Nicole D. S. Grunstra

associate scientist

Sep 2019 – present Postdoctoral Fellow at the Konrad Lorenz Institute (KLI) for Evolution and Cognition Research in Klosterneuburg (AT).

Jan 2019 – present Affiliated scientist in the Mammal Collection at the Natural History Museum Vienna.

Feb 2018 – Aug 2019 Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Theoretical Biology at the University of Vienna (AT).

Feb 2018 Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Anthropology at the University of Cambridge (UK).

Jan 2016 – Feb 2018 Postgraduate researcher in the Department of Theoretical Biology at the University of Vienna (AT).

Aug – Dec 2012 Visiting Scholar in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley (USA).

Sep 2009 Master of Science in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxord (UK).

Jun 2008 Bachelor of Arts in Science & Social Science (interdepartmental major in anthropology, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and linguistics at University College Utrecht), University of Utrecht (NL).

Grunstra, N.D.S., Zachos, F.E., Herdina, A.N., Pavličev, M., Fischer, B., & Mitteroecker, P. (2019). Humans as inverted bats: A comparative approach to the obstetric conundrum. American Journal of Human Biology, 31(2), e23227. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23227

Grunstra, N.D.S., Mitteroecker, P., & Foley, R.A. (2018). A multivariate ecogeographic analysis of macaque craniodental variation. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 166(2), 386-400. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23439

Grunstra, N.D.S. (2018). What’s in a Tooth? Signals of Ecogeography and Phylogeny in the Dentition of Macaques (Cercopithecidae: Macaca). Doctoral dissertation, University of Cambridge, UK. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.18511

I am an evolutionary anthropologist and my area of expertise is comparative and evolutionary morphology of primates and other mammals and collection-based research. Presently, I conduct empirical and theoretical work on the mammalian pelvis in pursuit of understanding the evolution of the narrow pelvis and difficult childbirth in humans (the "obstetric conundrum").

Additional projects within this research framework include pelvic morphology in bats (Chiroptera), finite element analysis (FEA) of the pelvic floor, and a comparative study of mammalian pubic symphysis morphology.

During my earlier postdoctoral research (Dept. Theoretical Biology, University of Vienna), I used digital imaging techniques and 3D geometric morphometrics to investigate phylogenetic signal and ontogenetic patterns in primate cranial morphology by means of a novel decomposition of shape.

My PhD in biological anthropology (University of Cambridge, UK, under the supervision of Robert Foley) focused on the ecomorphology and variational constraints of the craniodental phenotype of macaques (Primates: Macaca), for which I used traditional morphometrics, multivariate statistics, and phylogenetic comparative methods.






Dept. Theoretical Biology, University of Vienna: Barbara Fischer, Philipp Mitteroecker, Mihaela Pavličev, Katya Stansfield, and Silvester Bartsch.

Mammal Collection, NHM Wien: Frank Zachos.

Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zürich: Martin Häusler and Nicole Webb.

Dept. Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin (USA): Krishna Kumar.


I have received 14 national and international grants, including a Wenner-Gren Post-PhD Research Grant ($18,805) in 2019 (US), the Ernst Mach grant (€8,460) for postgraduate research in Austria (OeAD, Austria) in 2015, and a study-abroad grant (€10,000) from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds for talented young researchers in 2010 (Netherlands).

Since 2019, I have been on the editorial board of the international journal Mammalian Biology as a Subject Editor.

1. zoology

Ahnelt Harald
associate scientist
Berg Hans-Martin
collection manager
Bibl Alexander
collection manager
Bogutskaya Nina
scientific assistant
Gassner Georg
collection manager
Grillitsch Heinz
associate scientist
Haring Melina
Hengl Marietta
project researcher
Herzig Barbara
associate scientist
Hofmann Gerhard
Illek Robert
head taxidermist
Kirchner Sandra
project researcher
Kothbauer Renate
scientific assistant
Lutz Daniela
contract worker (CMS, databases)
Mikschi Ernst
head of department
Palandačić Anja
collection manager
Pilat Melanie
scientific assistant
Reier Susanne
project researcher
Renner Swen
Curator, Senior Scientist
Riedel Bettina
Collection assistant, Scientific collaborator
Rubin Iris
model and dioramic maker
Saliari Konstantina
scientific employee and curator
Schiller Katharina
employee project digitization
Schweiger Silke
curator, staff scientist
Sontag Walter, A.
associate scientist
Stefke Katharina
Assistant to the head of the collection
Sumasgutner Petra
associate scientist
Taschler Nadine
taxidermy trainee
Wallner Nathalie
Weiß Veronika
taxidermy trainee
Wicke Johannes
Zachos Frank Emmanuel
Curator, staff scientist