Curator/Professor, Integrative Biology
Her research: Leslea studies the genetic basis of mammalian skeletal variation and evolution. She is particularly interested in primate teeth and takes a two-pronged approach to the issue that integrates quantitative genetics with paleontology.
Her goals: "My overall goal is to better understand how genes have influenced anatomical variation so that when we go back and look at the fossil record, we can interpret changes in bony morphology with a more accurate understanding of what that's reflecting at a genetic level."
How she works: "In my Berkeley lab I work to unravel the genetic variance of mammalian teeth, but my fieldwork is primarily African, focused on the last 10 million years."
On her field site in Ethiopia: "This place is just littered with monkeys! Every other fossil you pick up is a monkey with a really nice dentition!"
What she loves about research: "I got into this because I love to find fossils. When it comes right down to it, every new fossil - that's where the data are going to come from. The way that we interpret those data may change, but that fossil I found will still be there, and will be interpreted in new ways and better ways."
- Monson, T.A., Armitage, D.W., and Hlusko, L.J. 2018. Using machine learning to classify extant apes and interpret the dental morphology of the chimpanzee-human last common ancestor. PaleoBios. 35:1-20
- Monson, T.A., Coleman, J.L., and Hlusko, L.J. 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., and Hlusko, L.J. 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., Brasil, M.F., and Hlusko, L.J. 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