Cetacean Science Explained

Cetacean science is exciting, but it can be difficult to understand the technical language of original scientific publications.

Click on the articles below for easy-to-read, student written summaries of recently published scientific papers on cetacean evolution.

Deméré, T.A., McGowen, M.R., Berta, A., Gatesy. J. 2008. Morphological and molecular evidence for a stepwise evolutionary transition from teeth to baleen in mysticete whales. Systematic Biology 57:15–37

Fitzgerald, E.M.G. 2006. A bizarre new toothed mysticete (Cetacea) from Australia and the early evolution of baleen whales. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 273:2955-2963

Gingerich, P.D., ul-Haq, M., von Koenigswald, W., Sanders, W.J., Smith, B.H., Zalmout, I.S. 2009. New protocetid whale from the middle Eocene of Pakistan: birth on land, precocial development, and sexual dimorphism. PLoS ONE one 4: e4366. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004366. Summary by J. Chang or Summary by R. Boessenecker.

Manger, P.R. 2006. An examination of cetacean brain structure with a novel hypothesis correlating thermogenesis to the evolution of a big brain. Biological Review 81: 293-338.

Marino, L., Butti, C., Connor, R.C., Fordyce, R.E., Herman, L.M., Hof, P.R., Lefebvre, L., Lussaeu, D., McCowan, B., Nimchinsky, E.A., Pack, A.A., Reidenberg, J.S., Reiss, D., Rendell, L., Uhen, M.D., Van der Gucht, E., Whitehead, H. 2008. A claim in search of evidence: reply to Manger's thermogenesis hypothesis of cetacean brain structure. Biological Review: 1-23.

Muizon, C. de,  Domning, D.P., Ketten, D.R. 2002. Odobenocetops peruvianus, the walrus-convergent delphinoid (Mammalia: Cetacea) from the early Pliocene of Peru. In Cenozoic mammals of land and sea, tributes to the career of Clayton E. Ray. Edited by Emry, R. E. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 93:185-222.


Evolution of Early Mammals

Studies how key mammalian features such as a keen sense of smell, enlarged brain size, and high frequency hearing developed. Current projects focus on the description of new fossil mammals from Madagascar, the evolution of the inner ear of early mammals, and morphology and genetics of the vomeronasal organ in extant vertebrates.

Principal investigator: Simone Hoffmann, Ph.D.


The Evolution of Human and Primate Locomotion

Studies how biomechanical differences between human and primate locomotion are related to differences in muscle and bone morphology. The goal is to be able to identify those bony features which can be used to infer locomotion in fossil primates, including our early human ancestors.

Principal Investigator: Nathan E Thompson, Ph.D.


Glucolipotoxicity and Mitochondrial Hormesis in Cardiometabolic Disorders

Studies the effects of excess of glucose and long-chain fatty acids on mitochondrial function and oxidative tone in adipose, renal and cardiovascular tissues.

Principal Investigator: Bardia Askari, Ph.D.


Metabolic Memory and Diabetic Vascular Complications

Studies the role of "metabolic memory" in the development of long-term vascular complications, including atherosclerosis, hypertension and stroke, in type 2 diabetes. The goal is to identify the linkage between epigenetic mechanisms and metabolic memory in diabetic vasculature.

Principal Investigator: Maria Alicia Carrillo Sepulveda, BSN, Ph.D.


Vascular Calcification and Atherosclerosis

Studies the pathophysiological effects of vascular calcification in atherosclerosis; using pre-clinical models, examines if vascular calcification should be targeted therapeutically for the reduction of coronary heart disease.

Principal Investigator: Olga V. Savinova, Ph.D.


Microbial Pathogenesis

Studies the complex interactions of infectious microorganisms with the immune system, as the balance in this interplay impacts whether host damage occurs.

Principal investigator: Luis R. Martinez, Ph.D., MBA


Health Literacy and Diabetes

Examines the effect of race, level of education, and health literacy as it relates to Type II diabetes among patients suffering from this condition.

Primary investigator: Karen Sheflin, D.O.


Diabetes and Health Habits

Examines the effect of access to accurate information on diabetic patients’ health habits.

Primary investigator: Sonia Rivera-Martinez, D.O.


Reliability of Palpation

Studies the impact of inter-operator reliability on assessment of diagnostic palpation in practicing osteopathic physicians.

Primary investigator: Sonia Rivera-Martinez, D.O.


Health Awareness

Researches the physician’s role in developing patient awareness and knowledge base related to the health implications of obesity, particularly with respect to physical activity and eating habits.

Primary investigator: Patricia Happel, D.O.