Dr. Arbor’s anthropological research explores the comparative anatomy, biological variation, and evolutionary history of human and non-human primates. She has been involved in international collaborative research and co-directed paleontological and paleoanthropological excavations in North America and Africa. Dr. Arbor is particularly interested in the functional and phylogenetic significance of craniodental morphological variation and evolution in human and non-human primates. Her monographic descriptions and morphological analyses of the Makapansgat australopithecine assemblage contribute to discussions of regional morphological variation in South African australopithecines and the taxonomic and phylogenetic status of Australopithecus africanus. Currently, Dr. Arbor studies small mammal fossils from northwestern Nebraska in order to address biogeographic issues (e.g. climate change, species competition, and species movements) relating to the extinction of North American primates during the Eocene-Oligocene transition. Dr. Arbor’s ongoing research involves paleoanthropological fieldwork and comparative studies and inform our understanding of human anatomy and evolution.
Dr. Arbor is actively engaged in advancing pre-clinical curricular design and anatomy program excellence. Her scholarship in this arena contributes to our understanding of how to improve our educational programs and curricular elements to enhance student performance.