Shannon McFarlin

Shannon McFarlin

Associate Professor of Anthropology
Faculty: Full-Time
SEH 6810
Address: Lab: SEH / 202-994-7819
Phone: 202-994-4245
[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.


Dr. McFarlin is a biological anthropologist with expertise in mineralized tissue histology. Besides her appointment in Anthropology, she is an Adjunct Instructor of Anatomy and Regenerative Biology and a Research Associate at GW's Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology.


Current Research

For the latest information about Dr. McFarlin's research, visit her GW Primate Life History Lab website.



To see Dr. McFarlin's CV, click here.

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; of catarrhine primates: The influence of bone growth history," Journal of Anatomy 213(3): 308-324.

Classes Taught

To see syllabi, click on the course title.

Anth 1001: Biological Anthropology
Anth 3401: Human Functional Anatomy
Anth 3411: Primatology
Anth 6404: Evolution of Primate Life Histories
Anat 6210: Gross Anatomy
Anat 6213: Human Microscopic Anatomy


Last updated June 9, 2017