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David J. Daegling, Ph.D.

Photo of professor Daegling
Office: Turlington Hall, Room B376
Phone: (352) 294-7603


  • Ph.D. Anthropology, Stony Brook University, 1990
  • M.A. Anthropology, Stony Brook University, 1989
  • B.A. Anthropology, Pitzer College, 1982

Research Interests

Biomechanical modeling, skeletal structures, occlusal dental microwear, functional morphology, primates, skeletal biomechanics, morphometrics, craniofacial skeletons, locomotor skeletons, primate evolution, human evolution, Côte d’Ivoire

Personal Statement

The overarching aim of my research is the development of methods and collection of data to enhance the quality of functional and adaptive inference in the paleontological record, particularly with respect to primate and human evolution. To this end, I have research foci in the areas of 1) biomechanical modeling of skeletal structures, 2) occlusal dental microwear and 3) the functional morphology of the monkeys of Taï Forest (Côte d’Ivoire). With respect to the latter work, my skeletal biomechanics and morphometrics laboratory conducts research on the material and structural properties of the craniofacial and locomotor skeletons of cercopithecoid monkeys as part of the Taï Monkey Project.

Positions and Honors

Positions and Employment

  • 2011 – present  Professor of Anthropology, University of Florida
  • 2000 – 2011 Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Florida
  • 1999 – 2000 Associate Professor of Basic Medical Sciences, California College of Podiatric Medicine
  • 1994 – 1999 Associate Professor of Anthropology, Yale University
  • 1992 – 1993 Visiting Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology & Anatomy, Duke University
  • 1990 – 1994 Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Yale University

Other Experience and Professional Memberships

  • American Association of Physical Anthropologists
  • National Center for Science Education


  • 2016 University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship
  • 2015 Colonel Allan R. and Margaret G. Crow Term Professor of Anthropology, UF
  • 2010 Colonel Allan R. and Margaret G. Crow Term Professor of Anthropology, UF
  • 1996 Yale University Senior Faculty Fellowship in the Social Sciences
  • 1992 Yale University Junior Faculty Fellowship in the Social Sciences
  • 1989 Oschinsky-McKern Award, Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology
  • 1988 Mildred Trotter Award, American Association of Physical Anthropologists

Selected Publications

Publications Available on Google Scholar

Contribution to Science

Biomechanical modeling of skeletal structures

The focus of this work is to develop and test models that chharacterize stress and strain profiles and are applicable to comparative samples. Representative publications:

  • Rapoff, A.J., McGraw, W.S., Duque, A., Daegling, D.J. 2017. Brief communication: Correlation between elastic modulus and radiographic density in mandibular cortical bone of colobine monkeys. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 163:187-91.
  • Daegling D.J., Granatosky, M.C., McGraw, W.S. 2014. Spatial patterning of bone stiffness in the anterior mandibular corpus of Macaca fascicularis: Implications for models of bone adaptation. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 156:649-660 doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22682.
  • Daegling, D.J. 2002. Estimation of torsional rigidity in primate long bones. J. Human Evol. 43: 229-239.

Dental Microwear

This work investigates the impact of diet and ingestive behavior in the formation of occlusal microwear, with the aim of improving dietary inference in the fossil record. Representative publications:

  • Daegling, D.J., Hua, L-C., Ungar, P.S. 2016.The role of food stiffness in dental microwear feature formation. Archs. Oral Biol. 71:16-23.
  • Daegling, D.J., McGraw, W.S., Ungar, P.S., Pampush, J.D., Vick, A.E., Bitty, A.E. 2011. Hard-object feeding in sooty mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) and interpretation of early hominin feeding ecology. PLoS ONE 6(8): e23095.
  • Daegling, D.J. and Grine, F.E. 1994. Bamboo feeding, dental microwear, and diet of the Pleistocene ape Gigantopithecus blacki. S. Afr. J. Sci. 90: 527-532.


My research in the hominin fossil record is focused on functional and biomechanical inference with respect to mastication, with a view toward understanding linkages between feeding ecology and morphology. Representative publications:

  • Daegling, D.J., Carlson, K.J., Tafforeau, P., De Ruiter, D.J., Berger, L.R. 2016. Comparative biomechanics of Australopithecus sediba mandibles. J. Human Evol. 100:73-86.
  • Daegling, D.J., Judex, S., Ozcivici, E., Ravosa, M.J., Taylor, A.T., Grine, F.E., Teaford, M.F., Ungar, P.S. 2013. Viewpoints: Feeding mechanics, diet, and dietary adaptations in early hominins. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 151:356-371. doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22281.
  • Daegling, D.J. and Grine, F.E. 2017. Feeding behavior and diet in Paranthropus boisei: the limits of functional inference from the mandible. In: Marom, A., Hovers, E. (eds): Human Paleontology and Prehistory: Contributions in Honor of Yoel Rak, Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series, Springer International, pp 109-125. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-46646-0_9.

Science Education and Skeptical Inquiry

Are there unknown apes roaming about the North American wilderness? Representative publications:

  • Daegling, D.J. 2004. Bigfoot Exposed: An Anthropologist Examines America’s Enduring Legend. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.
  • Daegling, D.J. and Schmitt, D.O. 1999. Bigfoot’s Screen Test. Skeptical Inquirer 23 (3): 20-25.

Research Support

Ongoing Research Support

National Science Foundation
  • 2014 – 2017
  • “Biomechanical significance of bone material variation in the primate locomotor skeleton”
  • Lead PI on collaborative grant

Completed Research Support (within the past three years)


Courses Taught