Christopher Gilbert

Associate Professor Department of Anthropology Hunter College and The Graduate Center City University of New York


A.B. 2000, Duke University M.A. 2005, Stony Brook University Ph.D. 2008, Stony Brook University



Tel: (212) 396-6578

Fax: (212) 772-5423

Overview of Research

Broadly, I am interested in primate evolution during the past 65 million years with current research projects spanning from the Eocene to the present.  Most of my focus has been on the evolutionary history and biogeography of cercopithecoid monkeys, with recent projects investigating the Plio-Pleistocene biochronology of these animals in Africa and its relationship to hominin evolution.  Over the past few years, I have been conducting paleontological fieldwork in the Neogene deposits of the Siwalik Hills, India, along with my colleagues Biren Patel (University of Southern California) and Rajeev Patnaik (Panjab University), largely aimed at more accurately and precisely dating the fossiliferous deposits surrounding the classic ape-bearing locality of Ramnagar.  In addition, with my colleague Stephen Chester (Brooklyn College, CUNY), we are in the beginning stages of a field project focused on early primate evolution in the Paleocene and Eocene of Wyoming.   

Current Research Interests Include:

·       Neogene primate evolution, biochronology, and biogeography in Africa and Asia

·       Evolutionary history and phylogenetic systematics of the cercopithecoids, biogeography and biochronology of Plio-Pleistocene cercopithecoids and its relationship to hominin evolution

·       Paleocene-Eocene primate ecomorphology, diversity, biogeography, and evolution 

·       Character coding methodology in phylogenetic analysis, comparison of cladistic and morphometric methods in phylogenetic analysis, phylogenetic analysis and primate evolution

·       3-D geometric morphometrics in the analysis of primate cranial diversity


Edited Books

Gilbert CC and Frost SR, eds.  (under contract).  The Fossil Cercopithecidae of the African Plio-Pleistocene: Systematics, Evolution, and Biochronology.  Springer.

Fleagle JG and Gilbert CC, eds.  (2008).  Elwyn Simons: A Search for Origins.  New York: Springer.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Gilbert CC, Frost SR, and Delson E.  (submitted).  Reassessment of the Olduvai Bed I cercopithecoids: a new biochronological link to the South African fossil record.  Journal of Human Evolution.

Gilbert CC, Takahashi MQ, Delson E.  (in press).  Cercopithecoid humeri from Taung support the distinction of major papionin clades in the South African fossil record.  Journal of Human Evolution.

Gilbert CC, Steininger CM, Kibii JM, Berger LR.  (2015).  Papiocranium from the hominin-bearing site of Malapa: implications for the evolution of modern baboon cranial morphology and South African Plio-Pleistocene biochronology.  PLoS ONE 10(8), e0133361. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0133361

DeVreese L,Gilbert CC.  (2015).  Phylogenetic relationships within the Cercocebus-Mandrillus clade as indicated by craniodental morphology: implications for evolutionary biogeography.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 158: 227-241.

Frost SR, Gilbert CC, Pugh KD, Guthrie E, Delson E.  (2015).  The hand of Cercopithecoides williamsi (Mammalia, Primates): Earliest fossil evidence for pollical reduction among colobine monkeys and its implications for their evolution.  PLoS ONE 10(5): e0125030. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125030

Gilbert CC, Maiolino S.  (2015).  Comment to “Primates in the Eocene” by Gingerich (2012).  Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments 95: 237-241.

Porter LM,Gilbert CC, Fleagle JG.  (2014).  Diet and phylogeny in primate communities.  International Journal of Primatology 35: 1144-1163.

Gilbert CC, Bibi F, Hill A, Beech M.  (2014).  An early guenon from the late Miocene Baynunah Formation, Abu Dhabi, with implications for cercopithecoid biogeography and evolution.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111: 10119-10124.

Gilbert CC, Patel BA, Friedman AC, Pugh KD, Fleagle JG, Patnaik R.  (2014).  New Lower Siwalik localities near Ramnagar, India: implications for the earliest Asian great apes and other mammalian lineages.  Special Publication of the Palaeontological Society of India 5: 353-365.

Rothman JM, Raubenheimer D, Bryer MAH, Takahashi M, Gilbert CC. (2014).  Nutritional contributions of insects to primate diets: implications for primate evolution.  Journal of Human Evolution 71: 59-69.

Roberts P, Delson E, Miracle P, Ditchfield P, Roberts RG, Jacobs Z, Blinkhorn J, Ciochon RL, Fleagle JG, Frost SR, Gilbert CC, Gunnell GF, Harrison T, Korisettar R, Petraglia MD.  (2014).  Continuity of Mammalian Fauna Over the Last 200,000 Years in the Indian Subcontinent.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111: 5848-5853.

Rossie JB, Gilbert CC, and Hill A.  (2013).  Early cercopithecid monkeys from the Tugen Hills, Kenya.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 110: 5818-5822.

Gilbert CC.  (2013).  Cladistic analysis of extant and fossil African papionins using craniodental data.  Journal of Human Evolution 64: 399-433.

Hart JA, Detwiler KM, Gilbert CC, Burrell AS, Fuller JL, Emetshu M, Hart TB, Vosper A, Sargis EJ, Tosi AJ. (2012).  Lesula: A New Species of Cercopithecus Monkey Endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Implications for Conservation of Congo’s Central Basin. PLoS ONE 7(9): e44271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044271

Maiolino S, Boyer DM, Bloch JI, Gilbert CC, and Groenke J.  (2012).  Evidence for a Grooming Claw in a North American Adapiform Primate: Implications for Anthropoid Origins.  PLoS ONE 7(1): e29135. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029135

Gilbert CC,Goble ED, Kingston JD, and Hill A.  (2011).  Partial Skeleton of Theropithecus brumpti (Primates: Cercopithecidae) from the Chemeron Formation of the Tugen Hills, Kenya.  Journal of Human Evolution 61: 347-362.

Gilbert CC, Stanley WT, OlsonLE, DavenportTRB, and Sargis EJ.  (2011).  Morphological systematics of the kipunji (Rungwecebus kipunji) and the ontogenetic development of phylogenetically informative characters in the Papionini.  Journal of Human Evolution 60: 731-745.

Gilbert CC.  (2011).  Phylogenetic analysis of the African papionin basicranium using 3-D geometric morphometrics: the need for improved methods to account for allometric effects.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 144: 60-71.

Gilbert CC, Goble ED, and Hill A.  (2010).  Miocene Cercopithecoidea from the Tugen Hills, Kenya.  Journal of Human Evolution 59: 465-483.

Fleagle JG, Gilbert CC, and Baden AL.  (2010).  Primate cranial diversity.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 142: 565-578.

Gilbert CC and Grine FE.  (2010).  Morphometric variation in the papionin muzzle and the biochronology of the South African Plio-Pleistocene karst cave deposits.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 141: 418-429.

Gilbert CC, Frost SR, and Strait DS.  (2009).  Allometry, sexual dimorphism, and phylogeny: a cladistic analysis of extant African papionins using craniodental data.  Journal of Human Evolution 57: 298-320.

Gilbert CC, McGraw WS, and Delson E.  (2009).  Plio-Pleistocene eagle predation on fossil cercopithecids from the Humpata Plateau, southern Angola.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 139: 421-429. 

Gilbert CC.  (2007).  Identification and description of the first Theropithecus (Primates: Cercopithecidae) material from Bolt's Farm, South Africa.  Annals of the Transvaal Museum 44: 1-10.

Olejniczak AJ, Gilbert CC, Martin LB, Smith TM, Ulhaas L, and Grine, F.  (2007).  Maxillary molar enamel-dentine junction morphology in anthropoid primates.  Journal of Human Evolution 53: 292-301. 

Gilbert CCand Rossie JB.  (2007).  Congruence of molecules and morphology using a narrow allometric approach.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104: 11910-11914.

Gilbert CC.  (2007).  Craniomandibular morphology supporting the diphyletic origin of mangabeys and a new genus of the Cercocebus/Mandrillus clade,ProcercocebusJournal of Human Evolution 53: 69-102.

Patel BA, Gilbert CC, and Ericson KE.  (2007).  Cercopithecoid cervical vertebral morphology and implications for the presence of Theropithecus in early Pleistocene Europe.  Journal of Human Evolution 52: 113-129. 

Gilbert CC.  (2005).  Dietary ecospace and the diversity of euprimates during the Early and Middle Eocene.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 126: 237-249.

Pochron ST, Fitzgerald J, Gilbert CC, Lawrence D, Grgas M, Rakotonirina G, Ratsimbazafy R, Rakotosoa R, and Wright PC.  (2003).  Patterns of female dominance in Propithecus diadema edwardsi of Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar.  American Journal of Primatology 61: 173-185.      

Fleagle JG, Gilbert CC, and Baden AL.  (in prep).  Primate cranial diversity: the impact of fossil taxa.

Edited Book Chapters

Fleagle JG and Gilbert CC.  (2011).  Introduction to All the World’s Primates: Primate Evolution.  In: All the World’s Primates, Noel Rowe, Marc Myers, eds.  Primate Conservation Inc., Charlestown RI.

Baden AL and Gilbert CC.  (2011).  Entry for Propithecus coquereli.  In: All the World’s Primates, Noel Rowe, Marc Myers, eds.  Primate Conservation Inc., Charlestown RI.

Fleagle JG, Royer DF, and Gilbert CC.  (2011).  Entry for Homo sapiens.  In: All the World’s Primates, Noel Rowe, Marc Myers, eds. Charlestown RI.

Jernvall J, Gilbert CC, and Wright, PC.  (2008).  Peculiar teeth homologies of the greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur = Hapalemur simus): when is a paracone not a paracone?  In:Elwyn Simons: A Search for Origins, Fleagle JG and Gilbert CC, eds.  New York: Springer.  pp. 335-342.

Simons EL, Chatrath P, Gilbert CC, and Fleagle JG.  (2008).  Five Decades in the Fayum.  In:Elwyn Simons: A Search for Origins, Fleagle JG and Gilbert CC, eds.  New York: Springer.  pp. 51-70.

Fleagle JG and Gilbert CC.  (2006).  Biogeography and the primate fossil record: the role of tectonics, climate, and chance.  In: Primate Biogeography, Lehman S and Fleagle JG, eds.  New York: Springer.  pp. 375-418.

Selected Media/Press

New York Times- Bhanoo, S. (August 24, 2015).  A Piece of the Earliest Baboon Ever Found.

Live Science- Geggel, L.  (August 21, 2015).  Skull of Earliest Baboon Discovered.

Nature World News- Mathewson, S.  (August 20, 2015).  Baboon Species Fossil Identified in South Africa.

International Business Times- Martin, S.  (August 19, 2015).  Archaeologists discover earliest known baboon relative.

JSTOR Daily- Callier, V.  (April 29, 2015).  Is Darwinius really “the missing link” to humans?

Nature Middle East- Costandi, M.  (July 2, 2014).  Fossil gives new insight on cheek pouch monkeys.

The National- Bardsley, D. (June 30, 2014).  Monkey tooth gets to the root of UAE life millions of years ago.

YaleNews- Shelton, J. (June 30, 2014).  Ancient tooth offers clues to how and when monkeys left Africa.

The National- Bardsley, D.  (March 1, 2014).  Fossilised tooth found in Western Region provides further evidence that monkeys lived in Arabia seven million years ago.

YaleNews- Gershon, E.  (March 19, 2013).  Tooth pushes back modern monkeys’ first ancestor three million years.

Live Science- Choi, C.  (March 18, 2013).  Fossils of earliest Old World monkeys unearthed. Kluger, J. (December 4, 2012).  Top 10 New Species of 2012- 4. The Congolese Cercopithecus lomamiensis monkey.

Yale Daily News- Sidorova, A. (October 4, 2012).  New species of Monkey Found in Congo. McKenzie, D.  (September 12, 2012).  New Monkey Discovered.

New York Times- Bhanoo, Sindya N.  (January 16, 2012).  Toe Fossil Contributes to a Head-Scratcher.

Live Science- Welsh, J.  (January 11, 2012).  Lemur-like toes complicate human lineage.

New Haven Advocate- Blair, J.  (March 31, 2010).  Little Horrors: How Yale Made Friends with Tiny Flesh-Eaters.

Live Science-Moskowitz, C.  (May 20, 2009).  Amid Media Circus, Scientists Doubt “Ida” is Your Ancestor.

Newsday-Hernandez, C.  (July 19, 2007).  Anatomy of Evolution: Stony Brook study shows body size, not DNA, could unlock links between fossils and living animals.