About me

Postdoctoral Researcher, Harvard University
Mammal Anatomy and Evolution
        I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Pierce lab at Harvard University interested in the anatomy and evolution of the mammal skeleton, particularly the vertebral column. I am currently undertaking a collaborative project with Stephanie Pierce and Ken Angielczyk (University of Chicago) investigating the evolution of the spine in non-mammalian synapsids and basal mammals. We are using comparative anatomy, ex vivo experiments and digital modeling techniques to understand the function of the thoracolumbar region in mammal ancestors, and the evolutionary origin of mammalian locomotor patterns.

    I gained my Ph.D. in 2014 from The Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution in The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, under the mentorship of Professor Ken Rose.  My thesis is entitled “Allometry of the thoracolumbar region in running mammals” asked how the vertebral column adapts to changing body size in living and extinct mammals.  I have undergraduate and master’s degrees from the Earth Sciences Department at Cambridge University. My master’s thesis, under the guidance of Dr. Anjali Goswami, investigated phylogenetic and functional influences on the pinniped (seals, sea lions and walruses) skull. 
    I also teach Human Gross Anatomy. I have been a lab-based teaching assistant for the Medical Anatomy Class, and the Summer Anatomy Program at Johns Hopkins, and the Towson University Physicians Assistants Anatomy course. I am an active member of the
American Association of Anatomists, The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology and the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.

     I have conducted fieldwork with the Rose crew in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. Here, Ken Rose collects Eocene fossils that can shed light on the origins of major mammal groups.

Follow me on twitter @Kjonestheboneson academia.edu or linkedin!


April 2016

I'm excited about the publication of my latest paper "New insights on equid locomotor evolution from the lumbar region of fossil horses" in Proceedings B!

Find out more about it in this popular science article "Tiny fossil horses put their back into it".

December 2015

We've teamed up with the Brainscoop (Field Museum) to make a series of youtube videos about our research!

Here's me dissecting a fisher cat!!

YouTube Video

New papers:

Evolutionary allometry of lumbar shape in Felidae and Bovidae

Axial allometry in a neutrally buoyant environment: Effects of the terrestrial‐aquatic transition on vertebral scaling

August 2015

Some new papers:

"Evolutionary allometry of the thoracolumbar centra in felids and bovids". Journal of Morphology

"Preliminary data on the effect of osseous anatomy on ex vivo joint mobility in the equine thoracolumbar region". Equine Veterinary Journal.

"Impact of the terrestrial-aquatic transition on disparity and rates of evolution in the carnivoran skull". BMC Evolutionary Biology.

9th July 2015

We are delighted to announce that our NSF grant, entitled "Functional evolution of the mammalian backbone: Insights from the forerunners of mammals", was funded!

16th January 2015

I have joined the Pierce lab at Harvard University as a postdoctoral researcher!

A press release I wrote for the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology was published on Newswise on January 4th.

19th November 2014

New paper out today in Nature Communications, led by my Ph.D Advisor Ken Rose, in collaboration with colleagues from Belgium and India:

"Early Eocene fossils suggest that the mammalian order Perissodactyla originated in India"
The paper presents new material of Cambaytherium and it's pivotal position at the base of the mammalian group Perissodactyla. The story has been covered by several media outlets including the Washington Post and Daily Mail.

November 2014

I'm delighted to announce that I was awarded the Romer Prize at the SVP meeting in Berlin! There were many wonderful talks and I feel very honored to have been selected. The talk was entitled "The axial skeleton: A missing puzzle-piece in the evolution of cursoriality in horses." 

October 2014

I successfully defended my dissertation on the 24th September, and it has now been officially accepted by the university. I will be graduating in December 2014! Thanks to my wonderful readers: Ken Rose, Valerie DeLeon, John Hutchinson and Liza Shapiro!  

The title of my dissertation is "Allometry of the thoracolumbar region in running mammals".

April 2014

Check out my latest paper in the journal Evolution and Development!

"Ontogenetic allometry in the thoracolumbar spine of mammal species with differing gait use" examines growth of the vertebral column in four quadrupedal mammals. We demonstrate that interspecific differences in vertebral proportions related to locomotion are produced via increased ontogenetic allometry of the lumbar region.