Shannon McFarlin

Shannon McFarlin headshot
Associate Professor of Anthropology
SEH 6810
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Dr. McFarlin is a biological anthropologist and hard tissue biologist with interests in understanding the factors that shape variation in growth, development and life history in humans and other primates, as well as what skeletal tissues can reveal about life history evolution in the past. She approaches this through a program of interdisciplinary and collaborative research based both in the laboratory and the field, centered particularly around several wild great ape and baboon populations that have been the focus of long-term observational study. This research integrates developmental, morphological, behavioral, ecological, and other datasets collected from wild primate populations with detailed investigations of their naturally accumulated skeletal remains, to generate a more comprehensive understanding of life history evolution in primates.

Besides her appointment in Anthropology, Dr. McFarlin is a faculty member in GW's Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Current Research

For the latest information about Dr. McFarlin's research, visit her lab website:


See Dr. McFarlin's CV for more information.

Ph.D. 2006, CUNY Graduate Center
M.Phil. 2001, CUNY Graduate Center
B.A. 1996, Georgia State University


An up-to-date list of Dr. McFarlin's publications can be found at her laboratory's publications page.

Selected Articles

2017  Galbany J, Abavandimwe D, Vakiener MV, Eckardt W, Mudakikwa A, Ndagijimana F, Stoinski TS, McFarlin SC.  Body size growth and life history in wild mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) from Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 163:570-590;

2016  McFarlin SC, Terranova CJ, Zihlman AL, Bromage TG.   Primary bone microstructure records developmental aspects of life history in catarrhine primates.  Journal of Human Evolution 92:60-79; 

2013  McFarlin SC, Barks SK, Tocheri MW, Massey JS, Eriksen AB, Fawcett KA, Stoinski TS, Hof PR, Bromage TG, Mudakikwa A, Cranfield MR, Sherwood CC.  Early brain growth cessation in Virunga mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei).  American Journal of Primatology 75:450-463;

Classes Taught

To see syllabi, click on the course title.

Anth 1001: Biological Anthropology

Anth 3401: Human Functional Anatomy

Anth 3404: Evolution of Human Life History

Anth 3411: Primatology

Anth 6101: Proseminar in Biological Anthropology

Anth 6404: Evolution of Primate Life Histories (graduate seminar)

Anat 6210: Gross Anatomy

Anat 6213: Human Microscopic Anatomy


Last updated January 10, 2020