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Thierra K. Nalley, PhD

Assistant Professor of Anatomy

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

E-Mail: tnalley@westernu.edu

Phone: 3516

Join year: 2016


Ph.D., School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Institute of Human Origins, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 2013

M.A., School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Institute of Human Origins, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 2008

B.A., Dept of Anthropoloy, University of Missouri-Columbia, MO, 2003

Education Experience

Research Fellow, Dept. of Vertebrate Zoology and Anthropology, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA 2015-2016

Hearst Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Vertebrate Zoology and Anthropology, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA, 2014-2015

Teaching Experience

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Medical Anatomical Sciences, COMP,Western University of Health Sciences, 2016-present

Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Il, 2015-2016

Graduate Student Lab Instructor/Teaching Assistant, University of Arizona Medical School, 2010-2011, 2008

Graduate Student Lab Instructor/Teaching Assistant, Arizona State University, 2005-2012


Medical Gross Anatomy Lecture and Lab

Research Interest

My principal research interests focus on the biomechanics of primate locomotion, specifically the relationships among the vertebral column, skull, and the pectoral girdle. Using comparative morphology and locomotor modeling, my research investigates the evolution of bipedality in the human lineage, as well as the historical patterns of positional behavior in living and fossil apes. Other research interests include examining musculoskeletal plasticity in the vertebral column and how behavior and ontogeny influence adult morphologies at both the microscopic and gross levels.

Research Grant

The Leakey Foundation General Grant ($17,475), 2015

SHESC Dissertation Completion Grant ($7000), 2013

ASU Graduate and Professional Student Association Research Grant ($972), 2012

Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Dissertation Fieldwork Grant ($18,030), 2011

SHESC Research and Development Committee Grant ($500), 2005


Recent Publications

Ward CV, Nalley TK, Spoor F, Tafforeau P, Alemseged Z. 2017. Thoracic Vertebral Count and Thoracolumbar Transition on Australopithecus afarensis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Jun 6;114(23):6000-6004. DOI: 10.10073/pnas.1702229114.

Nalley TK, Grinder-Potter N. 2017. Functional analyses of the promate upper cervical vertebral column. J Hum Evol. 2017. Jun:107:19-35. doi 10.1016/jhevol.2017.03.010.

Nalley TK, Grider-Potter N. 2015. Cervical vertebrae morphology and its relationships to head and neck posture in primates. Am J Phy Anthropol 156 (4), p 531-542.

Nalley TK, Lewton KL. 2015. From the Ground Up: Integrative Research in Primate Locomotion. Am J Phy Anthropol 156 (4), p 495-497.

Invited Talks

Nalley TK. 2018. "Sexual dimophism in the lower back of Australopithecus sebiba and Homo naledi". Paleoanthropology Society Annual Conference. Austin, TX.

Nalley TK. 2018. "The Spinal Frontier: Exploring the Evolution of the Human Vertebral Column". The Webb Schools, Claremont, CA.

Nalley TK. 2017. "Dino Bytes: Meeting Experts in Paleontology and Archeology". Arizona Museum of Natural History. Phoenix, AZ.

Nalley TK. 2015. "From the Ground Up: Integrative Research in Primate Locomotion". Anthropology Dept., School of World Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University.

Nalley TK. 2014. "The DIK 1-1 Vertebral Column and Thorax". Hearst Second Selam workshop: Investigating the paleobiology of the Australopithecus afarensis through the DIK-1-1 skeleton. California Academy of Sciences. San Francisco, CA.

Nalley TK. 2014. Dept. of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, Dinosaurs and Cavemen public event.

Nalley TK. 2005-2012. Institute of Human Origins public events, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University.

Nalley TK. 2004. "Six Million Years of Human Evolution". Department of Biological Sciences, Mesa Community College.

Recent Published Abstracts (*invited)

Nalley TK, Scott JE, Ward CV, Alemseged Z. 2018. Comparative Ontogeny of the Thorcolumbar Transition in Great Apes, Humans, and Fossil Hominins. AJPA. 165: 185-186.

Cho EO, Nalley TK, Middleton E, Ward C. 2017. Assessment of the Thorocolumbar Transition in Modern Humans. Am J Phys Anth. 162: 146-147.

Nalley TK.*Grider-Potter N. 2016. The evloutionary history of the hominin cervical vertebral column. Am J Phy Anthropol 56 (Suppl.).

Nalley TK. Grider-Potter N. Organ J. 2015. Tarsiers are real head turners: morphologies related to extreme axial rotation in the cervical vertebral column. Am J Phy Antrhopol 55 (Suppl.).

Grider-Potter N. Nalley TK. 2105. Ontogenetic morphology of the cervical vertebral column in Homo sapiens and Austrolopithecus afarensis. Am J Phy Anthropol 55 (Suppl.).

Nalley TK.* Grider-Potter N. 2014. Heavy is the crown: investigation form-function relationships among the head, neck, and posture during locomotion in primates. Am J Phys Anthropol. 54 (Suppl.).

Nalley TK. 2013. Suspensory behaviors and the neck: a comparative analysis.

Nalley TK. 2012.Grider-Potter N. Influences on occipital condyle position in athropoids. Am J Phy Anthropol 52 (Suppl.) 174.

Nalley TK. 2011. A finite element analysis of the catarrhine sixth cervical vertebra: a prelimiary investigation of stability hypotheses. Am J Phys Anthropol 51 (Suppl.), 158.