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Center for Functional Anatomy

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Dr. Jonathan M. G. Perry

E-Mail: jperry31(at)
Phone: 410-955-7034

1830 E. Monument St., Room 303
Baltimore, MD 21205 USA


Fig. 1. Patagonia field crew, 2007. See Fieldwork page for details.

Fig. 2. Graduate student Kristen Prufrock dissecting the chewing muscles of a lemur as part of her dissertation work.

Fig. 3. Jonathan Perry and graduate student Stephanie Canington testing primate foods as part of Stephanie’s dissertation work.

Fig. 4. Jonathan and Dr. Adam Hartstone-Rose feeding cubes of melon to a red ruffed lemur (Varecia rubra) to record bite size. This study was conducted at the Duke Lemur Center, Durham, North Carolina (taken in 2007 by David Haring).


Ph.D. Biological Anthropology and Anatomy, Duke University, 2008
M.Sc. Systematics and Evolution, University of Alberta, 2001
B.Sc. Paleontology, University of Alberta, 1998

Research Focuses

Anatomy and biomechanics of the masticatory system
Evolution of feeding adaptations in primates
Material and structural properties of primate foods
Craniomandibular morphology of Eocene primates
Miocene platyrrhine dietary adaptatons

I am interested in the link between skull form and diet. How do food properties influence skull morphology over evolutionary time and are there skull features we can use to reconstruct diet in extinct mammals? In particular, I am excited about the context for the evolution of primates and I am curious about whether changes in diet prompted changes to the skull that characterize the first primates. To address these interests, I look at links between the dimensions of the chewing muscles, bony skull features, and food properties in extant primates. I use these links to reconstruct aspects of feeding and diet in extinct primates. I am interested in applying these techniques more broadly and generating dietary hypotheses for other groups of extinct mammals. In addition, I participate in several field projects to recover fossil mammals from localities across the world. I and my colleagues perform non-invasive, observational feeding experiments on captive primates to quantify feeding behavior. This research program is driven by a desire to understand the ways in which our earliest primate ancestors related to their environment.

Currently I run two funded projects that incorporate graduate and undergraduate students. They are detailed below. I encourage my students to participate in field and lab research. I also encourage them to think of and test their own scientific questions.

Funded Project 1: “Monkeys on the Edge: Ecological Change in a Mammalian Community across the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum in Extreme Southern Patagonia” (NSF BCS 1749307).

Funded Project 2: “Experimental Paleontology: Evaluating the Function of Primate Teeth by Testing them against Real Foods”

Special Links

Curriculum Vitae

Recent/Noteworthy Publications

Kay RF, Perry JMG. New primates from the Río Santa Cruz and Río Bote (Early-Mid Miocene), Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Publicacíon Electrónica de la Asociación Paleontológica Argentina. In press.

Raigemborn MS, Krapovickas V, Zucol AF, Zapata L, Beilinson E, Toledo N, Perry JMG, Lizzoli S, Martegani L, Passeggi E. Paleosols and related soil-biota of the early Miocene Santa Cruz Formation (Austral-Magallanes Basin, Argentina): a multidisciplinary approach to reconstructing ancient terrestrial landscapes. Latin American Journal of Sedimentology and Basin Analysis. 2019;25:117-148.

Rose KD, Dunn RH, Kumar K, Perry JMG, Prufrock KA, Rana RS, Smith T. New fossils from Tadkeshwar Mine (Gujarat, India) increase primate diversity from the Early Eocene Cambay Shale. Journal of Human Evolution. 2019;122:93-107.

Fricano EEI, Perry JMG. Maximum bony gape in primates. The Anatomical Record. 2019;302:215-225.

Perry JMG, Cooke SB, Runestad-Connour JA, Burgess ML, Ruff CB. Articular scaling and body mass estimation in platyrrhines and catarrhines: modern variation and application to fossil anthropoids. Journal of Human Evolution. 2018;115:20-35.

Ledogar JA, Luk THY, Perry JMG, Neaux D, Wroe S. Biting mechanics and niche separation in a specialized clade of primate seed predators. PLOS ONE. 2018; 13:e0190689 (26pp.).

Perry JMG. Inferring the diets of extinct giant lemurs from osteological correlates of muscle dimensions. The Anatomical Record. 2018;301:343-362.

Fabre A-C, Perry JMG, Lowie A, Hartstone-Rose A, Boens A, Dumont M. Do muscles constrain skull shape evolution in strepsirrhines? The Anatomical Record. 2018;301:291-310.

St Clair EM, Reback N, Perry JMG. Craniomandibular variation in phalangeriform marsupials: functional comparisons with primates. The Anatomical Record. 2018;301:227-255.

Seiffert ER, Boyer DM, Fleagle JG, Gunnell GF, Heesy CP, Perry JMG, Sallam HM. New adapiform fossils from the late Eocene of Egypt. Historical Biology. 2017;30:204-226.

Perry JMG, Gunnell GF, Emry RJ. New cranial material of Notharctus (Mammalia, Primates, Notharctidae) from the Sheep Pass Formation, Elderberry Canyon, Nevada with implications for incisor morphology and paleogeography of notharctine primates. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 2017;37:e1331914 (10pp.).

Perry JMG, St Clair EM, Hartstone-Rose A. Craniomandibular signals of diet in adapids. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2015;158:646-662.

Perry JMG, Bastian ML, St Clair EM, Hartstone-Rose A. Maximum ingested food size in captive anthropoids. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2015;158:92-104.

Hartstone-Rose A, Criste T, Parkinson J, Perry JMG. Brief Communication: Comparing apples and oranges – the influence of food mechanical properties on ingestive bite sizes in lemurs. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2015;157:513-518.

Perry JMG, Kay RF, Vizcaíno SF, Bargo, MS. Oldest known cranium of a juvenile New World monkey (Early Miocene, Patagonia, Argentina): implications for the taxonomy and the molar eruption pattern of early platyrrhines. Journal of Human Evolution. 2014;74:67-81.

Perry JMG, MacNeill KE, Heckler AL, Rakotoarisoa G, Hartstone-Rose A. Anatomy and adaptations of the chewing muscles in Daubentonia (Lemuriformes). The Anatomical Record. 2014;97:308-316.

Baab KL, Perry JMG, Rohlf FJ, Jungers WL. Phylogenetic, ecological, and allometric correlates of cranial shape in Malagasy lemuriforms. Evolution. 2014;68:1450-1468.

Jones KE, Rose KD, Perry JMG. Body size and premolar evolution in the Early-Middle Eocene euprimates of Wyoming. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2014;153:15-28.

Current students

Stephanie L. Canington, Kristen Prufrock