Christopher Schmitt

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Biology

schmittOffice: Stone Science Building, Room 247E
Office Phone: 617-353-5026
Spring 2020: TBD

Education History
PhD, New York University – Biological Anthropology
MA, New York University – Biological Anthropology
BS, University of Wisconsin, Madison – English Literature & Zoology

Research Interests

The central research questions of my lab involve primate development and life history and incorporate techniques from behavioral ecology, morphometrics, and genomics across the Order Primates and in vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus spp.), in particular.

Through intensive fieldwork across Africa and the Caribbean with the International Vervet Research Consortium we have collected biological samples from over two thousand wild vervet monkeys. Current projects using this dataset include characterizing evolutionary patterns in the developmental morphometrics of various vervet populations, including the use of population and comparative genomic techniques. We also investigate the genomics of obesity during development in over 700 fully sequenced and pedigreed captive vervets at Wake Forest University. Work is ongoing to assess the phenotypic impact of captive-discovered QTL in our extensive wild sample, assessing variability in phenotype expression and population-specific selection based on local ecology and anthropogenic impacts. Field work for these projects is ongoing (UROP students are welcome to apply), and can be followed on social media at #BUvervets.

Another area of investigation is the evolution of dental phenotypes across primates. With colleagues at UC Berkeley, we have discovered a method for better understanding the underlying genetic architecture of dental phenotypes using quantitative genetics and metric measures of museum specimens. Students in my lab have ongoing projects in local museums collecting dental measurements of both extant and fossil New World monkeys and lemurs with the goal of better understanding the evolution of these dental phenotypes across primates.

You can learn more at my personal website:

Recent Publications

Schmitt CA, Service S, Cantor RM, Jasinska AJ, Jorgensen MJ, Kaplan JR, and Freimer NB. 2018. High heritability of obesity and obesogenic growth are both highly heritable and modified by diet in a nonhuman primate model, the African green monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus). International Journal of Obesity 42: 765-774.Turner TR, Schmitt CA, Cramer JD, Lorenz J, Grobler JP, Jolly CJ, and Freimer NB. 2018. Morphological variation in the genus Chlorocebus: Ecogeographic and anthropogenically mediated variation in body mass, postcranial morphology, and growth. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 166: 682-707

Savanna Monkeys: The Genus Chlorocebus. 2019. Editors: Turner TR, Schmitt CA, Cramer JD. Cambridge University Press.


View Professor Schmitt’s CV