Kristen Prufrock, PhD

Kristen Prufrock, PhD

Assistant Professor of Anatomy in Neuroscience

Research description

My research takes a biomechanical approach to investigate how diet and the demands of food processing shape the mammalian chewing system, both within an animal’s lifetime and over evolutionary time. I use gross anatomy, muscle fiber architecture, and 3D models generated from microCT scans to explore this relationship.

Selected publications

  • Rose KD, Perry JMG, Prufrock KA, Weems RE. Early Eocene omomyid from the Nanjemoy Formation of Virginia: first primate from the Atlantic coastal plain. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 2021. doi: 10.1080/02724634.2021.1923340
  • Paddock K, Zeigler L, Harvey B, Prufrock KA, Liptak JM, Ficorilli CM, Hogg RT, Bonar CJ, Evans S, Williams L, Vinyard CJ, DeLeon VB, Smith TD. Comparative dental anatomy in newborn primates: Cusp mineralization. The Anatomical Record. 2019; 303: 2415-2475. doi: 10.1002/ar.24326.
  • Rose KD, Perry JMG, Kumar K, Prufrock KA, Dunn RE, Rana R, Smith T. New fossils from Tadkeshwar Mine (Gujarat, India) increase primate diversity from the early Eocene Cambay Shale. Journal of Human Evolution. 2018; 122: 93-107. doi: 10.1016/j.jhevol.2018.05.006.
  • López-Torres S, Selig KR, Prufrock KA, Lin D, Silcox MT. Dental topographic analysis of paromomyid (Plesiadapiformes, Primates) cheek teeth: more than 15 million years of changing surfaces and shifting ecologies. Historical Biology. 2018; 30: 76-88. doi: 10.1080/08912963.2017.1289378.
  • Prufrock KA, López-Torres S, Silcox MT, Boyer DM. Surfaces and spaces: methods in the study of dental topography and an application to the question of dietary niche space overlap between North American stem primates and rodents. Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties. 2016; 4: 024005. doi: 10.1088/2051-672X/4/2/024005.
  • Prufrock KA, Boyer DM, Silcox MT. The first major primate extinction: an evaluation of paleoecological dynamics of North American stem primates using a homology free measure of tooth shape. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2016; 159: 683-697. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22927.


2020, PhD, Functional Anatomy and Evolution, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

2014, MSc, Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Toronto

2012, HBSc, Biological Anthropology and Zoology, University of Toronto


Duke Lemur Center Director’s Fund for “Ontogeny of the Chewing System in Strepsirrhines”

Canadian Association for Biological Anthropology Shelley Saunders Thesis Research Award for “Ontogeny of the Chewing System in Strepsirrhines”