Kari Allen, PhD

Kari Allen, PhD

Assistant Professor of Anatomy in Neuroscience


The Allen laboratory focuses on the interpretation of adaptive function in the fossil record via comparative mammalian anatomy and behavior and the use of these data to reconstruct ecological and evolutionary pressures acting on extinct primate communities.

In particular, two main points of interest are:

  1. The timing and ecological correlates of brain size evolution, brain proportions, and cranial anatomy in primates
  2. The use of cranio-dental anatomy to reconstruct ecological adaptations (e.g. feeding ecology) in the fossil record

Selected publications

  • Van Handel AC, Lynch LM, Daruwalla JH, Higgins JP, Allen KL, Pet MA. 2021. Medial femoral trochlea flap reconstruction versus proximal row carpectomy for Kienböck’s disease: a morphometric comparison. Journal of Hand Surgery (European Volume). July 21, 2021; 17531934211031862. doi: 10.1177/17531934211031862. Online ahead of print.
  • Sansalone G, Allen K, Ledogar JA, Ledogar S, Mitchell DR, Profico A, Castiglione S, Melchionna M, Serio C, Mondanaro A, Raia P, Wroe S. Variation in the strength of allometry drives rates of evolution in primate brain shape. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2020; 287(1930):20200807. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2020.0807. Epub July 8, 2020.
  • Allen KL, Cooke SB, Gonzales LB, Kay RF. Dietary inference from upper and lower molar morphology in platyrrhine primates. PLoS ONE. 2015; 10(3):e0118732. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118732.
  • Gongora J, Cuddahee RE, do Nascimento FF, Palgrave CJ, Lowden S, Ho SYW, Simond D, Damayanti CS, White DJ, Tay WT, Randi E, Klingel H, Rodrigues-Zarate CJ, Allen K, Moran C, Larson G. Rethinking the evolution of extant sub-Saharan African suids (Suidae, Artiodactyla). Zoologica Scripta. 2011; 40(4)327-335. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-6409.2011.00480.x.
  • Allen KL, Kay RF. Dietary quality and encephalization in platyrrhine primates. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 2011; 279(1729):715-21. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2011.1311.


2005 BA, Anthropology, State University of New York at Potsdam (minor certificates: Biological Anthropology, Studio Art)

2008 MA, Biological Anthropology, New Mexico State University

2014 PhD, Biological Anthropology and Anatomy, Duke University

Selected honors

2013 Pollitzer Travel Award, competitive essay award, American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) for conference travel

2013-2014 Bass Instructorship, Duke University, competitive fellowship, teaching award, and living stipend for academic year.

2014 Distinguished Service Teaching Award. Washington University School of Medicine.