Cooke Lab

Siobhán Cooke, MPhil, PhD

Siobhán Cooke, MPhil, PhD

Associate Professor

E-mail: [email protected]


  • B.A.; Barnard College (New York) (2002)
  • M.Phil.; City University of New York (New York) (2007)
  • Ph.D.; City University of New York (New York) (2011)

Dr. Cooke’s laboratory- and field-based research program focuses on the evolution of mammals in the Neotropics with a specific focus on the platyrrhine primates. She is particularly interested in understanding how modern mammalian communities developed in the diverse environments of the new world from the Miocene to the present.

Due to the vagaries of the fossil record, teeth are often the only evidence of a mammalian species recovered in the field, but these fossils can provide a valuable window into the paleobiology and phylogenetic relationships of the extinct animal. To analyze how a dentition is uniquely adapted to an animal’s dietary profile, methodologically, Dr. Cooke uses three-dimensional geometric morphometric (3DGM) methods in combination with 2D and 3D measures of craniodental function. This approach allows her to analyze how teeth fit together to process food, to study how wear patterns differ across animals of different dietary guilds, and to explore the relationship between an animal’s phylogenetic history and functional morphology. As changes in diet and foraging behaviors often mark the evolution of new species and lineages, understanding dietary adaptation in the fossil record and today is essential for theorizing mechanisms of mammalian evolution broadly.

In addition to her lab-based work on craniodental function, she also has two on-going field-based research projects. Since 2009, Dr. Cooke has worked in the Caribbean on Hispaniola (in collaboration with the Museo del Hombre Dominicano and the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural) at several paleontologically rich cave sites. She examines patterns of mammalian faunal distribution and extinction in relation to human settlement patterns, the introduction of invasive species, and biogeographic barriers on Hispaniola. Second, she is a co-director of the La Venta Paleontological Project in Colombia. At this Miocene site, she and her colleagues study how mammalian niche partitioning and community composition have changed through time in response to environmental and geological change.

Research Projects

Image of a rodent skull from a superior view on a black background.

Caribbean extinction

The Cooke Lab currently has an NSF-funded collaborative project examining niche partitioning and patterns of extinction and resilience in Haitian endemic rodents.

Internship opportunities exist for undergraduate students!  


Paleontologists collecting fossils in the desert.


Dr. Cooke conducts fieldwork at the middle Miocene paleontological site, La Venta in Colombia (pictured).

She also works in the Dominican Republic in collaboration with the National Museum of Natural History in Santo Domingo.


Platyrrhine evolution

The Cooke Lab has a long standing interesting in platyrrhine evolution with a particular emphasis on dental adaptation. The extinct Hispaniolan platyrrhine Antillothrix bernensis is pictured above. 

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed


Urrea-Barreto, F.J., Link, A. Carrillo, J.D., Vanegas, A., Perdomo, C.A., Tallman, M., Cooke, S.B., Pérez, M.E. 2023. Systematic revision Neoreomys huilensis Fields (Rodentia, Hystricognathi) from the Middle Miocene of La Venta (Villavieja, Huila, Colombia). Geodiversitas 2023; 45(25): 721-737. 

Cooke, S.B., Klukkert, Z. Diet, dentition, and jaw shape in Aotus. In: Fernandez-Duque, E. (Ed.) 2023. Owl Monkeys: Evolution, Behavioral Ecology and Conservation. Springer, New York, pp. 173-201. Https:// 

Carrillo, J.D., Suarez, C., Benites, A., Vanegas, A., Link, A., Rincón, A.F., Luque, J., Cooke, S.B., Tallman, M., Billet, G. 2023. New remains of Neotropical bunodont litopterns and the systematics of Megadolodinae (Mammalia: Litopterna). Geodiversitas 45(15): 409-447.

Cooke, S.B., Crowley, B.E. 2022. New radiocarbon dates reveal pan-Holocene deposition of rodents at Trouing Jérémie #5, a sinkhole in the western Tiburon Peninsula, Haiti. The Holocene 39(9): 991-997.

Mohammad, R.S., Turner, G., Fowler, K., Petman, M., Nieves-Colón, M.A., Franovich, L., Cooke, S.B., Dávalos, L.M., Fitzpatrick, S.M., Giovas, C., Stokowski, Wrean, A.A., Kemp, M., LeFebvre, Mychajliw, A.M. 2022. Colonial legacies influence biodiversity lessons: how past trade routes and power dynamics shape present day scientific research and professional opportunities for Caribbean scientists. American Naturalist 200(1): 140-155.

Terhune, C.E., Mitchell, D.R., Cooke, S.B., Kirchhoff, C.A., Massey, J.S. 2022. Temporomandibular joint shape in anthropoid primates varies widely and is patterned by size and phylogeny. The Anatomical Record 2002:

McAfee, R.L., Beery*, S.M., Rímoli, R., Almonte, J., Lehman, P., Cooke, S.B. 2021. New species of the ground sloth Parocnus from the late Pleistocene-early Holocene of Hispaniola. Vertebrate Anatomy Morphology Palaeontology 9(1): 52-82.

Cooke, S.B., Crowley B.E. 2018. Deciphering the isotopic niches of now-extinct Hispaniolan rodents. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology: e1510414.

Cooke, S.B., Dávalos, L.M., Mychajliw, A.M., Turvey, S.T., Upham, N.S. 2017. Anthropogenic extinction dominates Holocene declines of West Indian Mammals. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 48: 301-327.

Cooke, S.B., Mychajliw, A., Southon, J., MacPhee, R.D.E. 2017. Jamaica’s Last Monkey: The Extinction of Xenothrix mcgregori. Journal of Mammalogy 98(4): 937-949.

Tallman, M., Cooke, S.B. New endemic platyrrhine humerus from Haiti and the evolution of the platyrrhine distal humerus. Journal of Human Evolution 91: 144-166.

Allen, K.L., Cooke, S.B., Gonzales, L.A., Kay, R.F. 2015. Dietary Inference from Upper and Lower Molar Morphology in Platyrrhine Primates. PLoS ONE 10 (3): e0118732.

Cooke, S.B., Tallman, M. 2012. New endemic platyrrhine femur from Haiti: description and locomotor analysis. Journal of Human Evolution 63(3): 560-567.

Cooke, S.B. 2011. Paleodiet of extinct platyrrhines with emphasis on the Caribbean forms: three-dimensional geometric morphometrics of mandibular second molars. The Anatomical Record 294: 2073-2091.

Cooke, S.B., Rosenberger, A.L., Turvey, S. 2011. An extinct monkey from Haiti and the origins of the Greater Antillean primates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108: 2699-2704.

Lab Members

Savannah Cobb

Savannah Cobb

PhD Graduate Student

[email protected]

  • Ecological and functional morphology
  • Paleogene tetrapods
  • Analyzing incomplete fossil remains
Stephanie Palmer

Stephanie Palmer

PhD Graduate Student

[email protected]

  • Mammalian Evolution
  • Masticatory Biomechanics
  • Craniomandibular Morphology
Mason Hintermeister

Mason Hintermeister

PhD Graduate Student

[email protected] 

  • Primate evolution
  • Dental morphometrics
  • Functional convergence
  • Phenotypic diversity

Courses Taught


Fundamentals of Human Anatomy

This summer course introduces students in the Nurse Anesthetist Doctor of Nursing Practice program to human anatomy using a regional approach. The course is broken into 3 parts – (1) thorax, abdomen, pelvis (2) limbs and back, and (3) head and neck. Within each part, information is presented on the relevant regional topics via: readings and lectures; student observation of prosections in lab; student collaboration to complete model- and computer-based activities.

ME: 130.600

Scientific Foundations of Medicine – Human Anatomy

This seven-week Human Anatomy course is taught to first year medical students in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Designed to provide a comprehensive regional approach to the human body, this course includes lecture, cadaver dissection with emphasis on the three-dimensional relationships of anatomic structures, clinical correlations, medical imaging sessions, and team-based learning small group activities.