morphometric study of phylogenetic and phylogenetic and ecologic signals in procyonid (Mammalia: Carnivora) endocasts. The Anatomical Record. DOI: 10.1002/ar.22996

    Ahrens, HE. 2012. Craniodental characters and the relationships of Procyonidae (Mammalia: Carnivora). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 164: 669-713. DOI: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2011.00778.x


    Ahrens, HE. 2013. Foot posture in Early Eocene Hyaenodontidae and Oxyaenidae from Wyoming. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Program and Abstracts: 75A.

    Ahrens, HE. 2013. Quantification of olfactory bulb shape and patterns of brain shape variation in Procyonidae. American Society of Mammalogists, Program and Abstracts: 57.

    Ahrens HE, Ruff CB. 2013. Body Mass Estimators in Fossorial Mammals and the Body Mass of Extinct Palaeanodonta (Pholidotamorpha). The FASEB Journal 27:747.16.

    Ahrens HE, Ruff CB, Rose KD. 2012. The mechanics of fossoriality in Mammalia and the locomotor behavior of Palaeanodonta (Pholidotamorpha). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Program and Abstracts: 54A.

    Ahrens HE, DeLeon VB. 2012. A Morphometric Study of Phylogenetic and Ecologic Patterns in Procyonid (Mammalia:Carnivora) Endocasts. The FASEB Journal 26:455.1.

    Ahrens, H. 2011. Postcranial morphology of Dipsalidictis transiens (Mammalia: Oxyaenidae): functional interpretations and taxonomic significance. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Program and Abstracts: 60A.

    Ahrens, H. 2009. Novel insights on the basicranium of Buisnictis chisoensis with implications for its phylogenetic position. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29 (Supplement to number 3):52A.

    Ahrens, H. 2009. A digital endocast of Procyon lotor. Texas Academy of Science, 112th Annual Meeting p 134.

  • Awards and Grants:
  • Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Grant (2014) - American Museum of Natural History

    Grant-in-Aid of Research (2014) - American Society of Mammologists

    Graduate Student Research Grant (2014) - Geological Society of America

    Grant-in-Aid of Research (2013) - Sigma Xi

    Jackson School of Geosciences Student Member Travel Grant (2013) - Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

    AAA Student Travel Award (2012, 2013) - American Association of Anatomists

  • Faculty Advisor:
  • Kenneth D. Rose

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