Elizabeth R. Dumont

Photograph of First Last


Contact Info

Phone: 413-545-3565
Office: 321 Morrill III South


B.A., Indiana University (Bloomington), 1985
M.A., SUNY at Stony Brook, 1989
Ph.D., SUNY at Stony Brook, 1993

Research Interests

Vertebrate Morphology

Although mammals are only a small fraction of living vertebrates, they have a significant impact on terrestrial and aquatic communities throughout the world. Despite their relatively limited numbers, mammals are anatomically and behaviorally diverse. One need only imagine a mouse next to a whale to realize that the world's 4,650 species of mammals come in a tremendous variety of sizes and shapes. This variation reflects the adaptations of mammals to a wide array of habitats that offer different rewards and challenges to the species that reside in them. Food is essential to survival and one of the most fundamental interactions between animals and their environment is that of feeding. The jaws and teeth of mammals are remarkably diverse and reflect the variety of dietary specializations within the group.

The over-riding goal of my research is to understand the evolution of feeding strategies in mammals. This requires integration of data from a number of sources. One area of my research is analyzing the variation in anatomy associated with feeding. In my lab we study skull and tooth shape from the perspective of their mechanical functions using techniques ranging from confocal and scanning electron microscopy through multivariate statistics and mathematical analyses of bone cross-sections. While laboratory analysis tells us a lot about bone/tooth function, it is also important to understand how animals use their anatomy under natural conditions. To that end, I also maintain an active field-based research program focused on documenting variation in feeding behavior within and among closely related species. By coupling lab-based anatomical studies with field-based behavioral studies, we can begin to understand the ecological context in which diversity of feeding strategies evolved. With anatomical and behavioral data in hand, I also apply modern phylogenetic techniques to ask fundamental questions about the strength of associations between anatomy and behavior in the evolution of mammalian feeding.

Representative Publications

Irschick, D.J., R.C. Albertson, P. Brennan, J. Podos, N. Johnson, S. Patek and E.R. Dumont. 2013. Evo-devo beyond morphology: From genes to resource use. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 28(5):267-73.DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2012.12.004.

Berthaume, M.A., Dumont, E.R., Godfrey, L.R., Grosse, I.R. 2013. How does tooth cusp radius of curvature affect brittle food item processing? Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 10: 20130240.

Santana, S.E., Grosse, I. and Dumont, E.R. 2012. Loading behavior, dietary hardness and the evolution of skull form in bats. Evolution Early View, DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01615.x

Santana, S.E., Geipel, I., Dumont, E.R., Kalka, M.B., Kalko, E.K.V. 2011. All you can eat: High performance capacity and plasticity in the Common Big-Eared bat, Micronycteris microtis (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae). PLoS ONE, 6(12): e28584.

Dumont, E.R., L.M. Dávalos, A. Goldberg, S.E. Santana, K. Rex and C.C. Voigt. 2012. Morphological innovation, diversification and invasion of a new adaptive zone. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 279(1734): 1797-805. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.2005.

Hammond, A.S., E.R. Dumont, and R.C. McCarthy. 2011. The effect of unerupted permanent tooth crowns on the distribution of masticatory stress in children. PLoS One, 6(12): e29121.

Leysen, H., E.R. Dumont, L. Brabant, L. Van Hoorebeke and D. Adriaens, 2011. Modeling stress in the feeding apparatus of seahorses and pipefishes (Teleostei: Syngnathidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 104: 680-691.

Godfrey, L.R., B.E. Crowley, and E.R. Dumont. 2011. Thinking outside the box: A lemur’s take on hominin craniodental evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol. 108 (38): E742.

Herrel, A., H.F. Choi, E.R. Dumont, N. De Schepper, B. Vanhooydonck, P. Aerts and D. Adriaens. 2011. Burrowing and subsurface locomotion in anguilliform fish: behavioral specializations and mechanical constraints. Journal of Experimental Biology, 214: 1379-1385.

Dumont, E.R., T.M. Ryan and L.R. Godfrey. 2011. The Hadropithecus conundrum reconsidered, with implications for interpreting diet in fossil hominins. Proceeding of the Royal Society, B 278: 3654-3661.

Wood, S.A., D.S. Strait, E.R. Dumont, C. F. Ross and I.R. Grosse. 2011. The effects of modeling simplifications on craniofacial finite element models: The alveoli (tooth sockets) and periodontal ligaments. Journal of Biomechanics, 44: 1831-1838.

Santana, S.E., S.G. Strait and E.R. Dumont. 2011. The better to eat you with: Functional correlates of tooth structure in bats. Functional Ecology, 25: 839-847.

Davis J.L., Dumont E.R., Strait D.S. and Grosse I.R. 2011. An efficient method of modeling material properties using a thermal diffusion analogy: an example based on craniofacial bone. PLoSOne, 6(2): e1704.

Santana, S.E., E.R. Dumont. 2011. Do roost-excavating bats have stronger skulls? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 102:1-10.

Dumont, E.R., J.L. Davis, I.R. Grosse and A.M. Burrows. 2011. Finite element analyses of performance in the skulls of marmosets and tamarins. Journal of Anatomy, 218: 151-162.

Davis, J.L. Santana, S.E.• and E.R. Dumont. 2010. Predicting bite force in mammals: 2D vs. 3D lever models. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213: 1844-1851.

Santana, S.E., E.R. Dumont, and J.L. Davis. 2010. Mechanics of bite force production and its relationship to diet in bats. Functional Ecology, 24: 776–784.

Dumont, E.R. 2010. Bone density and the lightweight skeletons of birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 277: 2193-2198.

Davis, J.L. Santana, S.E. and E.R. Dumont. 2010. Predicting bite force in mammals: 2D vs. 3D lever models. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213: 1844-1851.

Santana, S.E., E.R. Dumont and J.L. Davis. 2010. Mechanics of bite force production and its relationship to diet in bats. Functional Ecology, 24: 776–784

Smith, T.D., A.M. Burrows and E.R. Dumont. 2010. Microanatomical assessment of nasomaxillary suture patency. Anatomical Record - Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology, 293: 651–657.

Dechmann, D.K.N., S. Santana and E.R. Dumont. 2009. Roost making in bats – adaptations for excavating active termite nests. Journal of Mammalogy, 90: 1461–1468.

Santana, S. E. and E.R. Dumont. 2009. Connecting behaviour and performance: The evolution of biting behaviour and bite performance in bats. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22: 2131-2145.

Dumont, E.R., A. Herrel, R.A. Medellín, J.A. Vargas-Contreras and S. E. Santana. 2009. Built to bite: Cranial design and function in the wrinkle-faced bat. Journal of Zoology, 279: 329-337.

Slater, G., E.R. Dumont and B. van Valkenburgh. 2009. Implications of predatory specialization for skull form and function in canids. Journal of Zoology, 278: 181-188.

Dumont, E.R., I.R. Grosse and G. Slater. 2009. Requirements for comparing the performance of finite element models of biological structures. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 256: 96–103.

Reinholt, L.E., A.M. Burrows, T.P. Eiting, E.R. Dumont and T.D. Smith. 2009. Brief Communication: Histology and micro CT as methods for assessment of facial suture patency. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 138: 499-506.

Tanner, J.B., E.R. Dumont, S.T. Sakai, B.L. Lundrigan, and K.E. Holekamp. 2008. Of arcs and vaults: The biomechanics of bone-cracking in spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 95: 246–255.

Carmody, K.L., M.P. Mooney, G.M. Cooper, C.J. Bonar, M.I. Siegel, E.R. Dumont, and T.D. Smith. 2008. Relationship of premaxillary bone and its sutures to deciduous dentition in non human primates. Cleft Palate Craniofacial Journal, 45(1): 93–100.

Dumont, E.R. 2007. Feeding mechanisms in bats: Variation within the constraints of flight. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 47: 137-146.

Werle, S.F., N.A. Johnson, E.R. Dumont and P. Parasiewicz. 2007. Ecological dissimilarity analysis: A simple method of demonstrating community-habitat correlations for frequency data. Northeastern Naturalist, 14(3): 439–446.

Grosse, I.R., E.R. Dumont, A. Tolleson and C.E. Coletta. 2007. Techniques for modeling muscle-induced forces in finite element models of skeletal structures. Anatomical Record - Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology, 290(9): 1069-1088.

Dumont, E.R. and C.W. Nicolay. 2006. Cross-sectional geometry of the dentary in plant-visiting bats. Zoology, 109: 66-74.

Dumont, E.R., J. Piccirillo, and I.R. Grosse. 2005. Finite element analysis of biting behavior and bone stress in the facial skeletons of bats. Anatomical Record - Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology, 293: 319-330.