Christine Elizabeth Wall

Christine Elizabeth Wall

Research Professor Emerita of Evolutionary Anthropology

External address: 
Room 206B Biological Sciences Building, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Duke Box 90383, Durham, NC 27708-0383
(919) 668-2543


The focus of my work is the functional and evolutionary anatomy of the head, with an emphasis on how the feeding apparatus works and how it influences and is influenced by other structures and functions. My research focuses primarily on the functional anatomy of extant and extinct primates, but I am also interested in other mammalian groups.

Current research projects include:

(1) a detailed study of the architecture, fiber types, and the recruitment patterns of the jaw adductor muscles of priamtes. The goals are to determine the nature of the general relationship between architecture (e.g., cross-sectional area) and fiber type for the jaw adductors, to find out whether the jaw adductors are sexually dimorphic in these anthropoid primates, to test for co-variation with dietary adaptation, and to develop biomechanical models to describe this relationship and relate it to size, function, and energetic requirements;

(2) investigations of the energetic costs of feeding behaviors in humans and nonhuman primates. The goal of this work is to better understand the relationship between the functional anatomy of the feeding apparatus and the metabolic costs that an animal incurs during feeding.

(3) development of a public database - the Feeding Experiments End-user Database (FEED, in collaboration with Dr. Rebecca German (Johns Hopkins), Dr. Susan Williams (Ohio Univ.), Dr. Chris Vinyard (NEOUCOM), and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center. This database includes physiological data from a large number of mammalian species collected by numerous researchers. Its design will allow synthetic and integrative analyses of the evolution of the oropharyngeal apparatus and feeding behaviors in mammals. The public instance of FEED is available at  We are also developing new analytical tools for inter-specific comparisons of raw electromyographic recordings that can be used to process data in FEED.

Degrees & Credentials

  • Ph.D., State University of New York at Stony Brook 1995

  • M.A., State University of New York at Stony Brook 1992

Hylander, WL, Wall, CE, Vinyard, CJ, Ross, C, Ravosa, MR, Williams, SH, and Johnson, KR. "Temporalis function in anthropoids and strepsirrhines: an EMG study." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 128.1 (September 2005): 35-56. Full Text

Vinyard, CJ, Williams, SH, Wall, CE, Johnson, KR, and Hylander, WL. "Jaw-muscle electromyography during chewing in Belanger's treeshrews (Tupaia belangeri)." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 127.1 (May 2005): 26-45. Full Text

Vinyard, CJ, Wall, CE, Williams, SH, and Hylander, WL. "Comparative functional analysis of skull morphology of tree-gouging primates." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 120.2 (February 2003): 153-170. Full Text

Williams, SH, Wall, CE, Vinyard, CJ, and Hylander, WL. "A biomechanical analysis of skull form in gum-harvesting galagids." Folia Primatologica; International Journal of Primatology 73.4 (July 2002): 197-209. Full Text

Hylander, WL, Ravosa, MJ, Ross, CF, Wall, CE, and Johnson, KR. "Symphyseal fusion and jaw-adductor muscle force: an EMG study." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 112.4 (August 2000): 469-492. (Review) Full Text

Ross, CF, and Wall, CE. "Biomechanics of mammalian feeding and primate evolution." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 112.4 (2000): 447-448. Full Text

Wall, CE. "The expanded mandibular condyle of the Megaladapidae." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 103.2 (June 1997): 263-276. Full Text