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Tesla Monson
Hlusko Lab

Tesla Monson


Phone: (510) 643-8851

Web page:

My research focuses on the evolution of mammalian craniodental variation, the genetic architecture of morphological patterning, and the evolution of adaptive traits. My projects have included quantitative analyses of primate dentition, the characterization of extant and fossil species variation, the evolution of phenotypic integration of the cranium and face as well as museum-based reports on paleontological collections. For my dissertation, I am investigating the evolution of dental eruption patterns in mammals.

In addition to my strong focus on research, I am committed to science education and outreach. My service with museums and committees is complimented by my long-standing work as the host and producer of The Graduates, a science radio talk show broadcast bimonthly on KALX 90.7FM and available as a podcast. The Graduates features UC Berkeley graduate student research and is committed to advancing diversity in STEM, highlighting paths to research and providing advice to younger generations of students interested in science.


Hlusko, L.J., J.P. Carlson, G. Chaplin, S.A. Elias, J.F. Hoffecker, M. Huffman, N.G. Jablonski, T.A. Monson, D.H. O'Rourke, M.A. Pilloud, and G.R. Scott. 2018. Environmental selection during the last ice age on the mother-to-infant transmission of vitamin D and fatty acids through breast milk. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, p.201711788.  Read it

Monson, T.A., and L.J. Hlusko. 2018. Breaking the rules: phylogeny, not life history, explains dental eruption sequence in primates. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 167(2):217 - 233.  Read it

Monson, T.A., D.W. Armitage, and L.J. Hlusko. 2018. Using machine learning to classify extant apes and interpret the dental morphology of the chimpanzee-human last common ancestor. PaleoBios. 35:1 - 20.  Read it

Monson, T.A., J.L. Coleman, L.J. Hlusko. 2018. Craniodental allometry, prenatal growth rates, and the evolutionary loss of the third molars in New World monkeys. The Anatomical Record. doi: 10.1002/ar.23979  Read it

Monson, T.A., M.F. Brasil, and L.J. Hlusko. 2018. Allometric variation in modern humans and the relationship between body proportions and elite athletic success. Journal of Sport of Anthropology and Physical Education. 2.3:3 - 8.  Read it

Monson, T.A., M.F. Brasil, D.J. Stratford, and L.J. Hlusko. 2017. Patterns of craniofacial variation and taxonomic diversity in the South African Cercopithecidae fossil record. Palaeontologia Electronica, 20.1.7A: 1-20.  Read it

Hlusko, L.J., C.A. Schmitt, T.A. Monson, M.F. Brasil, and M.C. Mahaney. 2016. The integration of quantitative genetics, paleontology, and neontology reveals genetic underpinnings of primate dental evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113(33):9262 - 9267.   Read it

Monson, T.A., and L.J. Hlusko. 2016. The evolution of dental eruption sequence in artiodactyls. Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 1:1-12.   Read it

Monson, T. A., Brasil, M. F., and Hlusko, L. J. 2015. Materials collected by the southern branch of the UC Africa Expedition with a report on previously unpublished Plio-Pleistocene fossil localities. PaleoBios. 32(1):1-17.  Read it

Monson, T.A. and L.J. Hlusko. 2014. Identification of a derived dental trait in the papionini relative to other old world monkeys. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 155(3):422-429.  Read it

Gutierrez, S., T. Monson, and L.J. Hlusko. 2013. An analysis of Struthio sp. eggshells from the Middle and Late Stone Age of the Transvaal, South Africa. SACNAS, Santa Cruz. 40:84. Notes: Abstract for a poster presentation  Read it

Marquez II, B., T. Monson, and L.J. Hlusko. 2013. The bovidae of Gladysvale Cave and the environmental implications in the context of other fossil-bearing localities in the northern Transvaal region, South Africa. SACNAS, Santa Cruz. 40:83. Notes: Abstract for a poster presentation  Read it

Monson, T., and L.J. Hlusko. 2012. Metameric variation in the expression of the interconulus in Papio and Macaca. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 147:216 Notes: Abstract for poster presentation  Read it