Faculty

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A Winkler

Alisa J. Winkler

Adjunct Faculty
Research Assistant Professor
Paleontology

Ph.D., Southern Methodist University
214-648-3671

  • Mammalian Paleontology
  • Human Anatomy
  • Functional Anatomy of Small Mammals

Research Statement

Alisa Winkler's research interests focus on the systematics, paleobiogeography, and paleoecology of fossil mammals, in particular rodents and rabbits. Study is concentrated on the Neogene (especially the Early Miocene-Early Pliocene) of East Africa and southeast Asia, as well as the Pleistocene of Texas.

Research in East Africa is primarily in conjunction with multidisciplinary teams studying major faunal accumulations, with an emphasis on recovering hominoid fossils and deciphering the ecological context in which hominoids lived and evolved. Study of the small mammals from these sites adds information on the associated faunal community. Paleoecological inferences from the small mammals aid in the reconstruction of Neogene climates, and the role climate change played in the evolution of hominids and other taxa. Comparisons of East African small mammals with taxa from other parts of Africa and Eurasia support conclusions drawn from the large mammal fauna that intra- and intercontinental dispersal was a major factor affecting community change during the Neogene.

Alisa's current projects include the study of rodents from Kanapoi, northern Kenya (4 Ma; with Fredrick Manthi, National Museums of Kenya), Drotsky’s Cave, Botswana (Pleistocene; with Larry Robbins; Michigan State University), early Miocene sites in Uganda and Kenya (with S. Cote, University of Calgary and Laura MacLatchy, University of Michigan), and Tugen Hills sites in central Kenya (15-4 Ma). Work also continues on the exceptional collection of the hare, Serengetilagus, from Laetoli, Tanzania (4-3 Ma; with Yukimitsu Tomida).

Alisa is also active in studies of Pleistocene mammals (large and small) from Texas, including continued systematic work on the Fyllan Cave local fauna (Austin), and description of a large muskox from northern Texas.

Alisa continues to teach Human Anatomy to Medical and Health Professions Students as an Associate Professor with the Department of Cell Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Selected Publications

Cote, S., J. Kingston, A. Deino, A. Winkler, R. Kityo, and L. MacLatchy. (in preparation). Evidence of rapid faunal change in the early Miocene of Africa from Bukwa, Uganda. For Journal of Human Evolution.

Manthi, F., and A. Winkler (in revision) Rodents and other terrestrial small mammals from Kanapoi, northern Kenya. Invited paper for Journal of Human Evolution, Special Issue on Kanapoi, Kenya. 

Winkler, A., D. Winkler, and T. Harrison. 2016. Forelimb anatomy of the leporid Serengetilagus from Laetoli, Tanzania: functional and taxonomic implications. Historical Biology 28(1-2):252-263.

Gunnell, G., A. Winkler, E. Miller, J. Head, A. El-Barkooky, M. Gawad, W. Sanders, and P. Gingerich. 2016. Small vertebrates from Khasm El-Raqaba, late Miocene, Eastern Desert, Egypt. Historical Biology 28(1-2):159-171.

Denys, C., and A. Winkler. 2015. Cpt. 7. Advances in integrative taxonomy and evolution of African murid rodents: how morphological trees hide the molecular forest. Pp. 186-220, in (P. Cox and L. Hautier, eds.). Evolution of the Rodents: Advances in Phylogeny, Functional Morphology, and Development. Cambridge Studies in Morphology and Molecules: New Paradigms in Evolutionary Biology, Cambridge University Press.

Flynn, L. J., A. J. Winkler, M. Erbaeva, N. Alexeeva, U. Anders, C. Angelone, S. Cermak, F. A. Fladerer, B. Kraatz, L. Ruedas, I. Ruf, Y. Tomida, K. Veitschegger, Z. Zhang. 2013. The leporid datum: a late Miocene biotic marker. Mammal Review DOI: 10.1111/mam.12016:1-13. 

Winkler, A. J., L. J. Flynn, and Y. Tomida. (2011) Fossil lagomorphs from the Potwar Plateau, Pakistan. Palaeontologia Electronica Vol. 14, Issue 3;38A:1-16.

Winkler, A. J. and Y. Tomida. (2011) Chapter 3. The lower third premolar of Serengetilagus praecapensis (Mammalia: Lagomorpha: Leporidae) from Laetoli, Tanzania. In (T. Harrison, ed.). Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli, Tanzania: Human Evolution in Context. Volume 2: Fossil Hominins and the Associated Fauna. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series, Springer Press.

Winkler, A. J. (2011) Chapter 4. Macroscelidea. In (T. Harrison, ed.). Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli, Tanzania: Human Evolution in Context. Volume 2: Fossil Hominins and the Associated Fauna. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series, Springer Press.

Winkler, A. J. and D. M. Avery. 2010. Chapter 18: Lagomorpha. Pp. 305-317, in (L. Werdelin and W. J. Sanders, eds.), Cenozoic Mammals of Africa. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Winkler, A. J., C. Denys, and D. M. Avery. 2010. Chapter 17: Rodentia. Pp. 263-305, in (L. Werdelin and W. J. Sanders, eds.), Cenozoic Mammals of Africa. University of California Press, Berkeley.