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Evolutionary development and functional morphology of the primate head

My research interests are focused on the growth and development of mammalian cranial anatomy. I use three-dimensional imaging and morphometric analyses to test hypotheses about the relationships between form and function in bone and soft tissues. Recently, I have been interested in how the primate cranial base varies with the auditory complex across taxa and growth.


  • Research Areas

    Auditory structure variation

    We aim to demonstrate the spatial and functional relationships between the hard and soft tissues of the external ear of primates and other mammals.

    We are investigating tympanic plate evolution among higher order primates. We’re documenting the growth of the bony external ear canal in primates and rabbits.

    Diffusible Iodine-Based Contrast Enhanced Computed Tomography

    We are using contrast enhanced microCT scans to build 3-dimensional models of the soft tissue of the face and ear among mammals.

    We’re developing new methods to visualize primate muscles of facial expression in situ. We are analyzing the auricular muscles’ fascicle orientation and relative volumes among primates and rabbits.

    Forensic anthropology

  • Publications

    Portrait of ELLEN FRICANO, PhD


    College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

    Assistant Professor of Anatomy

    (909) 469-5219