Frank J. Varriale
Associate Professor of Biology
Office: Mulligan 310
Phone: 705.208.5900 Ex. 5768
Ph.D., Functional Anatomy and Evolution, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 2011
M.S., Paleontology, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, 2003
B.S., Zoology, State University of New York at Oswego, 1997
BIOL 113; Evolution and Diversity
BIOL 210; Organisms and Their Ecosystems
BIOL 219/221; Anatomy and Physiology I
BIOL 220/222; Anatomy and Physiology II
BIOL 229; Paleontological Techniques
BIOL 270; Sophomore Seminar
BIOL 355; Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
CORE 279; The Science of Dinosaurs
ENST/GEOG 200; Earth Science
My research centers on the biomechanics and paleoecology of herbivorous dinosaurs as well as evolutionary innovations in the craniodental anatomy of this group. Currently, the functional morphology of the masticatory (chewing) apparatus and the evolution of this system in ceratopsian (horned) dinosaurs is the bulk my work. I employ dental microwear analysis, the examination of microscopic pits and scratches on teeth to infer jaw action, chewing behavior, diet, and ecology of these dinosaurs. Students in my lab have examined dental microwear of various plant-eating dinosaurs and current students are examining dental microwear in an extinct group of carnivorous mammals called creodonts. Additional student projects have examined changes in the developmental timing of body structures (heterochrony) in salamanders. Broadly my research interests include the form, function, and evolution of vertebrate anatomy, and students are welcome to pursue research topics of their own design that incorporate my areas of interest.
Recent Conference Presentations (* signifies student coauthor)
Gartley, S.* and Varriale, F., 2017. Testing the effect of dentine hardness on microwear in the saurolophine hadrosaur Kritosaurus navajovius (Dinosauria, Ornithischia). 93rd Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science. Program and Abstracts, p22-23. March 31st -April 2nd King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA
Morschhauser, E. M. and Varriale, F. J. 2017. The labial (horizontal) shelf is a synapomorphy of Neoceratopsia (Dinosauria: Ornithischia). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Program and Abstracts, 166-167.
Varriale, F. J. 2016. Quantitative dental microwear supports clinolineal mastication in Psittacosaurus (Dinosauria: Ornithischia). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Program and Abstracts, 242-243.
Varriale, F. J. and Morschhauser, E. M. 2016. The mechanical origin and morphology of the labial (horizontal) shelf in Leptoceratopsia demonstrates it is now a synapomorphy of Neoceratopsia (Dinosauria: Ornithischia). 11th International Congress of Vertebrate Morphology, June 29th - July 3rd, 2016. Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, Bethesda, Maryland. Paper #POS1-61.
Varriale, F. J. 2016. Dental microwear reveals mammal-like chewing in the neoceratopsian dinosaur Leptoceratops gracilis. PeerJ 4:e2132.