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Monkey Mystery: How Comparative Anatomy Can Bring Fossil Primates to Life

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 @ 6:30 PM-8:30 PM


St. Charles City-County Library—Spencer Road Branch
427 Spencer Road, St. Peters, MO 63376 United States + Google Map
Important information on parking and exact cafe location sent with registration confirmation.

REGISTRATION REQUIRED. FREE and OPEN to Junior Academy of Science members and all middle and high school students in grades 6-12 from throughout the region. PRE-REGISTRATION for Junior Academy members ONLY thru Friday, October 18. General registration opens Saturday, October 19. Register below!

To join the Junior Academy of Science, or to find out more about the benefits of membership in the Junior Academy, click here.

6:30 pm – 7:00 pm: Dinner and Icebreaker
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm: Presentation & Activities

Featured Cafe Presenter: Kari Allen, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology & Neuroscience, Co-Director of Anatomy, Department of Neuroscience, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine

Humans belong to the Order Primates, a group of animals who have incredibly diverse adaptations for survival. Understanding how the anatomy of primates correlates with the behavior of these animals allows scientists to reconstruct the lives of fossil species: What did the first primates eat? How big were they? Did they live in the trees or on the ground? In this interactive teen cafe on comparative anatomy, you’ll work in teams to explore the anatomy of your team’s mystery monkey and predict the answers to these questions. And you can put your artistic skills to work—each team will draw their monkey and choose a name for their newly discovered species of primate.


Kari Allen

My name is Kari Allen, and I am a biological anthropologist and anatomist in the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University School of Medicine. My research focuses on the comparative anatomy and morphology—the study of shape—of the skull in modern humans and primates. I use this information to reconstruct the lifestyles of our fossil relatives, and to trace changes in behavior and anatomy throughout primate history. When I’m not researching fossil primates, I have the pleasure of teaching human anatomy and human development (embryology) to our talented medical students at Washington University.

I grew up in a small city in upstate New York and was lucky to have both a public school system and a family who were extremely supportive of academics and the arts. My mom was studying to become a math and science teacher, so we used to try out her laboratory assignments at home to help her practice. Although I enjoyed science, music and art were my passion. When I first entered college, I had plans to study the social and cultural impacts of music around the world. Then I happened upon a class called “Human Origins,” and I fell back in love with science. I became deeply interested in comparative anatomy and what that can tell us about the lives of extinct primates. The professor of that course became my first academic mentor, and she helped me find the steps I needed to take to pursue this field as a career. After earning my Master’s degree in Anthropology, I went on to study Biological Anthropology & Anatomy at Duke University. Art and music continue to be a favorite hobby of mine. My work on comparative anatomy of the primate skull and brain allows me to combine my love of anatomy with paleontological field work and visual arts through three-dimensional imaging and geometric analysis of fossil primates.

Teen Science Cafe an Academy of Science – St. Louis STEM Teens Experience.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019
6:30 PM-8:30 PM
Event Category:


St. Charles County Library – Spencer Road Branch
427 Spencer Road
St. Peters, MO 63376 United States
+ Google Map