• Title Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Biology;
    Affiliated Faculty, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
  • Education PhD, New York University
  • Web Address http://www.evopropinquitous.net/
  • Phone 617-353-5026
  • Area of Interest primate growth and development, ontogeny and etiology of obesity, population and functional genomics, quantitative genetics, primate behavioral ecology and life history
  • CV

Current Research

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), and can be followed on social media (past field seasons at #BUvervets16, #BUvervets17, and #BUvervets18).

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.

Selected Publications

  • Savanna Monkeys: The Genus Chlorocebus. (2019) Editors: Turner TR, Schmitt CA, Cramer JD. Cambridge University Press.
  • Meredith SM, Schmitt CA (2019) The outliers are in: Queer perspectives on
    investigating variation in biological anthropology. In: Vital Topics Forum: How Academic Diversity is Transforming Scientific Knowledge in Biological Anthropology (Bolnick DA, Smith RWA, Fuentes A, Eds). American Anthropologist 121 (2): 487-489.
  • 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.
  • Hlusko LJ, Schmitt CA, Monson T, Brasil M and Mahaney MC (2016) The integration of quantitative genetics, paleontology, and neontology reveals genetic underpinnings of primate dental evolution. PNAS 113 (33): 9262-9267.
  • Jasinska AJ, Schmitt CA, Service SK, Cantor RM, Dewar K, Jentsch DJ, Kaplan JR,
    Turner TR, Warren WC, Weinstock, GM, Woods RP, Freimer NB (2013) Systems biology of the vervet monkey. ILAR / Natl Res Council 54: 122-143.

Courses Taught:

  • AN 102 Human Behavioral Biology and Evolution
  • AN/WS 233 Evolutionary Biology of Human Variation
  • AN 331/731 Human Origins
  • AN 333/733 Human Population Biology
  • AN 336/736 Primate Evolutionary Ecology
  • AN 558 Human Sex Differences
  • AN 597 Project Design and Statistics in Biological Anthropology

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