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Elgart, Alison (PhD)

Chair/Associate Professor
College of Arts & Sciences
Office: MH 0157
Phone: 239-590-7562

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Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, 2000
M.S. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, 1996
B.A. Anthropology, University of Binghamton, NY, 1991


Human Evolution, Primatology, Bioarchaeology of Florida

Research and Teaching Interests

Research: Human Evolution, Primatology, Bioarchaeology of Florida
Teaching: Human Evolution, Primatology

Courses Offered

Human Evolution
Methods in Field Primatology
Senior Seminar in Anthropology
Medical Anthropology
Intro to Physical Anthropology


  • Elgart, Alison A. (2019). Biological Affinities of Middle Woodland Populations of Southern Florida as Assessed Through Dental Non-Metric Traits. The Florida Anthropologist 71:25-38.
  • Elgart, Alison A. (2016). Biological affinities of Manasota Period populations in Southwestern Florida as derived from dental nonmetric traits. American Journal of Physical Anthropology Supplement. 62:138.
  • Coiner-Collier, S., Scott, R.S., Chalk, J., Cheyne, S.M., Constantino, P., Dominy, N.J., Elgart, A.A., Glowacka, H., Loyola, L.C., Ossi-Lupo, K., Raguet-Schofield, M., Talebi, M.G., Sala, E.A., Sieradzy, P., Taylor, A.B., Vinyard, C.T., Wright, B.W., Yamashita, N., Lucas, P. W. and E.R. Vogel. (2016). Primate dietary ecology in the context of food mechanical properties. Journal of Human Evolution, 98:103-118.
  • Elgart, Alison A. and Stephanie Paule. (2013). Osteology of the Yellow Bluffs Mound (8SO4) Site, Sarasota, Florida. The Florida Anthropologist. 66:139-156.
  • Onoda, Y., M. Westoby, P.B. Adler, A.M.F. Choong, F.J. Clissold, J.H.C. Cornelissen, S. Díaz, N.J. Dominy, A. Elgart, L. Enrico, P.V.A. Fine, J.J. Howard, A. Jalili, K. Kitajima, H. Kurokawa, C. McArthur, P.W. Lucas, L. Markesteijn, N. Pérez-Harguindeguy, L. Poorter, L. Richards, L.S. Santiago, E.E. Sosinski Jr, S.A. Van Bael, D.I. Warton, I.J. Wright, S.J. Wright, N. Yamashita. (2011). Global patterns of leaf mechanical properties. Ecology Letters 14:301-312
  • Elgart, Alison A. (2010). Are the Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park "True" Mountain Gorillas? American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 141(4):561-570.
  • Elgart, Alison A. (2010). Dental Wear, Wear Rate and Dental Disease in the African Apes. American Journal of Primatology. 72:481-491.
  • Elgart, Alison A. (2010). Life and Death on the Pine Island Ridge During the Late Archaic. The Florida Anthropologist. 63:11-26.


Conference Presentations

  • 2018 Paper presented, "Biological Relationships among Populations in the Okeechobee, Manasota, and Calosahatchee Culture Areas during the Middle Woodland as Assessed through Teeth" at the 70th Annual Meeting of the Florida Anthropological Society.
  • 2016 Paper presented, "Determinates of primate success in Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Ghana" in a symposium, "Current Research on and Conservation of the African Monkeys" at the joint meeting of the International Primatological Society and the American Society of Primatologists.
  • 2016 Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists entitled, "Biological affinities of Manasota Period populations in Southwestern Florida as derived from dental nonmetric traits."
  • 2014 Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists entitled, "Fracture toughness and nutritional content as measures of food choice in ursine colobus (Colobus vellerosus) in Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary, Ghana."
  • 2013 Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists entitled, "An Osteological Analysis of the Manasota Period Yellow Bluffs Site (8SO4) from Sarasota, Florida."
  • 2012 Caries and periodontal disease in the African apes. Invited presenter at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NEScent) Conference on Evolutionary Dentistry

Grants & Awards

2019 Grant from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency- $125,000
2017 Professional Development grant, FGCU
2015 Professional Development grant, FGCU
2014 Professional Development grant, FGCU
2013 Professional Development grant, FGCU
2009 Internal Grant Award, ORSP, FGCU

My research interests lie in human and primate evolution and dietary adaptations, primate conservation, and human paleopathology.  Any evolutionary study must examine the fitness of individuals, which is inferred through mortality rates or reproductive success.  Some broad questions that I am trying to answer with my research on primates include: how many gorilla species are there? What foods define the ecological niches of primate species?  How can we help endangered primates?  In the field of paleopathology, I examine the health of prehistoric southern Florida Indians, exploring questions such as to what diseases and trauma were they prone?  Although these questions may seem very diverse, they all can originate from the examination of diet, and consequently, health.  A population in poor health has a high mortality rate and/or low reproductive rate, and thus, low fitness.

I have taken students to study monkeys in Ghana as part of a Study Abroad. I also regularly offer a primate field school at the Lemur Conservation Foundation in central Florida.

I have recently entered into a partnership with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and we form teams of students to help find missing U.S. servicemen from foreign wars. We spend about a month at a site to investigate historic crash sites or historic internments.