Daniel Oliver Schmitt

Daniel Oliver Schmitt

Professor in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology

External address: 
203 Biological Sciences Buildi, 130 Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Duke Box 90383, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 684-5664


My primary interest is in the evolution of primate locomotion. I am studying the mechanics of movement in primates and other vertebrates in the laboratory to understand the relationship between movement and postcranial morphology, and the unique nature of primates among mammals. Current projects include the origins of primate locomotion and the evolution of vertebrate bipedalism.

Degrees & Credentials

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

Selected Grants

Collaborative Research: Biomechanical Significance of Bone Material Variation in the Primate Locomotor Skeleton awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2020

Ontogeny of Heel-strike in African Apes awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2020

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Descent Locomotion Behavior in Primates awarded by National Science Foundation (Collaborator). 2018 to 2020

Effects of Aging and Nutrition on Gait Mechanics: Interpretations of Skeletal and Muscular Material awarded by Wenner Gren Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

The Effects of Vibration on Mouse Behavior awarded by American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine (Investigator). 2015 to 2016

Gait Mechanics of Inverted Walking: Implications for the Evolution of Suspensory Locomotion awarded by L.S.B. Leakey Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015

Doctoral Dissertation Improvement: The Biomechanics of Vertical Clinging and Grasping in Primates awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2014

Gait Mechanics in Primate and Nonprimate Quadrupeds awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2005 to 2010

Biomechanics and Inflammation in Osteoarthritis awarded by National Institutes of Health (Consultant). 2003 to 2008

Doctoral Dissertation Improvement: Vertical Climbing Efficiency in Primates awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2005 to 2006


Schmitt, D., et al. “Patterns, variability, and flexibility of hand posture during locomotion in primates.The Evolution of the Primate Hand Anatomical, Developmental, Functional, and Paleontological Evidence, edited by T. Kivell et al., Springer, 2016, pp. 345–69.

Zeininger, Angel, et al. “Mechanics of heel-strike plantigrady in African apes.Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 145, Aug. 2020, p. 102840. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2020.102840. Full Text

Queen, Robin, et al. “A novel method for measuring asymmetry in kinematic and kinetic variables: The normalized symmetry index.Journal of Biomechanics, vol. 99, Jan. 2020, p. 109531. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jbiomech.2019.109531. Full Text

Cullen, Mark M., et al. “Gaze-behaviors of runners in a natural, urban running environment.Plos One, vol. 15, no. 5, Jan. 2020, p. e0233158. Epmc, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0233158. Full Text

Abbott, Emily M., et al. “Hurry Up and Get Out of the Way! Exploring the Limits of Muscle-Based Latch Systems for Power Amplification.Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol. 59, no. 6, Dec. 2019, pp. 1546–58. Epmc, doi:10.1093/icb/icz141. Full Text

Queen, Robin M., et al. “Gait Analysis Reveals that Total Hip Arthroplasty Increases Power Production in the Hip During Level Walking and Stair Climbing.Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research, vol. 477, no. 8, Aug. 2019, pp. 1839–47. Epmc, doi:10.1097/corr.0000000000000809. Full Text

Granatosky, Michael C., and Daniel Schmitt. “The mechanical origins of arm-swinging.Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 130, May 2019, pp. 61–71. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.jhevol.2019.02.001. Full Text

Miller, C. E., et al. “Limb phase flexibility in walking: A test case in the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus).” Frontiers in Zoology, vol. 16, no. 1, Feb. 2019. Scopus, doi:10.1186/s12983-019-0299-8. Full Text

Miller, Charlotte E., et al. “Pitch control and speed limitation during overground deceleration in lemurid primates.Journal of Morphology, vol. 280, no. 2, Feb. 2019, pp. 300–06. Epmc, doi:10.1002/jmor.20944. Full Text

Granatosky, Michael C., et al. “Comparison of spatiotemporal gait characteristics between vertical climbing and horizontal walking in primates.The Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 222, no. Pt 2, Jan. 2019. Epmc, doi:10.1242/jeb.185702. Full Text

Fabre, Anne-Claire, et al. “Do forelimb shape and peak forces co-vary in strepsirrhines?American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 167, no. 3, Nov. 2018, pp. 602–14. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajpa.23688. Full Text


Wiktorowicz-Conroy, A. M., et al. “The Scaling of Postural Mechanics in Felidae and Artiodactyla.” Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol. 51, OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2011, pp. E150–E150.