Magdalena N. Muchlinski

Research Description: 

Feeding Ecology, functional morphology, sensory ecology, primate bioenergetics, primate fossil record, phylogenetic methods, and early primate evolution. 

Dr. Muchlinski is a sensory ecologist and functional morphologist who is interested in how organisms acquire and respond to information about their environment. Although she mainly studies primate feeding ecology, touch and taste, she is interested in any research at the interfaces between neuroscience, physiology, sensory biology, ecology, and behavior.


Dr. Muchlinski’s research questions focus on the evolution and diversification of early primates.  She am interested in identifying ecological explanations for why we (primates) have grasping hands, forward facing eyes, relatively large brains, nails instead of claws, etc.  She uses the comparative method to identify anatomical and ecological correlates in living animals. Results from her research can then be applied to the fossil record in order to evaluate early primate origin hypothesis. She is currently working on three major projects:


1. The evolution of the primate gustatory, somatosensory, and visual systems. 

2. Body composition variation in primates: muscularity and adiposity.

3. Morphological plasticity in the hand in response to environmental differences in the red and grey mouse lemur


Dr. Muchlinski also focuses a significant portion of her energy on educational pursuits.  The majority of her efforts focus on her pre-nursing undergraduates.  She teaches Anatomy and Physiology and Dental Gross Anatomy.  In her spare time she also enjoys teaching primate anatomy and evolution to undergraduate anthropology students. 

Selected Publications: 

Muchlinski MN.  2008. The infraorbital foramen, infraorbital nerve, and maxillary mechanoreception: Implications of interpreting the paleoecology of fossil mammals based on infraorbital foramen size.  The Anatomical Record 291:1221–1226

Muchlinski MN. 2010.  Ecological correlates of infraorbital foramen area in primates.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology.  141(1): 131-141.

Raichlen D,Gordon AD, Muchlinski MN, Snodgrass JJ. 2010. Exceptions prove the rule: Residual variation in mammalian basal metabolism is explained by fractal models of blood supply.  Journal of Comparative Physiology B.

Muchlinski MN. 2010.  A comparative analysis of vibrissa count and infraorbital foramen area in  primates and other mammals.  Journal of Human Evolution 58: 447-473.

Muchlinski MN, Godfrey LR, Muldoon KM, Tongasoa L.  2011. Evidence for dietary niche separation based on infraorbital foramen size variation among subfossil lemurs. Folia Primatologica. 81(6): 330-345.

Muchlinski MN.  In Press. The ecology of touch: Are prosimians special?  In: Masters J, Gamba M, Génin F, editors. Leaping Ahead: Advances in Prosimian Biology.  New York: Springer.

Muchlinski MN, Snodgrass JJ, and Terranova CJ. Accepted. Muscle mass scaling in primates: An energetic and ecological perspective.  American Journal of Primatology

Muchlinski MN and Perry J. Accepted.  Anatomical correlates to nectar-feeding among the strepsirhines of Madagascar: Implications for interpreting the fossil record.  Anatomy Research International special issue titled: New Models and Insights into Primate Evolutionary Morphology

Muchlinski MN, Paesani SM, Burrow AM, Smith TD, Alport LJ. Accepted. Behavioral and ecological consequences of sex based differences in taste bud densities in Cebus apella. Anatomical Records: Special issues on New World Monkeys.

Organ JM, Muchlinski MN, Deane AS.  Accepted. Mechanoreceptivity of prehensile tail skin varies between atelines and Cebus. Anatomical Records: Special issues on New World Monkeys