Professor Emeritus AW "Fuzz" Crompton

Fuzz Crompton

As an Emeritus Professor, AW "Fuzz" Crompton has mentored a vast population of distinguished former post docs, graduate students and undergraduates.  He collaborates on current research with one-time OEB grad students turned professors, Tomasz Owerkowicz and Bhart-Anjan Bhullar.  Catherine Musinsky, his faculty assistant and research technician, performs ct-scans of extinct and extant mammals, xromm studies, 3D reconstructions and all his illustrations.  Drs. Rebecca German and Allan Thexton collaborated with Crompton on multiple functional studies of oral transport and muscle control in extant mammals.  The late Farish Jenkins, Agassiz Professor of Natural History at Harvard, came from Yale as Fuzz's graduate student and became one of the greatest (and most notorious) teachers and paleontologists of our time. Daniel Lieberman, "The Barefoot Professor" of Human Evolution at Harvard, and Professors Elizabeth Brainerd and Stephen Gatesy, co-inventors of XROMM, a method that enables accurate 3-dimensional tracking of skeletal movement in animals, all studied with Fuzz at Harvard and became influential scientists heading their own research labs.  On the Vertebrate Paleontology side, his mentor, the great Rex Parrington, influenced Crompton most directly during his studies Cambridge University between 1952-56. Professors or Professor Emeritus Bill HylanderKathleen SmithJames HopsonNeil ShubinJosé BonaparteKen Dial and Luo Zhexi are old friends and colleagues, as was the late and great Russ Baudinette of the University of Adelaide in Australia.  


See Crompton's Biographic sketch for more about Fuzz


AW Crompton's 60 years of research into the origins of mammals have focused on the evolution of the head.  He turned for many years to extant animals in order to understand the complex functions of chewing, swallowing, suckling and other aspects of oral transport.  More recently he has returned his focus to early mammalian evolution, as scanning and reconstruction technologies reveal more of the interior morphology of ancient, nascient mammals. His recent studies of the...

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Motor control of jaw movements in placental and marsupial grazers and browsers

Adapted from a presentation given in Greifswald, Germany in August, 2008 by AW Crompton.\

A ubiquitous feature of both placental and marsupial grazers and folivores, such as the goat and koala, is that during the power stroke of mastication the working side jaw is drawn transversely in a medial direction. The masticatory motor pattern or the firing pattern of adductor muscles responsible for this transverse movement in several placental herbivores is now relatively well-known. This is not the case for marsupials. The purpose of this project was to test whether the...

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Origin of the pterygoid bone and pharyngeal musculature in mammals

The following is adapted from a presentation given at the Berlin meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology in November 2014 by Dr. AW Crompton.  


Living reptiles lack pharyngeal muscles. This was probably also true for primitive synapsids, or "mammal-like reptiles". Mammals on the other hand possess a complex array of pharyngeal muscles that play an important role in feeding, suckling, and control of water and heat....

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